Thursday, January 07, 2010

Food Wednesday ...

The pity party edition - posted a day late.

New Year - New Food - New Recipes - YAY!

New Year - trying to cook more simply (professionally). 
New Year - hoping volunteers will step up to the plate. 

So far I am at a major fail with the last two items. And severely discouraged.

Tonight's menu is "Lazy Chile Rellenos", Spanish Rice, Posole, and Pudding. Or casserole, casserole, soup, dessert.

Except - I roasted and peeled the chiles myself. Which just about negates every aspect of "Lazy" from the Chile Rellenos recipe. It was about an hour long process - that also caused the smoke detector to once again blare it's head off. I got irritated and removed it from the wall and took out the battery. At the end of the night when I replaced the battery, I bent one of the contacts. :|

Then I spent an hour dicing about 5 lbs of onions. I have another 5 lbs that DIDN'T get diced. So - I'll dice them today. *le sigh* 

I heard that one of my best volunteers is out sick with pneumonia like symptoms - which "inspired" me to get as much pre-cooked as possible last night. I am scared to death I am only going to have two volunteers today. 

One is next to useless - AND VERY, VERY, slow. Like sap extruding from a maple tree slow. And also annoying - and slow. And less than five feet tall and weak (in skills and strength) and slow and VERY, VERY ANNOYING. The last time she "helped" me I pointed a knife at her and told her to get away. :\ (Great show of Christian love, eh?)

The second, my friend Beth, is a GREAT help. But just one person can only do so much, ya know?

So - I wanted to get the Chile Rellenos and the Spanish rice done last night. Plus brown the meat for the posole, and get the pudding made. Along with onions chopped for the posole.

At 9:30 pm (starting cooking at 3pm) I had the red chile paste done for the posole (which I didn't use because I added abrol chili powder when I browned the meat, so great - another 30 minutes wasted). I had the rice and rellenos done. But not the onions chopped for the posole, hot-chocolate pudding made, or meat browned. I gave up at 10pm and started cleaning. I left at 11pm. So much for NOT working more than 15 hours a week. I already had 3 hours in with shopping on Monday.

I also froze my ASS off. Seems as though the heating cooling zone for the kitchen is cut off at 2pm. By 7pm it was so cold in the kitchen (it was 36 degrees yesterday) I was having to put my hands under hot running water every 20 minutes or so to keep them functioning. Thankfully someone came into the kitchen - AND - they knew about the zone thing - where the master control is and how to override it. I shudder to think how little would have been completed had that intervention not happened.

In 40 minutes I am going in to start making the pudding FROM SCRATCH. (because I am insane). No really - we had some stuff to use up (I opened 125 packages of instant hot chocolate yesterday. 12 cups it totaled) - and making pudding was the best idea. Which means it can't be instant pudding. And cooking in HUGE (think 4-6 gallon) stock pots is time consuming and SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. So I need to get this done and chilling so it will be set up for dinner tonight. 

I keep telling myself I was SMART to not make the pudding last night - because I didn't have refrigerator room for it ... but I am just feeling a whole lot of pressure instead. Which means I, and my ice-cold feet that didn't warm up until about 4am, didn't sleep well.  In my I-should-be-sleeping-mind I came up with at least 4 different ways to tackle the pudding and the posole. So essentially I froze and cooked all last night. 

But I think the two most discouraging things are that I have failed on the Quick/Easy menu front and I have no volunteers. I went to the staff meeting yesterday to report on the Food Ministry plan progress. I talked about the lack of volunteers on Tuesday and how I am there every week from 3pm - 9pm cooking. The Sr. Minister said, "You are cooking on TUESDAYS? That much?" I just stared at him. "I guess you've mentioned this before, but this is the first time I've really HEARD you."

Someone told me I should be encouraged that he DID hear. I am DISCOURAGED - because he hasn't heard the last THREE TIMES I've talked about this - and no volunteers and YIKES!

I also don't know how to do "Quick/Easy" with fresh produce/meat that isn't pre-cooked/pre-mixed as exhibited by the hour long roast/peel chiles. (In all fairness - I had about 40 to do ... which was about 40 short of what I needed - so I totally modified the recipe.)

So - now off to go make pudding. And posole. And dice avocados, limes, and cilantro for posole garnishes. And cut cucumbers, bell peppers, and lettuce, and red onions, and the 101 other things that take up so much time for the salad bar. I also am worried I won't have a clean up crew tonight. Doing dishes for 150 - what fun. :(

I leave you with this recipe for "Not-so-dirty Rice". I'd tell you I'm going to make it for a Wednesday night dinner - but I'm afraid it would be "not-so-quick" ... *sigh*

Edit to add:

The hot-chocolate pudding tasted great! But it never set up. I should have put it in the oven about 10 minutes before serving and just served it warm. 

The posole was a total win! Silly southerners. I knew they couldn't resist hominy & pork.

My change to the Chile Relleno casserole also worked. Yay for corn tortillas!



Anonymous said...

At least good things come from bad situations !

I have a sweet potato casserold that would work for your group cooking ! Bake the sweet potatoes, scoop out interior; mix up egg/milk
mixture, pour into potato mixture and bake ! If you're interested, give me a shout. tp

Anonymous said...

Gadzooks!! Next time you need help, let me know. I'm (still) out of work, and I'm always available to hlep out if you need me!!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful friend to offer help when most needed ! tp