Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cooks' Debriefing (Meal #1)

Over our first dinner, we discussed how the day had gone and what plans we might make for the future. I'm sure I don't remember all of that conversation—and I probably remember some of it wrong!—but here's my distillation. If you have something to add or correct, please let me know.
  • The 2:00 meeting time worked well. It wasn't too early, but we had plenty of time to do all the preparation, relax and chat while the curry cooked, and still have dinner at a reasonable hour for a "school" night. Since the shelter folks wouldn't be eating our meal until the following evening, it didn't need to be delivered by a particular time, which gave us flexibility. We'll continue with this plan of cooking Sunday for Monday consumption.
  • Given the available stovetop space in a home kitchen, we agreed that it makes sense to prepare main dishes that cook mostly in the oven. We came up with several possible menu ideas, including pastel de choclo (Chilean corn and chicken casserole), lasagna, enchilada casserole, paella, chili and other stews. For December: Sandy Cate's vegetable chili!
  • Also because of limited kitchen space, we agreed that preparing baked goods separately makes the best sense. Sara Miller made and brought wonderful rolls and has expressed an interest in more bread-baking (hooray!). We also talked about cupcakes, which could be baked in advance and then decorated by the group. And I'm probably forgetting other ideas here...
  • This meal ended up being relatively inexpensive ($120 + the cost of the rolls + yogurt + persimmon cake + foil containers). I collected money from everyone who wanted to chip in (plus a couple of people who didn't attend sent contributions—thank you!), and we'll use that kitty to fund next month's groceries. Trader Joe's proved to be an inexpensive source for most of the ingredients; Costco and Lucky's also provided a few items each. The Berkeley Bowl was suggested as another option.

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