June 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Santa Fe’s Cuisine Scene

"Cooking classes, Food Truck Fridays, Greek Fest & more"

By Lynn Cline

Gourmet Girl

Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.

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Cook Like a Pro

If, like me, you long to know precisely how your favorite chefs cook with local ingredients, then you should enroll in Local Organic Meals on a Budget's cooking classes, held June 13 through the end of December on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. Classes take place in the commercial kitchen of Kitchen Angels, located at 1222 Siler Road.

Learn to make fresh mozzarella, savory soups, and stews, flavorful salsas, jams, chutneys and pesto, along with the fooddcrafts of canning, preserving and freezing. Participating chefs include Ahmed Obo of Jambo Café, Roland Richter of Joe's Diner, Vinaigrette's Erin Wade, Red Mesa Catering's Lois Ellen Frank, Foodcraft's Kim Muller and The Cowgirl's Patrick Lambert.

The first class, Celebration of Peas, takes place Wednesday, June 13, featuring Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young of Harry's Roadhouse working with a seasonal abundance of pea varieties to make original pasta and risotto dishes featuring fresh English peas, snap peas, pea shoots and pea sprouts.

Organizers hope to teach participants how to make healthy, filling meals for four people for under $20.  Students will not only earn how to make nutritious dishes, they'll enjoy tasting what they make as well.

“Our focus continues to be fast, inexpensive and healthy meals that can be cooked at home and are in harmony with the seasons,” says Tony D’Agostino, one of the founding organizers of Local Organic Meals on a Budget.

The classes are organized by local groups that have pooled their resources and expertise, including Kitchen Angels, the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute and Home Grown New Mexico. For more information, click here.

Food Truck Fridays

Food trucks are all the rage. Even in Paris, the gastronomy capital of the world, food trucks have taken over the streets, selling artisan tacos stuffed with organic meat, burgers and other popular American fare.

Santa Fe has a thriving food truck scene, too (see Gourmet Girl's Food Trucks Around Santa Fe) and there's no better place to sample the city's mobile menu offerings than at the Food Caravan, held every other Friday from June 1 through August 24, 6 to 8 p.m., in the Railyard Park.

This bimonthly gathering of Santa Fe's favorite food trucks features the best of our street food scene, from turkey legs and lamb tacos to soups, sandwiches and more. It's a great to way bring the community together for dinner, live music, conversation and fun!

Participating food trucks include Slurp, serving baguettes with Thai roasted chicken, caprese sandwiches with basil, and mozzarella and Slurpisicles, made with strawberry basil pinon or kiwi honeydew melonk mint. All Fired Up serves lamb tacos, turkey legs and Southern sstyle barbecue, while The Nile Café offers Mediterranean cuisine. Other food trucks will join the caravan as we roll into summer.

If you're interested in participating, send an email to rebeccaslurp@gmail.com. For more info, click here.

Get Your Greek On

The Greeks are well known for their love of wine and food, so you can be that the 15th Annual Santa Fe Greek Festival will serve up ample platters of souvlaki, gyros, spanakopita, dolmades, baklava and more. Hosted by the St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center Friday, June 15 and Saturday June 16 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the event includes music, dancing, wine and beer.

You can feast on calzones stuffed with feta, olives, spinach and onions and seasoned with oregano, as well as souvlake, Greek-style coven-roasted chicken marinated with oregano, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. For dessert, there's baklava, korambiedes (powdered sugar cookies), koulourakia (twist cookies) andlouloumades (fried balls of dough coated with honey and cinnamon) and  melomakroma (honey walnut cookies).

Participating restaurants include the Plaza Café Downtown, the Plaza Café Southside, Tortilla Flats, Upper Crust and The Beestro Catering Service.

The Aegean Sounds, New Mexico's premier Greek band, will provide live music and Albuquerque's Palamakia Dancers will perform both days. The Greek Agora will sell gifts from Greece along with imported Greek foods.

For more information, click here.

A Skypeable Feast

The Virtual Dinner Guest Project, an inventive twist on the dinner party, was created by Santa Fe's own  Eric Maddo as a way to connect people around the world at a virtual dinner party using video conferencing technology.

The hope is that by bonding over a meal shared virtually, people will come to understand each other's culture, traditions heritage and lives. Maddox, a documentary filmmaker who worked on a series of films about communities affected by conflict in the Middle East affected communities, got the idea to use Skype to bring people living in conflict together with those living in peace so they could get to know each other, and even become friends.

"It is harder to ignore, vilify or harm those with whom we have broken bread," Maddox says on his website. "As citizens of the world, we often won't see eye to eye, but with the VDG Project, we can increase and empower the moments when we do."

At each dinner party, people gather in an art gallery, restaurant or public space with a web-cam, a monitor and a meal prepared by a local chef. As the diners share a meal and conversation, anyone can listen in and participate in the closing Q&A.

Each event is sponsored by a local business or philanthropist and proceeds benefit grassroots initiatives and expanding the Virtual Dinner Guest Party project to communities around the world. Sponsors include SITE Santa Fe Presents SPREAD, the McCune Charitable Trust Foundation the Leadership Development Foundation in Kampala, Uganda, and The Association for Leadership, Empowerment and Education of the Masses in Karachi, Pakistan.

So far, Virtual Dinner Guest events have brought Israel and Palestine together and paired the U.S. with Egypt and Mexico. For more info, click here.

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