Cooking Day 1 – Monday May 13, 2013
- Assorted bagels with butter or cream cheese
- Coffee, tea selection, orange juice
Most of the participants for the first week of the workshop had arrived during the weekend, and had the pleasure of feasting on assorted bits of leftovers, sandwiches, and whatever we could find in the freezer that was edible. It made for an interesting Sunday dinner. But we still chose to start the week with a very simple breakfast, while new arrivals got settled in and the opening meeting began.
- Potato Leek Soup
- Green Salad
This is a fairly simple meal, yet I was happy to have Assistant #1, Caroline, help with peeling potatoes. I originally planned on feeding 20-40 people, which would have required 15 lb of potatoes, but we ended up using less than 10 lb, about a gallon.
I didn’t follow a recipe exactly, because I’ve made this type of soup several times, and there really isn’t much you can do wrong with it. But the recipe linked above is close to my method of madness. I believe I did about 3 times this amount, and we had plenty of leftovers which went into the freezer for one of our “Leftover Meals” which I planned into my menu.
I did have to make one minor change to the basic recipe, however, which was to use turkey bacon. I started frying the sliced bacon in a skillet, but they weren’t getting browned enough for my taste, so I put them on a cookie sheet in the oven for a bit and they came out perfectly. I’m not a huge fan of using poultry as a substitute for beef or pork, but it works if that’s the parameter from which you must work. We also had a vegetarian (who, thankfully, was fine with the broth!) so I kept some separate without the bacon.
I used homemade chicken stock/broth, which I started the day prior, and I’ll save that instructional for a separate post.
For the green salad I decided to have the mixed greens all in a large bowl and put the toppings into individual bowls. This allowed everyone to choose their favorites and leave behind the things they didn’t like. I believe we had tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, carrots, and whatever assorted dressings we had in the refrigerator.
I started the tortillas right after lunch, and I made five times the recipe, for a total of 40 tortillas. That was a lot of work! Honestly, I prefer the tortillas made with unbleached flour, but I have also made them half whole wheat and they were still yummy. These had a combination of white, whole wheat, and spelt flour. I just had to mix, so I have no idea of the proportions.
I was VERY thankful to have kitchen helpers again! Caroline, Steff, and Courtney all helped with cutting the chicken meat, chopping onions, frying the tortillas…well, pretty much everything that night! As it was we didn’t get dinner on the table until 6:30, and the rice wasn’t quite ready.
This was not my normal enchilada recipe, but I would definitely make it again. I used the chicken meat from the roasted chickens I made the day before, and more of the homemade broth. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except one of the three pans was made extra cheesy without chicken. We had a full pan of leftovers, some were the vegetarian, which were enjoyed on Leftover Day.
I love having a rice cooker! I made a full pot, as I usually do, because I like to have cooked rice on hand. The rice, however, wasn’t finished cooking until everyone had already started eating, so we had a LOT of leftover rice!
The black beans were simply canned beans that we heated. I would have preferred to soak and sprout them from the dry stage, but I didn’t have any prepped. Another day I managed.
The fruit salad was a blend of fresh and canned fruit. We had strawberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, sliced peaches, and pineapple chunks. As you can see, there was at least one body eager to get a bowlful!
It was a very successful day, as far as pure eating enjoyment, but it was one of my more time-intensive days. What would I do differently next time? I would want the tortillas made earlier in the day, if not the day before, because rolling out and then cooking 40 tortillas was pretty time-consuming. And I’d want a better rolling pin. Other than that, I don’t think I would change anything. Oh, I’d start the rice cooker a bit earlier as well.