Prep for Thanksgiving

3 Weeks into the Antarctic summer and right now everyday is nearly the same. Okay so maybe I throw a few new dishes on the line, or maybe I show a few new boxing moves. But, realistically, I wake up at 8, transfer music to my mp3 player, have a cup of coffee, walk into work and stretch, spend 11 hours on my feet playing with knives, walk out of the kitchen dazed at the bright sunlight at 8 PM wondering where the heck the day has gone. Within 10 minutes I get changed and dart to the gym to teach boxing until 10:00. When I get done with that I either hike to the ice or do this... blog, facebook, email, all that e-stuff.

Thanksgiving is somewhere around the corner, maybe tomorrow? No one really knows down here. For the last couple days I've heard people ask is Thanksgiving day they celebreate it in America or is Thanksgiving the day here, or maybe China's Thanksgiving day... wait, does China even celebrate Thanksgiving? Earlier today I got into a deep talk about whether or not it's Nov. 25,26, or 27. I kept saying Nov. 27, he was sure it was the 25th, whatever man, let's call it even on the 26th. ANother guy at boxing class said he's totally lost track of time and missed several important meetings today. Sous Chef Lindar told me to cook up a few extra dishes tomorrow, the vegan and vegetarian entrees, stuffed portabellas and a wild mushroom quiche/tart, respectively. So, I guess the turkey holiday is tomorrow. I don't really care, every day is worthy of giving thanks in my opinion. Be thankful. Especially, for what the Earth has given you.

Good ol' fashioned McMurdo Rue.

So, my plan of attack for these shrooms and quiche is as follows.

For the portabellas, de-stem and brush with oil/bals. vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 min. and blast chill, hide away for tomorrow morning. The portabella stuffing includes: seasoned quinoa, pine nuts, raisins, granny smith apples, scallions, red peppers, basil, and parsley. I sauteed off all the goods in a pure olive oil seasoned with ginger and garlic. Tomorrow all I have to do is load the boomers and flash roast them until about 150 F. Chef Lindar mentioned that something new we could do this year is create a bedding for the shrooms to sit on. I pondered it on the tredmil. Solution, add the leftover chopped roma tomatoes, herbs, onions, and maybe some nuts to the base of the pan and but the boomers ontop. If it wasn't vegan I'd but some mozo in the bed. I'm not there yet, when I'm there I'll know what to do depending on the resources at hand.

For the wild mushroom, tempeh, spinach and gruyere tart I told Patrick to produce 15 savory pie crusts. I then chopped up some shitake, portabella, and random interesting looking mushrooms. I asked a few of the DAs to dice up bell peppers, scallions, onions, deseeded tomatoes and shred a bunch of that g cheese. We seasoned the veggie with some Italian spice and salt n' pepper. Meanwhile I made an egg n' heavy cream filling with a bunch of fresh herbs, like parsley and dill. The filling will hold everythign together. I put the veggie goods on 6 sheet pans with a splash of oil and roasted them. Out of the freezer I grabbed a few lb. blocks of spinach and put into a hot tilt skillet. Oh ya, the tempeh, forgot. I grabbed a few frozen chunks of tempeh and put them into the tilt skillet with the spinach. Let the two tango for a bit and season with a simple tomato sauce, chill, and put aside. Did I mention carmelized onions? Well, you need those too. Tomorrow all I have to do is load the crusts with the veggies and tempeh/spinach blend. Pour the egg mix overtop. Top with some carmelized onions and scallions. Bake at 250 F for about 45-60 min.

You see, this all I think about. Food is my challenge at this joint, and I win at it as long as I have the right music playing ;) Chopping bell peppers

Lime juice

Sugary goodness for candied apples

This guy is a baker. I don't know half the names in the kitchen, half the kitchen doesn't know my name, it's all good dude. Anyways, this baker dude is always smiling and cooking delicious sweet treats. Next to him I was browning some pineapple chunks in the skillet. Yesterday, aside to the turkey day prep, I had to make 'citrus lentils and rice'. Again. They hate this chef, you know that, plus we did it just last week. I reached deep inside my gut and remembered the mango sticky rice. Pineapple sticky rice and red lentils went off like a light bulb, with some heavy coconut cream, shredding coconut, and toasted silvered almonds. They liked it.

The rice... it's actually jasmine, but hey what else can I use? That's all we got. Coconut cream, basil, chinese 5 spices, brown sugar, white wine, it's all good.

The two others brothers of my PM Cooking Cartel. We run this food city.

Dude, still smiling.

All our veggies for t-day. Twice that amount has already been into platters and prepped for tomorrow.

The fruits.

The cheeses. $1,000s of dollars worth, mostly from New Zealand.

Veg. platters.

Here's my cut station for the stuffed portabella mushrooms.

The stuffing. Sweet and tangy. Create in a semi-salty, buttery mushroom.

How many tasting spoons can fit into the smallest cup on station.

Nick the Baker doing the candy twist.

Cluster... f.

Green bean casserole for tomorrow.

More platters.

Oh geeze.

Today was stir fry day. Raul's first day running the flat top.

Our t-day menu for Nov. 28, Saturday
I have fun cooking tofu different every time it comes up on the menu.

The final product. For my second batch I made it a little more saucey. Both styles were good. Goal = after 2 hours in the hot box not have the crispy tofu get soggy from the sauce.

When I left he was still smiling and making rice crispy treats.

In fact, he had two girls help him mash the crispys into the marsh mix and they were all cracking up and smiling.