Friday, September 14, 2007

A break from the ordinary

Yesterday I took off from my day job (I'm a librarian; I'm an instructor at a library school, so I mostly work at a computer all day; the only slightly unordinary aspect of this is that I have my computer set up so that I can stand at it while I work instead of sitting) and went and ground up 30 pounds of tomatoes and other vegetables to make V8 juice Blue Hill, the creation of Chef Dan Barber.

We hope I made enough to yield 200 sample servings for the Food for Thought Festival tomorrow, where Dan is speaking.

The recipe says to puree the veggies and add a little sugar and vinegar, and let it marinade for a bit. Then add fresh herbs, blend again, and strain. I have 5 gallons of UN-strained mixture, and I can't imagine that it will reduce to less than 3-4 gallons, enough for 200 2 oz. samples, but of course I have been fretting about it, and waking up in the night recalculating the ounces.

I did the processing in the kitchen at RP's Pasta, Fork & Spoon Cafe. I asked for a spot by the vegetable washing sink, where I could work while the lunch rush was winding down. Being in a restaurant kitchen with all the young guys in itself was pretty intimidating, as a 50+ female, who's been out of restaurant work for a good 15 years, but I must've done OK, because the main line guy said come back any time.

I used a commercial Cuisinart like this at RP's - Peter's has the buttons in one row under the handle, but otherwise the same

I have to go back tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., add the herbs, and strain the stuff - I figure I'll throw in few extra tomatoes if it seems like I won't get enough V8 juice.

I also went and picked Kale in the backyard garden of the REAP executive director, to make another sample, the winning recipe contest recipe, Kale Chips (also to be made between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. tomorrow). It was idyllic - a sunny afternoon in the garden, chickens clucking in their coop. REAP's stated mission is "Nourishing the links between land and table"; the director's family is certainly walking the walk.

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