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Posts posted by KarenDW

  1. If you're not sure you can keep up with all your new ideas, don't feel you have to introduce it all at once. You can start off for a few weeks providing your own quality versions of what they already had, and once you get used to the environment, look at improving the salad bar or adding the fruit bar or nudging soups into your menus. Don't feel you have to do it all at once, keep your wits about you and learn the ropes as you go. It's easier to add one new thing once you know how to manage your time for the baseline menu than try to do five new things at once. This is true anytime you take over a kitchen, IMO.

    Wise words. Let's agree that Walker will have a long tenure, and therefore lots of time to experiment w/ new stuff. Improving the quality of existing menu offerings is a nice start for putting one's signature on a kitchen.

  2. I generally wash apples, citrus, melons, pineapple and sometimes bananas with water AND soap, using a brush if necessary, then rinse. Ditto for cauliflower, and broccoli if it is visibly dirty or has aphids (otherwise, just water).

    The soap seems to help keep the fruitflies at bay (maybe by removing or killing the eggs?)

    Grapes and strawberries which have a lot of soil also get the soap treatment, but usually just a rinse.

    If the produce is from a garden or farm which I know, then I just rinse. But just thinking about all the hands which have been on my food, and then the various sorts of storage and transport conditions...eeeww.

  3. 1000s fed, no one dead (from the food)

    What's the difference (in the food safety sense) between taking food from the fridge to head in the crockpot, and actually MAKING the food in the crockpot?

    If one was to follow the cooking instructions for crockpot recipes, most of the ingredients come out of the fridge and into the crockpot. So, why is taking pre-cooked food to reheat in the crockpot any different?

    My only concern would be the quick cooling of the food at the initial cooking. Maybe a bag/container of ice inserted into the partially cooled food would hasten the cooling (and reduce the amount of time the food stays in the thermal "danger zone". I have been known to use a dishwasher safe plastic container full of water, frozen ahead of time.

  4. skirts :hmmm:

    Do people actually WEAR skirts in the kitchen?

    I was thinking that technical fabric made into a modified yoga jacket might be the way to go. OK, I'll admit to watching Iron Chef w/ Giada last night. But the jacket rocked!

    Sleeve length good; tailoring was reasonable; length good.

    Mind you, the price tag was probably $200+ "designer".

    I'm talking w/ my sis who sews (SWS) about some jackets incorporating a bit of lingerie silk in the shoulders or something. For private dinner party catering.

  5. Something that I think gets forgotten a lot on these forums is that tinned foods, long life foods and buying things in single serve portions is often the most sensible option for some people.


    My daughter eats every meal for 4 out of 7 days ON CAMPUS! She does not have access to a fridge, and rarely a microwave. Individ. packaged fruit leather rules. Unfortunately, right up there w/ juice boxes (which she still, at nearly 19, considers "treat" food), baby carrots, single serve yogurt, and disposable spoons. It would be grand if she could actually have real food at least once a day... some days she just waits until 10pm to get home and cook something.

    Our condo is 500 sq. ft.; two people, one of whom runs a home-based business. To say that storage space is "tight" by North American standards, is an understatement. I buy flour in 5 kg bags, and sugar in 1 kg bags, at the MOST.

  6. Anna that looks great.  I was thinking before I read the description how fresh and crisp the veggies look.   

    I was actually dreading doing the butchering if I was going to make the stew for them.  I'm glad it was a no go. 

    Was it fatty?  How was the flavor?

    The whole issue of logistics raises it's ugly head once again. Randi, I feel your pain about the time/money continuum. Cheap meat usually needs work, which means time, for which we usually are not being paid enough... right?

    On a few occasions, I've used shoulder roasts... braising them off the day before. On Meal Day: remove fat, make sauce, cook veggies separately; cube or shred meat, then put the whole thing back together into a "stew". The result was very good, combining the long-cooked flavor with the fresh look. But it meant an extra half day of work, which is all good if I'm not working at another job that day. Bonus: the clean-up volunteers had an easier time of it, as the food wasn't actually "cooked" in the insert pans we used for serving.


    Nice looking plate, Anna!

  7. cool demo idea! I'll have to try that one next semester.

    One of the common complaints over here is the lack of access to good "ingredients" on campus. A lot of dorm students are using cafeteria food for ingredients (i.e., veggies from the salad bar, extra meat portions on an entree, etc)

    Please keep sharing your ideas which involve minimal tools or prep.

  8. cooking is a waste of my academic achievements for the most part, but I'm happy, and that's all I really care about right now. Education is never a waste, even if you don't end up working in your area of study. Knowledge is never a bad thing.

    on the other hand, I have a Diploma in Physical Metallurgy; so, now that I cook for a living, all those chocolate crystalization curves make TOTAL sense!

    I started cooking professionally at the ripe old age of 45 after 3 career changes, one marriage ending, and one kid graduating high school. Three years later, my other child has started university. As a parent, my recommendation is TRY IT! Go and work in a restaurant; front of house, kitchen, office, the works; whatever you can get that doesn't take a 4 hour commute each day.

    If you can work as a dishwasher or cook, you can work anywhere in the world. You will rarely go hungry (if you are working), although your meal routine will totally change from when your mum was making 3 squares a day. :raz: But there is not so much money involved as say, engineering, accounting or investment banking.

  9. My roommates buy the groceries 80% of the time, because they eat at home much more often. So, when I want to cook something different, I just go and get my own supplies. They appreciate the extra effort, and also the "something different" if I make "good" stuff. In a shared situation, I think it's the best we can hope for.

    As for cooking for guests, generally I will make whatever I want, and choose better, although maybe not "best" ingredients, especially if it's for a large group. Many of my friends just want food that tastes good, not haute cuisine. OK by me. Cheaper, too. But for my foodie friends, I always make sure there is something special.

  10. I bought st. Louis style ribs( already seasoned and vacuum sealed) for .99lb for that dinner.  I was planning on the lamb for the 12th, that meal only serves 25ppl. 

    We did a similar meal last week; ribs, mashed spuds, coleslaw, corn salad. Ergo my earlier post about Pork. Corn salad seemed to please the non-pork-eaters, and we had a veggie friendly, gluten free gravy for the potatoes.

  11. My meal is going to be the Xmas meal( turkey, mashed spuds, etc).

    Don't shoot me, or anything... but I found the most amazing instant mashed potatoes at Costco. Maybe yours has it too? Really, all that's in the box are dehydrated potatoes and salt. We used 2 x 2kg boxes for the 100 ppl. But my room has more homeless and Working Poor guests than seniors. The price point was amazing, and prep was easy. If I had to peel, boil and mash 35 lbs of potatoes... I wouldn't do it. It would be rice every week. LOL. Anyways, we added real butter (1 lb for the lot), and used skim milk. Everyone loved them. And it really did taste like potatoes, unlike some of that other stuff we've tried for reasons of economy or physicality.

  12. on the other hand, if they (the Seniors) are from the same philosophy as my mom, Lamb is (was) an extravegance in the 1960s and 70s, and so they may appreciate it. Irish stew style would have a familiar flavor profile.

    One of the issues in our program is the use of pork. Any time I serve pork as the entree, I am mandated to serve an alternative for people with dietary restrictions, such as Kosher or Halal diet followers. In planning to serve lamb, consider having a substantial side dish or two, so that if people don't want lamb they will have ample other stuff. Do scalloped potatoes go with lamb stew?

    The standout fave lamb dish in my repertoire (although never served large scale) uses olives, red wine (cooking wine would do just fine), and mirpoix of carrots/onions/celery/garlic.

  13. I've made chicken this way, more times than I can count( although I usually use boneless skinless breasts).  I did the flour, egg, seasoned bread crumb thing and shallow fried it in olive oil.  They finished in the oven.  They really loved these.

    The chicken has a really familiar, old-home look to it. Was probably something your guests would have made "for company" in another era, and so they would have appreciated your effort.

    I didnt like seeing the large curds in the dish, but the seniors didnt mind.

    One of the most used items I've purchased for our Community Meal kitchen is a food processor. Quite a few of the volunteers love using it (they quibble over who got to grate the cheese the last time). Perhaps a whirl or two for the ricotta would have made the curds smaller.

    Good for you, Randi! that they like it. As has been mentioned up-thread... keep making food that they are familiar with, but add your own twist. Gradually... in small steps.

  14. We're doing the turkey roasts (boneless) this year for their xmas meal again.  3.70lb frozen.

    I feel so fortunate to not have to make a turkey dinner for our program. Neil "did the deed" while I was on holidays in October (Canadian Thanksgiving), using his restaurant kitchen and staff. But I recall contemplating how to cook whole or half turkeys for 100 in only two ovens. It was going to be boneless roasts for us, too.

  15. Very often those same hostesses/hosts are hired as pleasing eye candy and their vapid little minds can't conceive of anything beyond table placement.

    Or sometimes, we're too old to remember what the kitchen called 86 from 10 minutes ago. In our dining room, the server would advise the "out of" items when greeting the table and taking drink orders. Theoretically speaking

  16. my daughter decided at age 14 to "Be A Vegetarian For A Year", starting in September. What we did was: make stuffing outside of the turkey, and omit bacon/sausage or other dead animals; make sure that there were enough sides that she could "eat something" and my mother didn't harass anyone; have a dairy-free dessert, as she and my sis are both lactose intolerant. I thought we had it pretty easy... they can both eat eggs and wheat.

    If you're concerned about whether the non egg eating veggies get protein in their meal, then you could have a quinoa/lentil/bean salad w/ a vinagrette dressing. Make lots, the meat eaters will eat it, too.

  17. I've spoken to them about getting donations, but since they are charging the seniors for a meal( 9.00), they dont feel right about getting donations.  The meal program is just one of the many things the agency does( home healthcare, housekeeping, driving, etc, etc).  The agency has a few fundraisers per year, but the money isnt earmarked specifically for the dining program. 

    Maybe the donations could be for other programs, and then the funds "saved" reallocated to the dining program?

    There is another "feed the hungry/out of the cold" program in our neighborhood which is having serious budget issues. Their budget is more like yours, about $2.25 pp, for 125 ppl. But they have a lot of volunteers, including volunteer Shoppers.

    I've been surprised about what I've been able to put out with my budget, but as I said before, I run myself ragged shopping at different stores

    Does your contract have a provision for car expenses or car allowance?

  18. Do you have somebody with/at a restaurant that would let you order supplies on their invoice?
    it might save you some money

    And save wear and tear on the body and car, if they can deliver several items to one location :wacko:

    that's my favorite part!

    The Sharing Farm produce is just about finished for the year, except for some cabbages and a few hothouse greens. So, it's a good thing my program doesn't run in December. In order to meet our budget, we are probably using frozen peas or corn :unsure: for a while.

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