classes in english

CLASSES 

Classes are in English or Spanish

(or bilingual!)

see calendar page for scheduling

Individual & group classes available

COOKING GRASS FED MEAT

Grass fed beef is increasingly in demand as a general population is coming to the understanding that factory-raised meat is not only inhumane, but harmful to our health.  For those who would like to eat less meat, but quality meat this class offers a tasting in various cuts of meat raised completely pastured on over 800 acres of Rancho Canada de la Virgen, San Miguel de Allende and now available in Mexico City.  With a few tips and tricks, pastured meat offers the best option for healthy, nutritious meat at home.


COOKING FOR LIFE, a few ‘hacks’ to eating more vegetables at home.

There is absolutely no alternative to homemade food.  There’s no substitute for being able to give yourself the best that you can feed yourself.  The rise of organic farmer’s market, pastured raised meats and healthy dairy, pesticide-free real food, eating well at home is an option and easier with the ideas I offer in this class.  This class shows you how eating at home with a little dedication is easy, delicious and less hassle.  If you love shopping for fresh food this is the class to show you how to take advantage of the bounty and not let it die out in the crisper.

 

GOURMET HOUSEMADE SALADS   I & II

Miso cabbage with roasted almonds, kale ‘ceviche, Sicilian panzanella or bread salad, true Greek salad, creamy yogurt dressings, simple Asian-inspired, beans cured citrus cilantro, shredded beets in balsamic… Pura Vida Kitchen has an endless list of salad recipes that can add to your go-to recipes and get you to use more and different types of vegetables and dressing flavors.


FERMENTING VEGETABLES

The rising popularity of probiotic foods is actually a return to a old, solid kitchen nutritional wisdom.   Human bodies are home to millions of bacteria which we depend on for a incalculable number of basic bodily functions.  Science is still catching on while tradition still offers us the wisdom and knowledge of incorporating rich and diverse foods into our diets.  Sauerkraut from Europe, Kim Chee from Korea and homemade yogurt are simple , nourishing ways to have rich probiotic foods at home.


HEALTHY CONDIMENTS

What could be better than homemade ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.  It’s a dream come true.  As best as we can control for healthy ingredients, packaged condiments can sneak into our kitchens bulking up calories and sugar intake in a seemingly harmless way.  In this class we will make a classic ketchup, explore alternative flavoring, deconstruct the fiery elements of yellow and black mustard seeds and whip up a smooth mayonnaise with the healthiest of fats.  


HEALTHY DESSERTS

Sweet is one of the pleasures of life and it comes from many sources.   When combined with refined forms of foods, sweet treats can cause havoc on the body chemistry and affect the hormones with fast sugar spikes.  Good news is there are great recipes for sweet-tooths which rely on whole foods, healthy fats and minimal carbs.  In this class we will create pies and tarts with nut crusts, smooth chocolate mousse without dairy, fresh berry compotes and a lemon cheesecake with no cheese!

MIDDLE EASTERN TASTES

Traditional foods are largely based in plant-based foods and the middle east is a large treasure trove of great recipes using sprouted beans, vegetables and a myriad of spices and herbs.  A batch falafel can be on hand as a veggie  burgers or salad topping along with the best(!) hummus recipe and working with mint, cumin, lime and other great spices of the Arab world.  


REAL FOOD VEGGIE BURGERS

If you can say to yourself that you can honestly find the two hour space it takes to make a batch of veggie burgers, then in the class you can learn 3 great and different recipes for fixing yourself and your family nutritious plant-based burgers to have on hand all month when you don’t have time from much food preparation.  I’ve come up with a great black bean burger, a quinoa burger and a popular lentil and oatmeal based one.  This is a tasty class complete with all the fixings.


BOTANAS A LA MEXICANA

Mexico offers one of the widest and deepest of food traditions and there is so much to learn about chiles, cheeses, spices and food combining from across the entire country.  This class offers a great ‘beginner’s guide’ with a local cheese tasting, a review of fresh and dried chiles and learning how to make fresh boiled and roasted red and green salsas.  I’ll also introduce clever ways to make beans, work with fresh masa and work with one of Mexico’s best delicacies - huitlacoche (a corn treat).  You will walk away with some fundamental recipes and the ability to reproduce them at home, easily.


HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING

HIgh altitude baking is neither hard to do nor hard to understand.  It’s takes a little practice and consideration to what ‘less’ pressure’ means for rising times and moisture.   In the class, we make carrot cake, dinner rolls and, perhaps, a recipe you are trying to correct for altitude.  With just a few common sense adjustments, baking at high altitude can be no problem at all.

THE INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG

The incredible, edible egg!  How to shop for fresh, healthy eggs.  Storing and using eggs.  Many people think eggs should be cook low and slow,  however, this is not the case!  Eggs are an incredibly versatile food - they can be sweet, salty, liquid or solid, prepared alone or a hidden, but integral part of so many recipes as a main ingredient or subtle support.   We whip up a few dishes with eggs that'll get you making a scramble without a stiff film at the bottom of the pan, a full proof, easy hollandaise from homemade Benedicts & we coddle a Spanish tortilla which can feed you throughout the week.


INDIAN VEGETARIAN BASICS

Garam Masala, methi, amchur, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and ginger are among the many great flavorings and secrets to great Indian Cuisine.  India, too, holds a long tradition of plant-based eating which can be combined with some animal protein for a balanced meal.  Many of the spices are familiar, but the methods for toasting and combining them are distinctive.  In this class, we make a homemade yogurt cheese (paneer) with a silky spinach stew (saag), a great basic lentil soup (dahl) and sauces, basmati rice and veggie fritters (pakoras) to round out the meal.


A HEALTHIER SMOOTHIE

A daily smoothie can be an energy bomb or an energy equalizer.  It can be overloaded with fast calories or, if mixed with the right set of ingredients, it can be an optimal meal that gives steady energy packed with cell supportive nutrition.  In this class, we start with a tasting of 5 alternative ‘milks’ and explore our way thru the range of power foods helping you to design the right daily smoothie for you.


TRADITIONAL GREEK DISHES

I spent a month in the island Crete and traveling Greece and learned one of the best lessons about traditional foods and that is that everyone has their own version!   Along the way I was able to pick up a few tips and recipes and I especially enjoy revisiting them in this class while making an Avgolemeno Soup (Chicken Lemon and Rice Soup), a classic greek salad and working with phyllo dough to make an assortment of savory and sweet treats.


GLUTEN-FREE BAKING

Garbanzo beans, amaranth, coconuts, rice and oatmeal make great alternatives to wheat flour and in various combinations can be used to make savory as well as sweet treats.  In this class we make crackers, sweet breads and other treats that match what you want.  Let me know which kind of foods you want to replace with GF flours and we’ll make them.


CLASSES FOR COCINERAS

(hired cooks, all classes in Spanish)

see calendar for class schedules and prices

 

BASIC NUTRITION CLASSES FOR HOME COOKS

BASIC NUTRITION I:  WE ARE WHAT WE EAT: PROTEINS, CARBS & FATS – in this class I offer an overview of the our major nutrients, their functions in our bodies & how to source the best forms of them.  This information is vital knowledge for anyone who cooks for a others.  Balancing macro-nutrients and not going carbohydrate-heavy will be emphasized.   Lots of visual tools are used to help cooks learn to identify different major nutrients.

    MENU:   Pan-seared Organic Chicken Thighs, Roasted Veggies, Quinoa, & Basic Vinaigrette

BASIC NUTRITION II:  FOOD IS ENERGY: KNOWING CALORIES OF BASIC PANTRY& DETERMINING PORTION SIZES FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE - this class offers an overview with lots of visual guides, a scale and measuring tools of how to know and use a basic understanding of calories and portions of proteins, carbs and fats. 

    MENU:  Sautéed Veggies, Parmesan Rice, Chicken Cutlet & Mixed Herb Pesto

BASIC NUTRITION III:  PRACTICUM- MEAL PLANNING & SKILL BUILDING: cocineras can ‘practice’ what they know building meals with visual guides and tools to deepen their understanding of planning balanced meals for a week’s time.  A Weekly Planning Sheet will be introduced to help with planning meals, shopping lists and securing for balanced nutrients.

TECHNICAL & WORK SKILLS

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT: using mixers, blenders, food processors, pots & pans, slicing on a mandolin, shredding and knife skills

    MENU: Caramelized Onions, Mixed Herb Pesto, Almond Butter, Toasted Nuts & Seeds, Whipped       Cream, Homemade Aioli

FOOD SHOPPING IN SAN MIGUEL:  Heading into new markets can be overwhelming and sometimes prove ‘fruitless’ when working with new ingredients.  In this class, I take home cooks on a tour of Natura, natural food store with a good sources of grains, meats and legumes, Mercado SANO, to show where all the different recommended products are in the variety of stores there and to Luna de Queso to review the spice, Asian, alternative grains and bulk sections.   GOOD TO SEND YOUR COOK WITH SOME CASH TO BUY SOME OF THE RECOMMENDED BASIC PANTRY ITEMS.

PRINT-OUT OF SHOPPING GUIDE TO SMA IN SPANISH & ENGLISH PROVIDED

 

COOKING MEAT PROTEINS

FISH ISHOPPING GUIDE, BASIC PREPARATIONS & STORING – we will review different types of fish with a visual guide, pan-sear a fish filet to show how not to overcook fish and review essential to buying and keeping fish. (CLASS HAS $100p EXRA COST DUE TO HIGH FISH PRICES)

    MENU: Pan-Seared Fish Filet, Easy Fish Cakes with Dill Sauce, Cooking Shrimp in garlic & parsley

FISH II: SOUPS, STUFFED BAKED FISH& FISH STICKS – (CLASS HAS $100p EXTRA COST DUE TO HIGH FISH PRICES)

    MENU: Fish Soup with Veggies, Stuffed Fish Filet in herb, olives & potatoes, Fish Sticks with dairy-    free lemon dipping sauce

FISH III: SEAFOOD!   Preparing shrimp, clams and calamari- when available

    MENU: Coconut-crusted Shrimp with condiment, Clams “Vongole” with rice or pasta and fresh          herbs,  Calamari with garlic and chiles and Stuffed with seafood

COOKING MEAT CORRECTLY I: BEEF, PORK & LAMB – review of basic cuts with visual guides, sourcing best quality, storing and freezing principals

    MENU:  perfect hamburger, pork cutlets & easy lamb stew

COOKING MEAT CORRECTLY II: CHICKEN & TURKEY & EGGS – review of basic parts with visual guides, using the whole bird, sourcing best quality, storing and freezing principals.  We will review egg

    MENU:  Roasted Whole Chicken, Gingered Turkey Meatballs and Tortilla Española (egg & potato       dish)-  with basic scrambled egg recipe.

MEAT MAIN DISHES: (added cost)

    MENU I:  Shepherd’s Pie with ground lamb or beef, Almond Crusted Fish Filet, Stuffed Chicken           Breast

    MENU II: African Chicken Peanut Stew, Asian Salmon Steamed with Cabbage, Smokey Garlic             Shrimp

    MENU III: Moroccan Chicken & Olives, Stuffed Fish Filets, Fava Bean, Pancetta & Artichoke Stew

EGGS I:  Buying, storing, identifying healthy vs. non-healthy and cooking eggs properly

    MENU: Hard-boiled eggs, Egg Salad, Tortilla Española with Greens, Omelets and Baked Eggs

 

VEGETABLE DISHES

VEGETBALES I:  OVERVIEW OF ALL VEGETABLES -familiarize variety of available vegetables with visual guides, storing, freezing and lifespan of fresh vegetables and basic cooking techniques- steaming, roasting, sautéing

    MENU:  Roasted Root Vegetables with Herb Vinaigrette, Pan-seared Zucchini Fritters with Yogurt       Sauce, Steamed Broccoli with Tahini Sauce

VEGETABLES II:   VEGGIE BURGERS, VEGGIE MAIN DISHES

    MENU: Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers, Tuscan Vegetables Stew, Stuffed Peppers with Curried             Veggies and rice (or quinoa) with Red Pepper Romesco Sauce (tomatoes, nuts, garlic and red             peppers)

VEGETBALES III:  INDIAN-INSPIRED

MENU: Punjabi Cabbage, Gingered Carrots, Indian Summer Stew & Indian Spinach Stew (Palek Paneer), Raita Yogurt Sauce

VEGETABLES IV:  ASIAN-INSPIRED

     MENU:  Fresh Veggie Springrolls, with Seasoned Tamari (Soy) Sauce, Thai Summer Curry,                  Mushroom/Scallion Stir Fry, Asian Chicken & Cabbage Salad

VEGETABLES V:  WORKING WITH DIFFERENT GRAINS: BASMATI RICE, QUINOA & POLENTA – cooks will be introduced to these grains and shown specific recipes while having a broader discussion on creating other recipes with these grains

    MENU:  Making Perfect Basmati Rice with diced Vegetables and Spices, “Southwestern” Quinoa       Salad with Black Beans & Corn, Crispy Quinoa & Onion “Cakes”, Baked Polenta slices with                 parmesan and garlic

VEGETABLES VI:   MAIN DISHES WITH LEGUMES- BEANS, LENTILS & GARBANZOS – buying, storing and soaking legumes and beans for optimal digestion.

    MENU:  Spinach, Basil Lentil Soup & Lentil Stew, Vegetarian Chili with Poblanos, Garbanzo                 “Mayo”, Making Garbanzo-based Falafel fried in Avocado Oil with Roasted Eggplant and Tahini

MORE VEGGIE MAIN DISHES:

    MENU:  Greek Spinach Pie, Curry Basil Lentil Stew,  Beet Cassoulet

    MENU: Yam & Peanut Stew,  Indian Summer Stew (Squash, Coconut & Lentils),  Veggie Pakoras            with Coconut- Mint Sauce

    MENU:  Quinoa ‘Blinis’ with Grilled Vegetables with Garlicky Green Sauce,  Asian Peanut Noodles     (with Udon and/or Zucchini Noodles),  Stuffed Poblanos with beans and Pasilla Sauce

 

SOUPS

SOUPS I:      MAKING BASIC BROTHS & SOUPS- vegetable and meat-based broths for soups, grains and sauces, Making Soups from vegetables (the do’s & don’ts), Chicken Soup for health,

   MENU:  vegetable broth, bone broth, Parmesan Broth with Tortellinis, Roasted Vegetable Chicken      Soup, Creamless, Creamy Vegetable Soup with herbs

SOUPS II:  MAKING A VARIETY OF SOUPS

    MENU: Kale, Potato & Sausage Soup, Cream of Tomato with Basil, Split Pea Soup with Smoked         Turkey Ham: Croutons and Toppings for Soups

SOUP III: ASIAN INSPIRED

    MENU: Basic Ramen, Asian Laksa with chicken and rice noodles,  Carrot Ginger with Root                    Vegetables, Pumpkin Lime & Coconut Soup

 

GOURMET SALADS

SALADS I:  Introduction to variety of fresh, raw salads – visual guides to variety of green leafy vegetables and a tasting, 3 types of dressings and variety of toppings including: olives, toasted nuts & seeds, fruit slices, shredded veggies and colorful varieties

    MENU: Arugula & Greens with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette, Spinach & Bacon with Creamy           Herb Ranch, Shredded Carrots with Asian-ginger

SALADS II:  Steamed & Roasted Salads and 3 types Kale Salads

    MENU:  Potato, Broccoli & Arugula in Dijon Vinaigrette, Charred Summer Salad, Kale “Ceaser”,           Kale with Parmesan & Roasted Sweet Potato, Wilted Kale with Miso Dressing

SALADS III:  Grain & Bean Based Gourmet Salads and three more dressings

    MENU: Classic Tabuleh (mint/parsley/lime dressing), Crunchy Beet & Chickpeas, Quinoa Salad           with Pecans, Apples & Cranberries, Three Bean Salad with Citrus-Cumin Dressing

SALADS IV:  Meat-based Salads (may incur extra cost)

    MENU I: Herbed Egg Salad, Cold Asian Noodles with Chicken, “Taco” Salad with ground turkey

    MENU II:  Thai Beef Salad with scallions and ginger, Lightly Creamy Dilled Shrimp Salad,  Turkey        “Fajita” Salad

SALADS V:  DRESSINGS & SAUCES – and combing them with different dishes

    MENU: Chermoula Sauce for Meat dishes, Chimichurri for grilled meats and/or vegetables, Carrot     Ginger Dressings, Sesame Miso Dressing,  Garlic Green Goddess, Garbanzo “Mayonnaise”

 

BREAKFASTS

    MENU I:  Homemade Granola, Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce, Basic Muffins

    MENU II:  Baked Frittata with Sausage,  Yogurt Parfaits, Homemade Jams

    MENU III:  Coconut-Flour Pancakes, Flourless Egg & Cottage Cheese Savory Muffins, Grain-Free                          Scones

 

BAKING CLASSES

BAKING I:  BAKING BASICS: Measuring dry & wet ingredients, Flours & Alternative Flours, Adjusting recipes for high altitude

    MENU: Morning Fruit Scones, Lemon Nut Cookies with Amaranth Flour & Banana- Blueberry                           Muffins

BAKING II: PIES & TARTS

    MENU: Basic Pie Crust, Dutch Apple Pie, Chocolate Pecan Tart, Pumpkin Pie

BAKING III:  CAKES

    MENU:  Basic Vanilla Cake and Chocolate Ganache Frosting,  Carrot Cake with Lime Cream             Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Log with Flavored Whipped Cream

 

HEALTHY DESSERTS I: 

    MENU I: Nut crusts for pies & Chocolate Ganache, Homemade Granola, Flourless Brownies

    MENU II:  Dairy-free “Cheese Cake”, Raw Oatmeal Cookies, Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse

 

SNACKS I

    MENU I: Kale Chips, Amaranth Puffs & Crunchy-Spiced Chickpeas

     MENU II: Almond Butter, Cacao-Almond Butter Balls,  Blueberry Granola Bars


SPECIAL CLASSES ON THERAPEUTIC DIETS

Anti-Inflammation Diet

Cancer Prevention Diet

Sugar-free Diet

Dairy-Free Diet