Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cooking for 26!


jrshaul
 Share

Recommended Posts

Not exactly a chili - but a recipe for black beans that I really enjoy.

Black Beans and Rice

1 pound black turtle soup beans

2 onions

2 green peppers

1 red pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic crushed

1 teaspoon cumin

1 bay leaf

½ cup tomato sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon wine vinegar

Soak beans overnight. Add one of the onions cut in half and 1 of the green peppers. Simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Saute remaining onion, red and green pepper until soft. Add garlic, cumin and bay leaf. Saute for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cook for another 5 minutes. Blend in processor. Remove onion and green pepper from beans. Save liquid. Add beans to tomato mixture. Add enough of the liquid to make sauce. Add vinegar. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve over white rice with guacamole and salsa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the reason you aren’t getting a lot of response on the black bean chili request is that many of us don’t really follow a recipe to make dishes like chili. Everyone has their fave variations, but I tend to use the following, and some folks will think what I do is sacrilege:

Black beans – cooked from dry beans, as I don’t like the texture and amount of salt in most of the canned stuff

Mix of sweet peppers, diced (I am especially fond of red, yellow and orange peppers with black beans, but I know green peppers are often the least expensive)

Canned diced tomatoes

Frozen corn – I love corn with black beans, though I wouldn’t put it in ‘regular’ chili

Diced onion and maybe onion powder as well

Fresh garlic and/or garlic powder (I like to use both!) I’d use a garlic press for large batches

Fresh mixed hot peppers, very finely diced – last time I made chili, I used part of both a hot red pepper and a jalapeno (if you don’t have time/energy to do all the chopping/dicing, maybe some canned diced jalapenos could substitute – plain is better and again, I’d avoid any with too much salt)

Tomato sauce or paste + water sufficient to make the mix liquid

Chili powder blend if you have one on hand that you like, or make your own – it’s usually cayenne, cumin, garlic powder, oregano (I think Mexican oregano is best), and maybe paprika. Sometimes salt, which I think is just wrong.

Or you can just wing it with the spices you have on hand, I always use onion powder and garlic powder, even though I am using diced onions and garlic. I am currently using up some El Gaupo Ground Tepin chile powder, which has a nice kick to it.

http://www.amazon.com/El-Guapo-Chiltepin-Chili-Ground/dp/B00346UZ7K

I didn’t bother with cumin or oregano in the last chili because I loved the taste of the tepin chile. And because it was quite hot already with the fresh chiles and the ground tepin, I didn't need cayenne. But you can try different ground chiles or mix a couple, one for taste and one for heat. Or use cayenne for your heat.

Because I tend to make my chilis fairly hot, I usually use something a little bit sweet to balance the flavour – grated carrot, some beer, a bit of brown sugar or a splash of cider vinegar. Sometimes I’ll use a couple of those, but just add a very small amount to start and then taste.

If you do use a commercial chili powder blend for seasoning, I’d probably want to add a bit of something else to perk it up unless it’s a really good blend. A bit of hot sauce if you have some and it needs more heat. I don’t think salt is ever necessary in good chilis – there should be lots of flavour from the other seasonings.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese and yes, your cornbread would be divine with it!

With all that sour cream, you could maybe blow your budget on a bit of beef and do Beef Stroganoff on pasta? Or do a veggie one with just onions/shallots, mushrooms, sour cream and maybe some white wine? You'd want some veggies or salad for colour and added nutrition though.

Also thinking chicken cacciatore might be a good use of the chicken, depending on the produce you have on hand and if you have canned tomatoes.

Edited by FauxPas (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I apologize for being a broken record, but I could really use a vegetarian black bean chili recipe. Most of what I've had is pretty bad, and I'd like a tested recipe before I make a huge pot of it. It's one of the few things I can guarantee being present.

I've had really good luck through the years with this recipe for vegetarian chili. Maybe it will give you some ideas and direction. I do use kidney beans, but you could try it with black beans. I can't imagine why they wouldn't work.

Vegetarian Chili

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I apologize for being a broken record, but I could really use a vegetarian black bean chili recipe. Most of what I've had is pretty bad, and I'd like a tested recipe before I make a huge pot of it. It's one of the few things I can guarantee being present.

I've had really good luck through the years with this recipe for vegetarian chili. Maybe it will give you some ideas and direction. I do use kidney beans, but you could try it with black beans. I can't imagine why they wouldn't work.

Vegetarian Chili

I requested black beans because I've had nothing but bad vegetarian kidney bean chili, with one exception the creator has never replicated. Good vegetarian chili of any type is always welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just tell them it was vegetable fat if they ask. I would. And I do not mean this as a joke. It's not like it's some honest-to-God allergy thing that actually justifies the adulteration of food.

Or, just use actual vegetable oil. There's a noticeable flavor difference but it's not large.

Using bacon fat to prepare a meal for vegans is not quite an ideal or ethical solution. +1 for the vegetable oil route.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just tell them it was vegetable fat if they ask. I would. And I do not mean this as a joke. It's not like it's some honest-to-God allergy thing that actually justifies the adulteration of food.

Or, just use actual vegetable oil. There's a noticeable flavor difference but it's not large.

Using bacon fat to prepare a meal for vegans is not quite an ideal or ethical solution. +1 for the vegetable oil route.

And if you're using typical American bacon, there's a distinctive smoky flavor that is difficult, if not impossible, to disguise. You can parboil the bacon before you fry it or otherwise cook it. The parboiling removes that smoky flavor which is ideal for recipes that call for European bacon or for some other reason you don't want that smoke.

But, as others have said, just use vegetable oil. Easier all the way around and far less likely to offend or insult someone.

Not to mention lose a friend.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've so far only been visiting as a guest, but the list includes the following:

-Pasta with mild bechamel sauce

-Pasta with marinara sauce

-Vegan gluten-free gumbo...

Except for the stirfry, your meals sound like your pantry: starches and dairy, with odd bits of meat and (it looks like) canned tomatoes thrown in. I am still biting my tongue here, so I won't ask where's the fruit and green veg, even winter green veg like cabbage. Not that any of this is your fault. I'm thinking of your food supplier.

Perhaps this recipe can help, given what you have on hand. I've made it a bunch of times. It tastes very good, especially if you can find some mushroom sauce or another savory sauce to put on top. But it's fine plain. My variation of a recipe in Darra Goldstein's A La Russe. It's got starchy veg (potatoes), dairy, protein (eggs) and a yellow veg (onions).

CASSEROLE OF MASHED POTATOES WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 TB melted butter

scant 1 cup milk

1 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 large onions, thinly sliced

2 TB butter

2 TB veg oil

1 cup sour cream

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft when pierced with a knife. Drain well and mash with the melted butter, milk, and salt. Taste and adjust for salt. The mixture should be well-seasoned. Stir in the eggs. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, fry the onions with the remaining butter and veg oil over low-moderate heat. Salt. Let cook over slow heat, turning occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden brown, about 20 mins.

To assemble the casserole: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 2 qt casserole dish. Fill with half of the mashed potatoes, smoothing it into one layer. Spread the onions evenly over the potatoes. Then layer on the remaining potatoes. Spread the sour cream over the top. Bake for 30 mins, until heated through and lightly browned on top. Yields 4-6 servings.

Chicken legs and thighs, especially the cheap ones, often are quite greasy if you leave the skin on...What do eGulleters think about propping a mesh cookie rack over a pan and letting the grease drain into it?

In my experience, the grease eventually starts to smoke and burn in the bottom pan--a big mess. Some people put a little water in the pan to prevent burning grease. I've done that, it's OK. I've also been told to put sliced onions and carrots in the pan instead of water. Don't know how that works out. Anybody else with ideas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah. Even if you think vegans are FOS, you shouldn't fool them.

Don't worry - I won't. There are a few vegetarians present who have some nutritional issue, and at least one devout buddhist. I'm mostly frustrated that the vegetarian food required will have to be so limited - cooking without dairy or eggs is tricky. The vegetarian food must also be gluten-free.

Edited by jrshaul (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today, I helped another co-opper make quinoa and chicken for 26. De-boning chicken legs is significantly more hassle than it's worth when cooking for 26.

I also had some trouble stir-frying tofu. The wok in question just wouldn't stay hot with more than a few tiny pieces of tofu in it, and I don't know why. The stove in question is a big gas-burning monstrosity that appears to make a more than adequate flame, but I had a heck of a time cooking it properly. Any suggestions for crispy tofu?

Not sure why I bothered.

I very much appreciated the tips. I have no intention of violating legitimate dietary concerns or religious beliefs; my issue is for those who consider nutritional preferences as a burden to others. There are people who are gluten free because it's trendy, and there are people who are gluten free because it makes them narcoleptic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the sound of your recipe, FauxPas.

To the OP, at one time about 25 years ago I had to cook for a houseful of girls on a larger budget than what you are being allowed. It was still difficult to come up with interesting meals, and I was an experienced cook. I think your co-op folks are being rather unrealistic in their demands about what you are going to be able to achieve on such little money and with so many limitations. No gluten? Seriously? Is this person a celiac or the latest bandwagoneer?

No offense meant, but if it were me, I'd just buy a meal ticket for the caf and wish them all well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also had some trouble stir-frying tofu. The wok in question just wouldn't stay hot with more than a few tiny pieces of tofu in it, and I don't know why. The stove in question is a big gas-burning monstrosity that appears to make a more than adequate flame, but I had a heck of a time cooking it properly. Any suggestions for crispy tofu?

I think it would easier to use a firmer type of tofu if you want it crispy--soft or silken varieties have too much water. And the tofu should be pan fried or deep fried, not stir fried.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The texture of medium to firm tofu can be altered by freezing it; when thawed it is sponge-y. This can work well for chili dishes and the like. If it's extremely well-drained, perhaps it could be fried crisp -- try it on its own, NOT with water-bearing vegetables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This column really brings into very sharp focus for me a huge difference between young people today and those of several decades back. I don't know, I'm probably generalizing, and probably even wrong, but I doubt the percentage of people with genuine food issues, like celiacs, etc., has increased that much. But what has clearly increased is the percentage of people that adopt whatever food trend is currently in vogue. I remember a time when cooking for college kids meant one thing - did you make enough.

And you cooked for the group. If individuals didn't like this, or wouldn't eat that, or decided some other common ingredient was "poison" or "immoral" or "whatever," they were free to ignore it and move on. If they felt like nothing on offer was ever suitable for their consumption, and that they were somehow entitled to have everyone cater to their whims, they'd be left to their own devices.

Boy have times changed. Now everyone has demands and feels perfectly entitled in insisting upon them and getting upset and insulted when others don't see the brilliance and moral superiority of their culinary choices. And anyone that foolishly offers to help fulfill those choices soon finds themselves in the same thankless position as a short-order cook.

I'm really really happy that's not me. As I've said elsewhere, for at least twenty years, I routinely cooked for groups from 20-90 on a more-than-weekly basis. Naturally, I always made sure to have something for anyone that I knew had some sort of legitimate food issue, like an allergy, or religious dietary restrictions (see my thread about entertaining Iranian fighter pilots).

But catering to a bunch of picky eaters and entitled prima donnas would never have been manageable for me.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This column really brings into very sharp focus for me a huge difference between young people today and those of several decades back. I don't know, I'm probably generalizing, and probably even wrong, but I doubt the percentage of people with genuine food issues, like celiacs, etc., has increased that much. But what has clearly increased is the percentage of people that adopt whatever food trend is currently in vogue. I remember a time when cooking for college kids meant one thing - did you make enough.

And you cooked for the group. If individuals didn't like this, or wouldn't eat that, or decided some other common ingredient was "poison" or "immoral" or "whatever," they were free to ignore it and move on. If they felt like nothing on offer was ever suitable for their consumption, and that they were somehow entitled to have everyone cater to their whims, they'd be left to their own devices.

Boy have times changed. Now everyone has demands and feels perfectly entitled in insisting upon them and getting upset and insulted when others don't see the brilliance and moral superiority of their culinary choices. And anyone that foolishly offers to help fulfill those choices soon finds themselves in the same thankless position as a short-order cook.

I'm really really happy that's not me. As I've said elsewhere, for at least twenty years, I routinely cooked for groups from 20-90 on a more-than-weekly basis. Naturally, I always made sure to have something for anyone that I knew had some sort of legitimate food issue, like an allergy, or religious dietary restrictions (see my thread about entertaining Iranian fighter pilots).

But catering to a bunch of picky eaters and entitled prima donnas would never have been manageable for me.

Amen, Sister!

FWIW, here is a recipe from the classic "Diet for a Small Planet" that has pleased even carnivores for decades, a casserole of brown rice, black beans, green chiles, ricotta, jack cheese, etc.. Wish I had some now... :wub:

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This column really brings into very sharp focus for me a huge difference between young people today and those of several decades back. I don't know, I'm probably generalizing, and probably even wrong, but I doubt the percentage of people with genuine food issues, like celiacs, etc., has increased that much. But what has clearly increased is the percentage of people that adopt whatever food trend is currently in vogue. I remember a time when cooking for college kids meant one thing - did you make enough.

And you cooked for the group. If individuals didn't like this, or wouldn't eat that, or decided some other common ingredient was "poison" or "immoral" or "whatever," they were free to ignore it and move on. If they felt like nothing on offer was ever suitable for their consumption, and that they were somehow entitled to have everyone cater to their whims, they'd be left to their own devices.

Boy have times changed. Now everyone has demands and feels perfectly entitled in insisting upon them and getting upset and insulted when others don't see the brilliance and moral superiority of their culinary choices. And anyone that foolishly offers to help fulfill those choices soon finds themselves in the same thankless position as a short-order cook.

I'm really really happy that's not me. As I've said elsewhere, for at least twenty years, I routinely cooked for groups from 20-90 on a more-than-weekly basis. Naturally, I always made sure to have something for anyone that I knew had some sort of legitimate food issue, like an allergy, or religious dietary restrictions (see my thread about entertaining Iranian fighter pilots).

But catering to a bunch of picky eaters and entitled prima donnas would never have been manageable for me.

Amen, Sister!

FWIW, here is a recipe from the classic "Diet for a Small Planet" that has pleased even carnivores for decades, a casserole of brown rice, black beans, green chiles, ricotta, jack cheese, etc.. Wish I had some now... :wub:

That looks really good. And very similar to a dish I often make.

But you do realize, of course, that all of the various 'No Dairy' factions wouldn't touch it.

:cool:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its not just the youth who have demanding/irrational food issues. Anyone <60 is at risk to have a crazy belief about what they can eat.

I think most of it stems from bad education, especially in science. People do not know how to decide what is true, so any crackpot claim from the shameful Dr. Oz is taken as worthwhile and any blogger is believable.

The level of ignorance is staggering. I know otherwise educated people who have celiac dz and avoid anything with glutamate in it on the grounds of it being a gluten! The only similarity of course is in spelling, not chemistry or structure.

I could go on forever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping the OP has some success with his venture, but I do have to agree with Jaymes who encapsulated my thoughts far more diplomatically than I would have.

The idea of cooking to be able to accomodate everyone strikes a natural chord in me, because I do like to see people happy, especially through food. However, the circumstances present in the OP's situation seem to be daunting, in fact, almost insurmountable.

A less charitable person might even say "painful". :shock:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping the OP has some success with his venture, but I do have to agree with Jaymes who encapsulated my thoughts far more diplomatically than I would have.

The idea of cooking to be able to accomodate everyone strikes a natural chord in me, because I do like to see people happy, especially through food. However, the circumstances present in the OP's situation seem to be daunting, in fact, almost insurmountable.

A less charitable person might even say "painful". :shock:

Agreed!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . .

FWIW, here is a recipe from the classic "Diet for a Small Planet" that has pleased even carnivores for decades, a casserole of brown rice, black beans, green chiles, ricotta, jack cheese, etc.. Wish I had some now... :wub:

That looks really good. And very similar to a dish I often make.

But you do realize, of course, that all of the various 'No Dairy' factions wouldn't touch it.

:cool:

No reason the dairy items couldn't be served on the side; it kind of makes sense anyway, and besides, people usually enjoy doing a little low-end customizing of their food. Not to mention, on a table with not much on it, dishes of cheese and so on fill up a bit of the empty real estate.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. A nice big bubbling hot casserole made with brown rice, black beans and green chiles...

And beside it a big lump of ricotta.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. A nice big bubbling hot casserole made with brown rice, black beans and green chiles...

And beside it a big lump of ricotta.

I know, but it would sidestep/solve potential problems (and unless US ricotta is a different substance then the one I know, it isn't generally a lump..?).

And to be clear, I agree with the premise that if you're eating as part of a group, you partake of (or not) the things on the table; it's about the group and its needs, which trump individual needs. And I'm saying this as someone who has a couple of food sensitivities (not allergies, but they're real, unfortunately: they visibly attack my joints and mucous membranes, visibly and within minutes), and has some distinct and visceral dislikes. But if I'm eating with a group, I shut up about these things, and deal, quietly. If there's nothing I can actually eat, well, too goddamn bad; if I have to eat something to be polite, I can usually manage to keep it down. I can't say I've ever felt marginalized by this sort of situation.

On the other hand, none of this is going to help jrshaul come up with fabu solutions for meals at USD0.50/head, so... :wink:

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. A nice big bubbling hot casserole made with brown rice, black beans and green chiles...

And beside it a big lump of ricotta.

I know, but it would sidestep/solve potential problems (and unless US ricotta is a different substance then the one I know, it isn't generally a lump..?).

And to be clear, I agree with the premise that if you're eating as part of a group, you partake of (or not) the things on the table; it's about the group and its needs, which trump individual needs. And I'm saying this as someone who has a couple of food sensitivities (not allergies, but they're real, unfortunately: they visibly attack my joints and mucous membranes, visibly and within minutes), and has some distinct and visceral dislikes. But if I'm eating with a group, I keep these things to myself, and deal, quietly.

I am well aware there are folks that deal daily with real food issues with differing degrees of severity. As we discussed here on eG a while back, we had a devil of a time with my 18-mo-old grandbaby and gluten. And my son's very best friend is of Chinese heritage and his whole family is severely lactose intolerant. I cooked for my elderly parents who were on highly salt-restrictive diets. And God knows I've hopped upon my share of dietetic bandwagons through the years.

But reading jrshaul's long list of individual requirements really gave me pause, as I said. And I couldn't help but think back to my days cooking for college kids, and how different it seems to be now.

(As for US Ricotta - what I'm familiar with comes in a form much like cottage cheese and to serve it on the side would definitely require spooning it out into a bowl or plate where indeed it would much resemble what I'd call a 'lump.')

But you're right about one thing. This isn't helping poor jrshaul.

Whom I do not envy.

Jrshaul: I really admire your clear efforts to try to make something tasty, instead of just going for the easiest way out. Be sure to check back with us in a few months. I, for one, am very eager to hear how your adventure goes.

And I wish you luck.

I think you're going to need it.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to be clear, I agree with the premise that if you're eating as part of a group, you partake of (or not) the things on the table; it's about the group and its needs, which trump individual needs...

Hear, hear, for what you're saying, also Jaymes and others. Where does this attitude come from that Jrshaul has to cook a meal for 26 people, and also act as the de facto personal chef for a few others with different food requirements? One of my friends used to lead and cater backpacking trips. She tried to accommodate people as necessary, but she made clear that people with detailed or unusual food needs should bring their own food. That stopped a lot of the baloney, right there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...