In the previous post, I shared some of my experience cooking for 40+ acrobats. Though the menu board in the dining room listed details of only our lunches and dinners, the breakfasts were also documentation-worthy. Part of what made them legendary (at least in my mind) was the bread.
Let me set the scene: The four of us cooks would stumble into the kitchen by 6:15 a.m. to set up a breakfast rotation of housemade chai and granola, a hash with whatever grass-fed meat the monkeys (aka acrobats) hadn’t gobbled up the night before, potato hashbrowns, oatmeal, and/or kitcheree. Coffee, hot water for tea, and hot chocolate, too.
One mainstay of these breakfasts was Chef Josh‘s overnight bread, which is an easy and delicious project for cooks at any level. As the name suggests, you start this bread the night before. Instead of the usual routine of letting the bread dough rise for about an hour a couple of times before baking, this one rises slowly over six or eight hours. (If you’re interested in the technical why and wherefore, the key is the high volume of salt. It slows the yeast’s activity).
Here’s a recipe for the bread, scaled down to make one large or two small loaves (recipe after the jump). Continue reading
I just spent two weeks cooking real food 14 hours a day for 40 acrobats.
You may ask: What do you mean by real food? Or perhaps Who are these acrobats?
The answers are: 1) Food from scratch, with locally sourced produce, dairy, and meat, and nary a processed ingredient in the pantry (thus the long hours); and 2) The participants and teachers of the Acro Revolution Teacher Training in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The four-person kitchen crew had only met by Facebook prior to our arrival. I came in wondering about a number of variables, including how we would all get along and how my overseeing the vegetarian and vegan offerings would work with the meat dishes.
I didn’t have to worry. Helmed by Chef Josh (second from right), the group gelled quicker than the cream atop our unhomogenized local milk.
The cooks of the Acro Revolution Teacher Training were (from left) Rich, Nina, Josh, and your intrepid author.
We developed a flow, and laughed hysterically at the in-jokes that popped up along the way. Oh, we sure did.
Zucchini by Rhea
Today, 5 percent of all grocery bills at Whole Foods in Silver Spring will go toward empowerment. That is because those dimes and dollars will support the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Shared Use Community Kitchen.
Not all 85 subscribers to this blog live in the D.C./Maryland area, so I won’t go into detail about the 5 percent day (though if you are in the area, you should go!) Instead, I’ll tell you about this kitchen. According to the project site:
For the past three years, a group of dedicated individuals have been working hard to renovate and reopen the commercial kitchen located in the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.
Once completed, the kitchen will be available as:
1. an incubator for entrepreneurs to start small food-based businesses,
2. a classroom for teens, seniors, and anyone to learn about healthy eating, and
3. a production space where donated food can be prepared to be sent to local food banks and homeless shelters.
I’m proud to be a part of this kitchen as a board member of the Crossroads Community Food Network, one of the partners in launching the new space. Crossroads is all about food access and empowerment — empowerment to eat healthier food (through the Crossroads Farmers Market and Healthy Eating Program), to earn a living wage from preparing food (the Community Kitchen and Microenterprise Program), and to embrace the cultural foods of your own community and others’ (all of the above).
I look forward to the funds and attention this day can bring, and appreciate the community contributions and support we receive. By reading this post, you’re already part of the empowerment. So thank you!
Is she checking her watch?? Photo by geralt on Pixabay
When I learned that Jeff Bridges released a book on Zen and mindfulness last year, I didn’t exactly fall off my meditation pillow (as the NY Times review explained, the book was what you’d expect). The actor who played the unemployed, roach-smoking Dude in the ’90s cult hit The Big Lebowski makes the perfect guru for the chill life.
But high-octane achievers like Russell Simmons and Arianna Huffington? Their books made me stand up and take notice.
I know–I’m confused about why they came out with these books, too. Let’s poke at this.
Photo: Paul Reynolds
As a writer and college instructor, I can easily sink into my own world. Yet this past week, I’ve had the chance to see that world from the other side.
The writing sphere usually involves lightly stalking my subjects, asking questions, rejoicing when they respond, then writing and revising. Rinse and repeat.
For teaching, the routine is mostly to come up with activities and explorations that hopefully lead to learning and/or thinking. Rinse. Repeat. The rest of the time I make up assignments and criteria, hope students follow said criteria, and then check assignments and find that they sometimes do and sometimes don’t follow it. The success of that last item determines whether my hair remains intact or not.
So my trip to the point-of-view equivalent of Australia started last week when I discovered a student has quoted me in an article about farmers markets. I loved the experience of sitting in the interviewee chair, and then seeing what the interviewer chose to use. It’s like one of those lolcats suddenly faced with her own reflection.
Zowee! I can haz perspective? Continue reading
Calling all business owners and good food lovers: Now’s the time to sponsor a D.C.-area family trying to put more healthy, local food on the table. Sign on by this week to get your name and logo on farmers market materials all over Montgomery and Prince Georges counties.
Details below (cross posted from the Crossroads Community Food Network)
On June 4, Crossroads Farmers Market will open for our 8th season in our new, more visible, location. You can find us on Anne St. University Blvd. in Takoma Park, and we’re thrilled to welcome back all of our customers and vendors, along with some exciting new vendors.
For us to carry our success to our new location, we need not only our customers and our vendors – we also need your help. Over the past seven seasons, thanks to the support of our community, we’ve distributed over $240,000 in Fresh Checks, all of which have gone directly to low-income families to spend with local farmers.
Help us continue to offer Fresh Checks again this season. Go to crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork.org and click the “donate” button. Please consider signing up to make a monthly recurring donation. Just $20 per month over the course of a year will match farmers market SNAP (food stamp) purchases for one family for the entire 25-week Crossroads Farmers Market season.
The money you give will match funds spent with federal benefits so that low-income people in our community can have access to healthy, fresh, local produce. Our goal for the 2014 market season is to provide $50,000 in Fresh Checks to our low-income customers. So far, we’ve raised $38,000—over 75%—through foundations and local government. Now, we are calling on our community to help us raise the final $12,000.
Your donations allow us to continue building a vibrant and inclusive local food system in the Takoma Langley Crossroads and beyond. We’re grateful for your support!
With my office smelling like wet soil and a motley crew of plants and planters straggling across my desk, I’m in a good place to celebrate Earth Day. It doesn’t hurt that the plants came from a campus clean-up project that one of my classes planned last week, and the egg carton planters came into being thanks to another class activity yesterday. I’ll spend another few minutes with these signs of spring, then head to a board meeting for the Crossroads Community Food Network. We’ll be talking about that organization’s fragrant, colorful farmers market, which opens in just six weeks.
I hope you’re celebrating where you want to be this Earth Day, or that you’re on the way.