Yesterday was a perfect example of why we moved to Mexico and San Miguel de Allende!!
In November we gave a brunch for some friends at our house in Colonia San Antonio and had our extraordinary housekeeper/manager, who is an amazing cook, make chilaquiles with salsa verde for us. Of course we plied her with mimosas, which she had never had before and loved at first sip, while she cooked and corrected our Spanish. It was a lovely, jolly time. The consensus was in that she made the best salsa verde we had ever had and a decision was made to have her do a cooking “class” one day before we leave this house for the Yucatan.
That day was yesterday. Unfortunately, Maida and Ralph, who were at the brunch and wanted to attend were caught up in the USA so they couldn’t make it. But Phyllis, Kim and Nini along with the 2 of us and of course Josefina, made for a nice group of 6 which was actually a perfect manageable number.
Fridays are Josefina’s full days so they work out great for anything related to entertaining in the morning/afternoon.
Phyllis and Kim are attending the Warren Hardy School for their “power verbs” class and got out at noon so a 1pm start time was best for all of us. Glenn had gone earlier with Josefina to our local tienda to gather up everything that was necessary except the chicken which we had purchased at the butcher on the corner of Mesones behind the church. This is the best butcher we have found and everything we buy there, especially boneless chicken breast, is very good and reasonable. Our tienda, that we hit up just about everyday, is great for veggies and Mexican cheese, etc. They also stopped at the tortilla shop just a few doors down from the house to get a massive amount of fresh maiz tortillas for the enchiladas Josefina was making to put the salsa verde on.
Once everyone had arrived at the house the “class”/party started!!! Of course Margaritas were the first thing in order. We wanted to be sharp and focused.
Josefina was an exemplary maestra, speaking clear and slow so we could all grasp her Spanish instructions.
She was multi-tasking by having a big pot boiling with the chicken, cilantro and onion and then separately steaming a vast amount of tomatillos and jalapeños for 15 minutes till soft. Once the chicken was finish she shredded it to nice size bits. And for the salsa verde put the tomatillos, jalapeños, chicken bouillon, and some stock from the boiled chicken into a blender. She did this twice to accommodate the amount we had. The first go was with the full jalapeños and the second was with the seeds out to work with our tastebuds that are still working on getting used to more heat/spice. After having a taste test the result was perfect!!! To finish the salsa verde off she put it back in the big skillet and added crema. Delicioso!! Once again, the best we have ever had!! Because we started at 1pm we didn’t have time to do the side of beans from scratch so Josefina did her magic by adding tomato, garlic, onion and a bit of jalapeño and chicken stock to a good canned option.
Assemblage of the chicken enchiladas were done after toasting the tortillas in a small skillet with olive oil to make them pliable and then stuffing them. A good portion of Manchego cheese and salsa verde topped them off. Phyllis had to leave at 3:30 for an appointment so for time sake Josefina zapped the enchiladas in the microwave which actually worked out great. Nice and gooey cheese!!
Of course we had Josefina join us for our lunch and we made a pact to try to only speak Spanish. Kim and I are more beginners so we tried to keep up with the conversation and had to throw English in there once in awhile. But I am surprised at how much I can understand. It is just the matter of actually forming the sentences and remembering the verbs/words that I have trouble with. Recognition when listening is easier. We have found that the Spanish speakers in San Miguel de Allende are very helpful and forgiving with our Spanish attempts. They are patient and a lot of them will correct us in a nice way when we are wrong. And being able to speak Spanish with Josefina 4 times a week has been fabulous!!!
To end the afternoon fiesta we had yummy ice cream cones with some great ice cream from Thrifty that Nini brought. It brought back memories of when I used to walk up to the corner Thrifty in our neighborhood growing up and get a cone for 5 cents a scoop.
The afternoon worked out to be a wonderful, lively and educational event and all we could hope for. We have plans to host a few more “classes” with Josefina when we return to this house in September for 3 months. Josefina is an amazing treasure!!! We absolutely love her and enjoy her strong character and great sense of humor. We have had a wonderful time getting to know her and will miss her when we are gone from this house. But we look forward to returning and hopefully impressing her with our progress in Spanish. One day when her kids are out of University she hopes to open up her own restaurant specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine. We will be first in line!!!