Friday, July 29, 2011

Marinated Chef...I Mean Chicken

Here's a picture of Rose and me on our 4th day at girls camp.  Rose looks much happier and perkier than I do.  That's the way she is - all the time!

This is the day we served marinated chicken for dinner.  In the picture below, you can see masking tape around the top of the stockpot.  This is how we jerry-rigged our ginormous aluminum stockpot with a liner (the lining material will remain a secret, but I promise it was clean) so that the chicken wouldn't end up tasting like aluminum.

These two very fun ladies helped us divide the marinade and 210 chicken breasts into six tins - tins that seemed sturdy until they were filled to the brim with chicken and gallons of oily, worchestershirey, lemon juicy, soy saucy marinade.

This is the day that lots of stuff got marinated.  I might mess up some of the details, but you'll get the idea of how things played out.
  • When Rose removed the first hot and heavy tin from the top shelf of the oven (the height of her shoulders), she almost dropped the whole thing.  Her strength and determination to NOT let that thing fall were amazing!  But alas, some of the marinade did escape and spill onto the floor.
  • I couldn't stand the thought of pouring all of that leftover oily marinade down the garbage disposer-less sink, so we put the used marinade into Ziploc gallon bags (a.k.a. marinade balloons) and then threw them into the trash can.  
  • When the trash bag was lifted out of the garbage can, a fork poked a hole in the bag causing some of our marinade balloons to spill out and explode on the floor.  Once again we marinated the floor...and Rose's nice new tennis shoes.
  • Outside, more marinade balloons exploded (in the trash can) near the dumpster.  Rose sent for another large trash bag and poured the marinade from the trash can into the new trash bag.
  • Rose then heaved the trash bag into the already overflowing dumpster.  The bag got caught on something and you guessed it, the biggest marinade balloon ever exploded all over Rose.  Her favorite capris got marinated and her new tennis shoes got a second soaking.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Banana Pudding for a Crowd

We made 210 banana pudding cups at girls camp.  We had in our possession a great recipe - one that had already been tried and tested on teenagers so we knew the girls would love it.  We learned, however, that just because you can multiply a great family recipe by 27 doesn't mean that it's a good idea.  

Rule #1:  Make sure you have the proper equipment for making your recipe.

If we had had one of these (the Hobart mixer, not the kid),

maybe we could have avoided this messy lumpiness.

Trying to fold nine pounds of not-so-softened cream cheese into gallons of vanilla pudding (along with 27 cans of sweet and condensed milk and 27 16-ounce containers of Cool Whip) makes for good stories later, but it also makes for a very lumpy banana pudding.  Later you get comments like, "What were those interesting little chunks in the pudding?"

Rule #2:  Never buy green bananas thinking that they'll ripen in three days when you need them.

When we did our Costco run the morning of the first day of camp, every single banana at Costco was green like this:

I rarely buy green bananas.  But when I do, it seems like they always turn yellow and spotty way before I want them to.  We decided it was safe to go ahead and buy the bananas.  Well, our Costco bananas turned out to be a stubborn bunch.  They refused to ripen.  

We coaxed them and pleaded with them for a day.  When they didn't respond to our niceties, we had to resort to bananacide.  We stuffed them all into the only brown grocery bag we could find, with hopes that their ethylene gas fumes would hasten their metamorphosis into becoming the perfect bananas for banana pudding.  Our attempts were in vain.  

We ended up packing up those green bananas at the end of camp and taking them back home with us.  I think I actually heard muffled laughter coming from that brown grocery bag on the trip home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cooking for a Crowd

A friend, Rose, asked if I would help her with the meals at our church's young women camp.  Have you ever said 'yes' to something before you really knew what you were getting into?  Neither Rose nor I could have ever imagined what our lives would be like for several weeks.  Our task was to plan for, make purchases for, and eventually prepare 3 meals for 50 girls and leaders, 9 meals for 180-210 girls and leaders, and 3 late-night snacks for the larger numbers.  How hard could that be?  

I'm a visual person, but I couldn't even begin to imagine that amount of food and paper products - until we started buying all of it!  R and I bought as much of the food and supplies as we could ahead of time.  On the morning of the first day of camp, Julie (another volunteer) and I filled 4 (four!) flatbed carts at Costco - with ONLY the fresh produce!  It was crazy!  Oh, why didn't I take a picture of our fresh produce caravan!?!  I did get some pictures of Rose's dining room filled with some of our early purchases.

Over the next couple of days I'll be writing about the adventures of Rose and me.  It was an eye-opening, mind-boggling, foot-swelling, back-breaking, exhausting, rewarding experience.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two All-Beef Patties...

Check out this cool burger that Stefanie made.  It has zero calories.  That's the kind of burger I like!

Click here for more details.  She's already had several requests to sell a pattern for it at her etsy shop, so stay tuned.