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Cooking for 50 Senior Citizens


CaliPoutine
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I cook tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. I normally only cook every other Thursday, but I'm filling in this week. Tuesday's meal is in my town and Wednesday's is in another town about 12 miles away.

I bought these porchetta roasts awhile ago and froze them. They were 1.99 each. Little did I know what they would look like when unwrapped. I'm kinda freaking out here, I hope I didnt screw up.

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When I unwrapped them, I decided to remove the strings and lo and behold I see that these "roasts" are wrapped in a large sheet of fat. Since I'm cooking these in the crock pot, I didnt think the fat would be necessary. Please someone tell me I didnt screw this up. I started them around 10am on HIGH in numerous crock pots. I made a homeade BBQ sauce ( ketchup, onion, cider vinegar, water, worsteshire and garlic). Actually, I stopped adding garlic when I saw how heavily spiced these roasts were.

I'm going back to the office at 3:30 to check on them. I really hope they're done by then.

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This is what they look like when unrolled and in sauce. This is a large slow cooker so I put about 5 of them in here. I have 3 other crock pots going with 2 each. I hope this will be enough for 45 ppl. I bought some whole wheat rolls too. I'm hoping they will eat them as a pulled pork sandwich. I also bought ready made potato salad( Resers brand) and 40 ears of corn on the cob. I'm thinking some of the ladies might only eat half an ear. I also bought fresh Ontario tomatoes and mozzarella cheese( Both on sale). I'm going to make a bastardized caprese salad). I know it doesnt really go with the pulled pork meal, but I got great deals.

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Please someone tell me I didnt mess up by removing the fat.

eta: to correct the time I started the roasts

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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It looks like those are pork shoulder roasts--is that correct? If so, they should be fine braised. I always use shoulder for braising, but usually I cut it into chunks. Do you know what they were spiced with? Were they stuffed? I hope you saved the skins to make cracklings.

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It looks like those are pork shoulder roasts--is that correct? If so, they should be fine braised. I always use shoulder for braising, but usually I cut it into chunks. Do you know what they were spiced with? Were they stuffed? I hope you saved the skins to make cracklings.

They are shoulder and when I unrolled them, they were really thin. They had lots of spice on them. Garlic, pepper, paprika, chili powder. They werent stuffed and No, I threw the fat out. I was actually pretty grossed out by it and I wouldnt serve it to the Seniors and I try to stay away from excess fat.

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This is a large slow cooker so I put about 5 of them in here.  I have 3 other crock pots going with 2 each.  I hope this will be enough for 45 ppl. 

Hey Cali!

We served pulled pork sandwiches a few weeks ago at the Community Meal. For 100 ppl, I had: 26 kg (58 lbs) of pork shoulder, 10 doz. buns, 15 lbs coleslaw mix (pre-shredded), 12 heads of romaine. We used about 1.5L of sauce (7 1/2 cups). I find we use less sauce/condiments when it is served or pre-portioned, than we use if each guest takes their own. Dessert was a (technically disastrous) chocolate zucchini cake.

By my calculations, you have 11 roasts. Each is 1.2 kg, so about 13 kg of meat before cooking. This should yield about 50-60 generous servings according to the Food Guide, taking into account the 0.2 kg of fat that was wrapped around the roast, and assuming 25% shrinkage during the braise. Heck, you may even have enough for take-out.

Good on you for removing the fat layer. If you were doing a slow oven roast, you would have wanted to leave the fat on.

For the corn, I would break each ear in half, especially since your guests are seniors, and might want to use a knife to cut the corn off the cob.

Karen Dar Woon

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Holy God, this was a lot of work. Even with 2 volunteers helping me, we worked non-stop from 9am until 12 noon.

I made tomato basil salad. Of course I'd love to use fresh mozzarella, but we don't have it here and even if we did, it would be way too expensive. I got bars of black Diamond Mozzarella for 3.99. I think they're about 400 gram packages.

I made a quick dressing with Evoo, red wine vinegar( I was going to use Balsamic, but there wasnt any) and dried oregano, S + P. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe as well. I scattered some fresh basil over top. I had one gentleman ask me about the dressing( he liked it).

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potato salad( do you like the paprika on top? I tried to make it look a little less store-bought)

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corn. I used 30 ears and I served 38ppl. I had about 10 ears leftover.

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I pulled all the pork first thing this morning and reheated in a low oven. I think this might have been too spicy for most of the seniors. I only had 1 takeout meal and I usually have a lot more than that.

I have more pork cooking in crock pots for tomorrow. I didnt use any chili powder in the sauce this time because of all the spice already on the pork. I had a lot of pork leftover.

Btw, I had one of the volunteers put a roll on each persons plate and I asked her to let them know that the buns were for the pulled pork. Hardly anyone listened as I saw lots of people buttering their rolls and eating them.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Peach tarts. These were purchased tart shells( No Name brand for the Canadians) and Fresh Ontario peaches with sugar, lemon juice, corn starch and vanilla. The Streusel is flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.

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Plated with PC Butter Tart Ice Cream.

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Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Tarts look yummy! I'm thinking of blueberry for a Community Meal soon.

Funny how what you and I might *think* are easy meals turn out otherwise.

Like our menu on Thursday:

Asian Chicken Coleslaw

Tossed Salad w/ herb vinagrette

Southwest Corn Salad

Pasta Salad w/ Sundried Tomato Pesto

Fresh Grapes & Melon for dessert

Fresh rolls, donated by the neighborhood bakery

Ice Tea, Coffee, Hot Tea

total bill was about $265. We served 90 ppl with lots left for take away. Last 4 weeks we have had 100-110.

the cleanup took FORever, most likely due to the number of large pans & bowls because of the salads. I totally thought it would be easy to clean up because there were no pots to scrub. HA!

Each rack of the D/W only takes one bus pan or full size insert. Each salad was AT LEAST two bus pans plus a large bowl.

The lettuce for the salad was donated by a community garden. The people who harvest (bless their hearts!) pull the lettuce up, including roots. At least they try and shake off the soil. But there is a lot of dirt. It usually takes one person 2 hours to wash the lettuce, then another 30 min to tear & spin dry. Today I had 4 volunteers for prep. The chicken was cooked the day before. Cabbage for the slaw was ordered pre-shredded from a food-service supplier; then we added some donated cabbage from the farm. Thank goodness I bought a food processor last month!

This work is really gratifying on a personal level, but hard on my body, and the pay is pretty low. On the other hand, people "in need" in this neighborhood are eating at least one great meal every week. So really, what more could I ask for? Some of the guests have asked for recipes. :-)

Edited by KarenDW (log)

Karen Dar Woon

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Tarts look yummy! I'm thinking of blueberry for a Community Meal soon.

Funny how what you and I might *think* are easy meals turn out otherwise.

Like our menu on Thursday:

Asian Chicken Coleslaw

Tossed Salad w/ herb vinagrette

Southwest Corn Salad

Pasta Salad w/ Sundried Tomato Pesto

Fresh Grapes & Melon for dessert

Fresh rolls, donated by the neighborhood bakery

Ice Tea, Coffee, Hot Tea

total bill was about $265. We served 90 ppl with lots left for take away. Last 4 weeks we have had 100-110.

the cleanup took FORever, most likely due to the number of large pans & bowls because of the salads. I totally thought it would be easy to clean up because there were no pots to scrub. HA!

Each rack of the D/W only takes one bus pan or full size insert. Each salad was AT LEAST two bus pans plus a large bowl.

The lettuce for the salad was donated by a community garden. The people who harvest (bless their hearts!) pull the lettuce up, including roots. At least they try and shake off the soil. But there is a lot of dirt. It usually takes one person 2 hours to wash the lettuce, then another 30 min to tear & spin dry. Today I had 4 volunteers for prep. The chicken was cooked the day before. Cabbage for the slaw was ordered pre-shredded from a food-service supplier; then we added some donated cabbage from the farm. Thank goodness I bought a food processor last month!

This work is really gratifying on a personal level, but hard on my body, and the pay is pretty low. On the other hand, people "in need" in this neighborhood are eating at least one great meal every week. So really, what more could I ask for? Some of the guests have asked for recipes. :-)

Karen,

Your meal sounds great. I'd love to see some pictures.

I wish the Seniors would be as adventurous as your guests. I cooked the above meal 3 days in a row. Last night I served it where I normally cook and I had a few complaints about the corn on the cob. We had to cut it off for a few people that couldnt eat it. I had a few people ask what pulled pork was and one woman refused to eat it.

The tomato basil salad was very popular. I really try to give them as many fresh fruits/veg as I can afford. Because the meat was so inexpensive, I was able to spend more on other items.

I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb. I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs. Each pack was a little over 2 bucks.

How do you suggest I prepare those?

The next meal I cook is Sept 27th( I'm missing the Sept 13th meal, we'll be in San Fran) and its our Thanksgiving meal. For those that don't know, Canadian Thanksgiving in the Second Monday in October so we're doing the meal before the actual Thanksgiving. For this meal, I get paid an extra 2 hours for the extra work.

The main office is currently deciding if we're going with boneless turkey rolls (3.70lb) or Utility turkeys(1.79lb). I'm really hoping its the former!!!

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Randi

I am guessing they wont be ready for BBQ chicken thighs right away. The other way I use them most often is browned and added to a seasoned rice blend to simmer together in the oven.

Which really means brown them in a dutch oven and pour on a box of Goya Mexican Rice 2 cups of Water and shove the pot in the oven for 30 min.

Something more Rice a Roni like or even Homemade would be good too and if you can cook the chicken and the rice together you can use less of the "seasoning" pack

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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The thighs take well to the slow cooker method like your pork above. Maybe Hungarian goualsh style with garlic, onion and paprika in the cooker, finished with sour cream to smooth out the taste, served over wide egg noodles.

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Karen,

Your meal sounds great.  I'd love to see some pictures. 

I'm really bad w/ photos... in 3 yrs of catering, have only had about 4 pics worth posting anywhere, and so don't even take my camera to work any more. Sort of embarassing, but I have no idea where it is, even. I think that what happens is I get caught up in the kitchen, and then don't have time to shoot any of the plates before they go out. :-(

Maybe next week?

Karen Dar Woon

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I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb.  I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs.  Each pack was a little over 2 bucks. 

How do you suggest I prepare those?

Would the Vietnamese chicken thighs work for you? Calls for bone in, but would work just fine with boneless.

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I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb.  I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs.  Each pack was a little over 2 bucks. 

How do you suggest I prepare those?

The chicken coleslaw was really easy. I cooked all my boneless chicken the day before at my other work: Baked in paper-lined, covered pans, about an hour @ 325. Slower is better. Cool. Coleslaw was pre-shredded, $4.25 for 5 lbs, with some green onion added. Dressing was basic vinegrette proportions, using cider & rice vinegars, canola oil, a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce, brown sugar and black pepper. Maybe you can use all cider vinegar and canola oil if rice vinegar and sesame oil are hard to find. Fresh ginger and garlic are nice to include, but dried will also work. Another friend of mine also adds a couple packages of those dried instant noodles (crushed), without the seasoning packet. I left out the noodles, because I have some celiac guests.

Karen Dar Woon

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I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb.  I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs.  Each pack was a little over 2 bucks. 

How do you suggest I prepare those?

Would the Vietnamese chicken thighs work for you? Calls for bone in, but would work just fine with boneless.

I'm not getting any email notifications that show new replies. Grrrrr....

Anyway, I think this might be a bit too "ethic" for The Seniors. They thought the pulled pork was strange.

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I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb.  I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs.  Each pack was a little over 2 bucks. 

How do you suggest I prepare those?

Would the Vietnamese chicken thighs work for you? Calls for bone in, but would work just fine with boneless.

I'm not getting any email notifications that show new replies. Grrrrr....

Anyway, I think this might be a bit too "ethic" for The Seniors. They thought the pulled pork was strange.

Yeah, everyone loves the taste but the name gets them. You could call it ginger chicken. Anyway sending you CI's Teriyaki chicken recipe that uses boned thighs, though that might be a bit ethnic too.

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I was in the grocery store the other day( for the 10th time this week) and the butcher was chasing me down asking me if I wanted boneless, skinless chicken thights for .99 a lb.  I bought 8 packages and each pack has 17 thighs.  Each pack was a little over 2 bucks. 

How do you suggest I prepare those?

Would the Vietnamese chicken thighs work for you? Calls for bone in, but would work just fine with boneless.

I'm not getting any email notifications that show new replies. Grrrrr....

Anyway, I think this might be a bit too "ethic" for The Seniors. They thought the pulled pork was strange.

Yeah, everyone loves the taste but the name gets them. You could call it ginger chicken. Anyway sending you CI's Teriyaki chicken recipe that uses boned thighs, though that might be a bit ethnic too.

I have that recipe and I was thinking of that, but I think you're right. It might be too ethnic. This is a population that thinks chicken balls are Chinese food.

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QUOTE(CaliPoutine @ Aug 25 2007, 06:55 AM)

I have that recipe and I was thinking of that, but I think you're right. It might be too ethnic. This is a population that thinks chicken balls are Chinese food.

*

Hi CaliPoutine, I've been reading your travails with much interest. Always wondering what I would do with whatever you've found on 'special'. Boy! it sure is tough to not be "too ethnic" in food. Especially if you want something good, eh?

What about something like this chicken hash?! I found this recipe at williams sonoma's site.

It is basically just a hash of cooked chicken, cooked onions, mashed potatoes and spices and parsley. Sounds tasty.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/reci...7B509A951732FFE

They mention that they don't have to be formed into patties, but if it's not too much work it might be nice for your situation. Of course I don't think you need to serve an egg but the biscuits they mention sound good : cheese & bacon flavored- (can you use cheese??? I have forgotten all your special rules). I would probably just make them cheese biscuits.

Good Luck

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Randi, my second restaurant featured something called Escalloped Chicken, which was very popular.

This consists of three layers: bread stuffing/dressing, pieces of stewed chicken, and a baked-on sauce of sort-of-bechamel and a lot of eggs (using the chicken broth). It is baked in pans and cut into squares. Your chicken thighs would be perfect.

We served the chicken with a cup of red pepper jelly, which complemented the fairly bland flavor. Some cranberry sauce might be a better choice for your guests.

I have a recipe calling for 8-10 pounds raw chicken, serving 40, and using Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (4 pkg.). If this sounds too similar to your Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to serve this another time.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Community Meal last night. For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how to use the case (a really BIG case) of tinned tuna we got from the local Food Bank. Some of my volunteers are not very dextrous, so I was concerned about all the can opening. Anyways, I planned a menu around the “tuna melt” sandwich. We also get donations for bread from a local bakery.

So, imagine my surprise when I arrived at work on Thursday afternoon and COULD NOT FIND the tuna! Quick switch of gears; tuna melts become Italian Cheese Bread with the help of a huge tin of tomato sauce, a big jar of Prego Italian sauce and dried basil. Which is all well and good until I open the box of “cheese” to discover that it is the powdered cheddar for sauces, not the soft kind. Oops. thank goodness for freezers! We had shredded 2 lbs of cheese left from another meal last month, so out it came.

Our menu last night (for 90 guests) was

Italian Cheese Bread

German Potato Salad (with a no-bacon option for vegetarians)

Corn on the Cob (with Becel)

Tossed Salad with buttermilk dill dressing

Swiss Chard Tart (recipe from my friends at Rare resto in Vancouver)

Apple or cherry strudels (from Quest, the food exchange)

Vanilla Ice Cream (generic; 72 scoops per 4L pail)

I plan for 120 servings every week, so there was a lot of take out. A couple of people asked where “the meat” was, but we told them it was in the potato salad (real bacon). I told a story about how the Tart recipe came from my friend who is a resto chef, and reminded people that it was not sweet. It was a hit.

Sorry no photos, I’m camera-impaired. Should have asked one of the kid-volunteers to use their camera-cell.

Karen Dar Woon

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just FYI for those of you cooking in quantity, The Best Make-Ahead Recipe (The Best Recipe)

by Cook's Illustrated Magazine has a section of stew and braise recipes with scaled-up quantities to serve 20.

Cheers, Jen

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