Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lunch Report

The local food coalition had a luncheon event yesterday and I helped. (please read that last bit like the kid on the shake-n-bake ads from the 1970s).

It was supposed to go all day, but we had a low (though appreciative turnout.

The menu was pretty impressive:

spinach dip with crackers and veggies as an appetizer
Beverages: water with lemons, coffee, tea.

Soup: Roasted Butternut Squash (with roasted garlic, pears, and spiced with nutmeg and cloves) (I made this one...I split it and put walnut milk in part of it. It was good)

Meat: Elk roast

Veggies: roasted root veggies with a soy-vinegar-spice mix on them
AND green beans sauteed (or roasted) with garlic and creole spices.
AND mashed potatoes and cauliflower (just cook it all together and mash up) with roasted garlic

There appears to be a "roasted" them with an emphasis on garlic. Hmmm.

Anyway, also had some tart cranberry sauce to put on the roast or whatever you wanted it on.

It was all lovely.

For desserts:
Fudge (made with pinto beans...I SWEAR it is good, very fudge like)
Apple cake with caramel sauce.
Chocolate bread pudding with real whipped cream.

At least one person there had never had whipped cream, only cool whip. Wow.

The low turn out appeared to be due to multiple factors:
1) it's winter and folks would need to drive 6 miles. (though usually free food AND door prizes (I won't a cooking lite cook book) gets folks there)
2) it was payday friday and that afternoon tends to be thin on staff anyway
3) there was a competing fund raiser at the early childhood learning the kiddies' parents probably went there
4) Our advertising was not fabulous, but not bad either, certainly more than the kiddies' advertising.
5) the title was "enLITEned holiday cooking" and perhaps people prefer their holidays full fat
6) It was lunch and many of our folks who attend evening events would have been at work and may not have had time.

We had some food left, plenty, but it went home with folks and/or got donated to the fund raiser. I took some but gave it to a friend who couldn't get away from the office long enough to come to lunch.

The good parts were that 10 women and 3 kids cooked together in one kitchen (commercial size kitchen) with no conflict and in fact, with some fun. There is something very fundamental about food sharing (ask any critter...primates, lions, cats, dogs, vultures...). And something quite bonding about cooking sharing.
I was popular due to bringing actual sharp knives though I was fairly selfish with them. The organizer brought her own electric skillets (the lid of one got shattered), some pans, and some spices. The clinic's dietitian had brought examples of slightly healthier options (e.g. raw sugar, whole wheat flour) and shared them when we ran out of a couple of things. Another woman was willing to supervise kids running a stick blender (brave not due to the danger of getting cut, but rather due to the danger the kids would discover it is way more fun to run the blender at an angle and send mixture all over the kitchen. They did discover this and she did not kill them).

I was cool until I saw a little girl at our serving table sneeze. Fortunately I already had food from that table and double fortunately the cake had not yet been put out.

I think the best part of our food events is that we hand out the recipes. I've incorporated one from an earlier event into my frequent rotation (wheatberry salad), the squash soup from this one already was in my frequent rotation and I think the green beans with garlic and spices will be in there now (in green bean season anyway). I already do roasted veggies. Honestly, I'm going to try the fudge again. It was really surprisingly good. The texture was right and it still had 4 cups of powdered sugar, but almost no dairy. I usually can't have much fudge.

I think every thing but the elk had a good dose of fiber. That isn't just a hunch. I'm feeling pretty cleaned out today.

And a shoutout to my landlord/lady who I don't think read this. My hot water tank started throwing the breaker thursday night. As I roasted 12 lbs of squash and 5 heads of garlic. I told them Friday morning. It got diagnosed friday afternoon and fixed this morning. Not bad. I was able to get warmish water so managed an unsatisfying shower Friday to avoid stinking at the food event, but doing dishes in slightly warm water doesn't work well.

Speaking of food:
Today I made 2 loaves of bread (and ate was good), oven fries (at them all...oops) and ginger lime steelhead. The steelhead was so thick it took forever to cook. The fries were done first so I ended up eating way too many of those before the fish was done. I'll be eating that for a few days. There are worse things than extra steelhead.

As a bonus: here is the recipe for the fudge. I think I've already posted the squash soup. If not, I'll do that later.

Pinto Bean Fudge
1 and 2/3 cup cooked and cooled pinto beans (or 1 16oz can rinsed and drained)
1 c cocoa powder (NOT hot cocoa mix...we've had to tell people this)
2/3 c butter
1 T vanilla (yes, a BIG T, not a tsp. Also, almond extract would be a most excellent substitute)
4 c powdered sugar
Optional: chopped walnuts

Put beans in a blender or mixer and puree (or mash well). Add cocoa, butter, and vanilla. Mix. Combine powdered sugar with the bean mixture. Beat 3 minutes until thoroughly mixed. Add nuts if using. Spread into a greased 9X13 pan.

We used a variety of pan sizes rather than just the 9X13.

My biggest adventure at the food thingy: being a turd about keeping my stuff. People kept borrowing my paring knife. It's one that Gram gave me YEARS ago and I keep sharp. Unlike new knives, it holds an edge (hence everyone wanting to borrow it). I caught more than one woman eyeing the covered pans I brought the squash in (I had roasted it at home the day before as the ovens at the long house (that's rez-talk for "community center) are unreliable and I needed an hour of roasting time and an hour of simmering time). These pans are old and have sturdy slide on lids. I don't know if you can get them anymore and I've nearly had to punch people to give them back when they try to say "oh, these are mine." Really, did your Gramma ABBY put her name on medical tape with permanent marker there on the bottom too? Jeez. Actually, I may have stolen one of the pans from Sher. Sorry Sher, but tough honkers. It's mine now. The B-team pan is metal with a clip on metal lid. Still way better than the crappy modern plastic lids because you can put on a metal lide while the food is still hot if you don't mind the food steaming a bit. A plastic lid melts and/or puts a crap flavor in the food if you put it on while the food is hot. AND you can't use the plastic lids as cookie sheets. My pan lids are actually my main cookie sheets.


Anonymous said...

Jill, here I am trying to watch my diet and only eat when my BODY is hungry, not my MIND. But reading your blog made my MIND hungry for, oh what, fudge? oven fries? hell, even that squash sounds good and as well know full well and good, I flippin' hate squash. This cinches it - we simply have to make meals when we are visiting Jonny. I want to be in the kitchen and threaten to steal your paring knife and metal lids* just to see the look on your face as you threaten to punch me :-) This sounds like it was a wonderful event - I wish I could have attended and even halped (THAT'S how a Shake and Bake spokesperson REALLY pronounces it :-)

*one wonders how you would manage to get these things on a plane, however...

Jill said...

Cool. Jonny has a panini grill so we can use that.

Fly Right said...

My old roommate took something to a party in my metal pan with a slide on lid that was my mother's. It did not make it home and she must have thought that the floodgates of hell had opened up when I found out. Poor Deanna had to buy me a new one (first with a plastic lid ***BZZZT*** sorry, then with a snap on but metal lid, with the promise that when her grandma died I'd get hers). I wonder if she remembers that she owes me that. . .

Jill said...

Hell hath no fury like a woman whose slide-on-lid-heirloom pan has been swiped! I agree about the plastic lid. Just say NO. And metal snap on...not as good. I just had to use my metal snap-on lid for cookies last night since someone hasn't returned a jelly-roll pan and I'm short on cookie baking options. It is not like the old slide on lids. Too thin. The cookies were crap though that was the fault of the recipe saying to bake them at 375 rather than 325 and me thinking "it seems hot" without just going ahead and turning it down. The honey in them scorched. oh well. They are good in coffee.