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Everything posted by KarenDW

  1. They are about $2 a pound here in BC, too. One of my favorite qualities of Honeycrisp apples... they maintain their color and texture, even when cut, and at room temperature. So, quite perfect for serving fresh to a crowd of, say, hungry kids after school. Or on a dessert tray, or on a made-ahead cheese tray. Good for garnishing (because they don't turn brown quickly). I've cut into a Honeycrisp and taken a slice or two every day for several days; enjoyed every bite!
  2. KarenDW

    Bare Hands

    In the community kitchen I prefer that people use bare, properly washed, hands for most operations. We have vinyl (surgical) gloves for the "icky" jobs like mixing pesto into meat, or handling used dishes. And I TOTALLY insist on changing gloves between different types of food.
  3. I'm thinking hotel work could come with some good perks if you like to travel... or, work the chain and try to hit all the locations :-)
  4. Yukon Gold or German Yellow work the best for me vis a vis freezing. Cook, as you would normally, and drain well; even dry a little using residual heat... Mash, then add cream cheese and chicken broth (and butter, duh), to form a mixture slightly "drier" than you would use when serving immediately. Note that cream or milk may separate when frozen/thawed, which may affect your resultant reheated meal. Divide into portions. Wrap, freeze. I prefer to season when serving, rather than prior to freezing.
  5. We make a "batch" of meatballs and freeze in zipper bags to remove a few at a time as needed; make sauces/pesto/salsas and freeze in ice cube trays or in zipper bags (flattened); cook small batches (4 servings) of rice or other starches to keep in the fridge. One thing I find especially helpful is to cut fresh raw meats/fish/poultry into individual serving sizes, then individually wrap (cuts down on freezer burn & makes items easier to separate when frozen). Then it's easy to take out one piece of "something". We also slice meats/chicken into stir-fry style pieces, and freeze in individual portions with a marinade. In the time it takes to put on a pot of water for noodles... the meat is thawed enough to start cooking. May I recommend that you invest in a few microwaveable storage containers? The GlasLoc items have a tight-fitting plastic lid.
  6. Egg noodles will freeze successfully if they are (1) slightly undercooked (2) completely coated in the sauce Try to freeze noodles (and anything else, for that matter) in as flat and even package as possible, for the most consistent and even thawing/microwaving. If possible, form the food into a doughnut sort of shape, with a space in the middle. Otherwise, you will end up with overcooked edges and a cold center.
  7. would the same method work for inside round? I had 25 lbs (3 pieces), which I ended up cutting into cubes and braising. But a roast would have been a nice change on the community meal menu. I am totally paranoid about cooking large pieces of meat...
  8. hope I haven't missed this idea up-thread, but have you checked the oven temperature lately?
  9. Current "strategy" is to shop frequently at small shops & market stalls, purchasing only what is needed for 2-3 days. No shopping at warehouse stores (costco, sam's) except for disposables. We almost always cook extra portions of boneless proteins (chicken breasts, salmon), potatoes or rice. Neither of us takes lunch to work (I work from home). When we plan to cook a "batch" dish (i.e., stocks, tomato ragu or soup) I freeze in plastic zip bags in 1 or 2-cup portions. Flatten the bag to excise the air bubble, freeze in a cake pan... voila, an envelope-shaped packet which takes very little space in the freezer. Important note: label everything with name and date. Remember to rotate stock. Important note 2: even lettuce can be used in soup. I recall assembling all the green vegs from the crisper, poaching in chicken stock, puree, season & serve. Fresh, green, tasty... swirl a little heavy cream on top, if you must.
  10. If purchasing Friday for cooking Tuesday... I might choose frozen as well. But would be thawing in the fridge/cooler from Sunday onwards. Reason for ordering frozen might be that storing fresh for 5 days seems too long, especially not knowing how long the roasts were stored before purchasing. But I would (personally) hesitate on cooking from the frozen state based on my own paranoia of being late for dinner service. There is an entire thread here about cooking frozen roasts
  11. We use the OXO pump spinners at the community meal program for the 2 cases per week of greens we wash & dry. There are just not enough towels in the kitchen to dry all that lettuce. And the laundry ladies would have a few choice words for the kitchen staff, I'm sure. The OXO have withstood use by several different users. The brake is still working, after 8 months. For $40 each, I figured we could buy quite a few of those for the same price as the industrial models.
  12. if the batter uses Baking Powder, try to find Double Acting BP. It is formulated to act once when moistened, and then the 2nd time when heated, thereby increasing your chance of success with holding the batter.
  13. a waiter's corkscrew and a swiss army knife both live in the glovebox of my car (along w/ rubber gloves... it's a Glovebox). I've served dinner parties using these tools in addition to the hosts kitchen gear. When we used to rent a summer cottage, we also had a list of kitchen items, and a tote box.
  14. Not so entirely odd, actually. The seniors all know exactly what to do when a sympathy card is required. It's really sad that Randi's guests seem so unable to make a compliment. It's also sad to note that when people pay something for their meal (any amount, even $5), they suddenly have a whole heap of (usually unrealistic) expectation. Feeding seniors is a tough gig. Feeding hungry, impoverished people seems easy by comparison.
  15. Your menu sounds like the sort of thing my group would love. I never do roast turkey dinner because of the time/space issue. We have two (non-convection, gas) commercial ovens, which could each hold 2 turkeys. Which would leave no-where for holding hot vegetables, or cooking casseroles. Closest I've come is to chicken with stuffing. FWIW, the people I know who like turkey dinner would be happy to have it twice in a week As for the budget on this one... I would estimate about $4 per person on 35 guests, so am curious to hear how you've fared. Bet your seniors will love their dinner.
  16. great article. Thanks for the link
  17. Of course, both Miracle Whip and RITZ are Kraft brands... Have you ever seen the Favorite Brand Names cookbooks?
  18. sorry for the delayed reply. Just back from my (too short) break. Our budget is $3 per person, based on 100 guests, so $300 per week. Food, including staples, and paper products (napkins, take out containers, foil, parchment, etc) come out of that budget. With a weekly program and the higher guest count, it's pretty easy to stay on budget here in Richmond (just south of Vancouver). As well, it helps a lot that we are able to use the food bank. There is a great program here, Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, in which volunteers plant and tend 2+ acre of city-owned farmland as well as gleaning from private land. The produce is donated to the foodbank and other food-sharing programs. I have an allotment garden downtown, and have been growing small amounts of stuff for the meal program, too. We also have a food-rescue organization, which redirects non-market groceries for low-income clients and not-for-profit agencies. Shopping at warehouse-style stores and food-service suppliers helps a lot with the budget, too. Edited to add link.
  19. Or, someone will start another phase of Retro, incorporating margarine tubs and repurposed produce/bread bags... When I am cooking at my parents' place, I take an apron, a knife, and sometimes, a roll of parchment paper. Oh, and rubber gloves, cos' mom's hands are smaller than mine. I miss my dishwasher (oh, and my fully functioning oven) when I'm at their place. At other people's houses (other than my parents') I usually just "make do" in the short term. Or take my own knives for anything more complicated than helping with dinner.
  20. In some industries, having a degree, any degree, will help you to get a visa for working abroad, if that is something you'd like to do. One of my (few) educational regrets is not getting my BA or BSc. earlier on in life. FWIW, I now run my own busines, cooking and teach cooking. No degree, no "professional culinary" training, just lots of practice, lots of questions, and a lot of scientific process.. Few, if any, clients or students ask for my credentials. No, I've never cooked in a restaurant. But then, I never wanted to, either. Reaching the 1/2 century mark in a couple of weeks. Any very happy w/ life.
  21. At our program, "won't prepare at home" is sometimes anything other than grilled cheese and tomato soup. Today's menu is: Roast pork loin w/garlic and black pepper, rosemary potatoes (blanching off, then roasting), tossed salad, braised carrots with fennel, apple bread pudding. I hardly ever cook "roasts" because I'm paranoid of not being ready on time. The meat will be 50-70% of the food budget for this week ($3 per person x 100 guests). It's 11 degrees C, here today, so maybe I will serve soup (cream of broccoli, pre-made, frozen). Guests who do not eat pork will be offered veggie burgers. All the produce is coming off the farm this morning, so will need to be wash (by hand) and chopped. Bread was donated from a local bakery. One of the regular guests dropped off apples last week. I cannot serve the ham/pea soup that a volunteer came in to make on Monday, because that is too much pork for one menu. We will have 4 regular volunteers for prep, and I am training 3 new people and having 2 admin meetings this afternoon. Thank goodness for my "regulars". Then I take 2 weeks off for vacation. Yay! It was a real exercise to get subs for the two weeks. I have just planned both their menus, and done the shopping and workflow breakdowns.
  22. Hi Michael. I usually break off all the thick stems, then pull the "larger" leaves off the stalk. Then I break the tops into small clusters, the size of which "I'd like to see on my dining companion's fork" (LOL). i.e., small enough to fit into a small mouth without cutting with a knife. I use the same size guideline for most salads, unless a specific plating is wanted. Hope this helps. Karen
  23. KarenDW


    Was at Cibo recently for dinner with my sweetie, celebrating the end of my 10-mile-10-day diet. Food was very good; service needs a little tweeking. I, too, appreciate the wine & beer store in the same building... can pick up a bottle of "what I just tried" to take home for another day
  24. So, pardon me for not knowing, but does the pay warrant enough time to actually hand cut the coleslaw or make the pastry by hand? Our program pays me "just" enough to oversee the volunteers for about 5 hours, plus 2-3 hours of shopping. I can't imaging using hand-made pastry for enough pies for 100 guests (our average). [runs from room... screaming]
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