Gabriela Rodriguez loves to cook.

She shared that love with a handful of lucky people at the Emporia Public Library Thursday evening, teaching a class on preparing pork tostadas. The class was part of the library’s Healthy Cooking series.

Rodriguez, who spoke to the class with the help of a translator, said the recipe has been passed down through generations.

“It’s a traditional dish for us,” she said, adding that she’d been helping in the kitchen since she was a young girl.

Tostadas are a traditional dish from Oaxaca, Mexico, dating back about 2,000 years. They make use of leftover tortillas that are no longer fresh enough to fold, but still fresh enough to eat.

Rodriguez’s recipe is relatively simple, and can be modified to feed as many — or as few — people as you need. She begins by selecting her cuts of pork sirloin, which she usually finds at Good’s Cash Saver. She said to wash the meat before boiling it long enough that the meat is tender enough to shred.

Patricia Saenz-Reyes, who provided translation during the event, asked Rodriguez if the recipe could be modified to use a slow cooker. Rodriguez said it could, and said that would even be ideal for people who need to prepare a meal for overnight.

While the pork is cooking, Rodriquez prepares the sauce by boiling California chiles — or guajillo chiles. Once those are complete, she blends the chiles with garlic cloves, oregano, ginger, cumin, onion, three cubes of chicken bouillons, salt to taste and tomatoes and pours it over the shredded pork. That sits for several hours in the oven at 350 degrees.

To make your own salsa, Rodriquez said that’s very simple. Simply blend six boiled tomatoes, two boiled onions and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

The tostada is prepared by spreading beans over the tortilla, adding pork, lettuce, tomato, onion, Crema Mexicana and cojita cheese. Then you’re ready to eat.

Rodriguez said one of the most important aspects of the tostada is the presentation. Tostadas are meant to be colorful, topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onion.

“The key to all this preparation is the flavor,” she said.

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