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Morning Bread

Morning breadIn 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

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Cooking for acrobats

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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.

Acro Revolution kitchen crew

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.

Continue reading

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Filed under Blog, Healthy eating, Local food