I am so tired and so satisfied with yesterday that if asked, I would do it all over again, here or in any city that needed the help.
The biggest highlight was the generosity of the people attending. Some brought entire bags filled with food, others gave generously with funds.
I have to give thanks to our great guests. Lucy Jane Bledsoe did reading from her new book The Big Bang Symphony, a riveting novel and one with a major character is a chef...in Antarctica. She was tremendous fun and brought dulce de leche, the caramel made in Argentina. We melted some chocolate into it and dipped berries. Later when I got a challenge of mincemeat and tomatilas I used the rest of the caramel and the above two challenge ingredients into a rice pudding, that was surprisingly tasty. Not a spoonful was left in the hall.
Alan May, a friend of mine for almost 3 decades and a brilliant artist was the one with the tomatillas. He stayed a good long time and we were able to make some nice vegetarian dishes including his favorite Penne with Pesto.
Earlier in the morning Amy Mac was there from Trader Joe's and we did a spaghetti carbonara using Trader Joe's seaweed. It was really good.
When Laurie R. King came by she did a short reading from her first Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russel novel The Beekeepers Apprentice and challenged with with Stilton, nectarines and honey. Did I make the obvious choice? No. I made a creamy stilton and nectarine sauce with honey and paired it with tortellini and pistachios. It was so good I would make it again.
I had great fun with Danny Bowein from Mission Chinese, he brought an easy challenge and a more difficult one. He makes a chili sauce at his restaurant that is unlike any I have ever had before, it contains (among other ingredients) fermented black beans, so it's spicy and savory and with the Sechaun peppercorns makes the tongue tingle. What could I do but braised pork belly with the bitter melon(the more difficult challenge)flavored with ginger, 5 spice and that amazing sauce.
He was so much fun. The Rev Dana stepped in and played interviewer for a few minutes drawing out some of his remarkable history.
Oh, my friends it was not over. We had audience challenges, David Lynch holding a wine tasting while the Rev. took over and got him talking, I stayed for part of that and took a short break. I sat down for a few minutes, heaven.
Melanie Vigh joined us, she is a chef with a fascinating history, half of her childhood in Hungary, a stint as a chef in Mexico and currently at Guerra Meats handling the deli and catering department.
She took over and I was happy to hand her the floor. She prepared the most delicious moist, sinful salmon, she gave it a short marinade, seared it, served it on a bed of cashew and grape rice with curry and topped it with mango salsa. I would say it was the best dish of the day. I just ate little bites throughout the day but if I could have kept the salmon from the crowd I would have made one of those filets mine.
Afterwards I made a mushroom risotto, the way I learned way back when in Venice and many other dishes throughout the day. A Food bank challenge to use rice and beans differently resulted in a beautiful congee, a sunflower seed lasagna..and more.
When the crowd thinned out later in the evening we had a few items still to share with the food bank from our generous donors. I got the Rev. River some opened items to use in his street ministry/food program and dropped others off and a local church that feeds a small crowd on Sunday.
A lot of people are going to be fed. When you share food, you share love. That my friends is what the world needs now.
I promised to finish up my food stamp budget log and I ask forgivness. I spend 14 hours shopping for the donated pantry items on Friday and Saturday was pretty busy as well, and I don't really remember what I ate on Friday, except a bagel at the church maybe 10 hours after breakfast.