A McMurdo Kitchen Christmas 2009

After the earlier post I walked into work through the backdoor and saw the bakers baking.

On the PM side K was panning up the asapargus Leon roasted yesterday. I was an hour and half early, so I got down to business with my vegan dishes.

The AM crew was already jacked on cookies and coffee.

Here's the tofu battering station. In front, thawed, drained and chopped tofu. Then it's a thick soy milk mix laiden with fresh ginger juice, and in the back is finely ground Ginger Snap cookies. Soak the tofu in the milk for a half hour, then dredge in the cookie. Deep fry.

I asked David to keep on making cabbage rolls with the blanched cabbage leaves, spring onions, and the TVP and wild rice filling.

Outside Raul was rocking the flat top with hundreds of lbs. of duck.


Crazy Stevo was having too much fun with his potatoes, although there is no such thing as too much fun in this kitchen.

Cornell was playing with pepper, separating the red from the rest.

Once the PM crew came in the kitchen became packed with volunteers and both AM and PM and the DAs. I claimed a spot next to the steam and small fryer. Here's all the necessities for my vegan dishes. Rataouille, cabbage rolls, ginger crusted fried tofu, diced spring onion, whole lemon basil leaves, chopped cilantro, a pepperoconi and red onion and pepper veg. blend, a pickled ginger and pepperoconi aioli, and a basil vinaigrette. Everything is fresh except for the tofu and Ginger snap cookies. Everything is dairy free, 100% vegan. The veggies are most likely organic stemming from New Zealand, Phillipines, or Australia.

The cabbage rolls bound by blanched spring onion.

I had leftover soy milk from the batter station and made it thicker. Then I added a little nutmeg and more ginger juice. Soy nog ;) Almost tastes better than the real thing.

Homemade spicy chips, hummus, and some other dip.

Fresh asparagus.

New Zealand yams.

Squash and pomegranate.


Lobster. Some guys were taking bowls full of 5-6 tails, the Head Chef tried to stop the clients from doing so. I only had 3 today.

Truffle City.

Pecan pie.

Pumkin pie.


Sugar stuff.

Cold side munchies.

My plate.

The kitchen dinner table.


AM had the responsibility of roasting off all the veggies.

Many sauces.

Mom this is the best Santa pic you'll get from this year. Who needs a Santa when we're all Santas. Give me 60 years and I'll grow the white beard.

The tofu dish I engineered. It blew me away. It blew them away. I'll keep it at that. Here's my recipe:

Ginger Snap Crusted Tofu with Pickled Ginger and Perpperocini Aoili


Ginger Snap Cookies (Pre-packaged)
Fresh Ginger
Red Onions
Red Peppers
Spring Onions
Canned Sliced Yellow Banana Peppers or Pepperoconi if available
Sweetened Soy Milk Powder
Dried Seaweed
Olive Oil

For the tofu -

1. Ground the ginger snap cookies with a food processor.
2. Puree the fresh whole ginger in a food processor. Squeeze it into a mesh screen and extra the juice. Throw the pulp out, reserve the juice.
3. Make a rather thick soy milk with the powder and water, then add all the ginger juice.
4. Chop the thawed tofu. Soak in the soy milk for a half hour.
5. Dredge the tofu in small batches into the ground ginger snap cookies. Be sure to let as much of the soy milk drip out of the tofu before dredging, but at the same you want the cookie to stick.
6. Place in a lexan in layers on parchment paper. Do not stack the tofu as it will just stick together after awhile.

For the veg -

7. 1/4 red onions and place into a heavy pot and caramelize.
8. Small chop some red onion, red pepper, and spring onions. Mix.
9. Open a can of yellow sliced banana peppers and a container of pickled ginger, add some to the veg. mix. Keep it colorful, portions should be about the same.
10. Open a bag of dried black seaweed and set aside.

For the aioli -

11. Repeat another batch of the banana pepper/red onion/pepper/spring onion/pickled ginger veg. mix, but puree with a mixer and some oil, maybe a hint of balsamic vinegar if needed. Create the aioli.

For the assembly -

12. Deep fry the tofu. If the tofu has become really wet and the cookie breading is coming off, go ahead and dredge it into some more ground cookie crumbs. This deep fry takes about 4-5 minutes. It won't start to get crispy until two minutes after you pull it out of the oil, so don't rush it. Drop it back in if it's not crispy enough.
13. Put the fried tofu into a 2" hotel pan, then add a large handful of caramelized onions and plenty of the veg. mix to give it colour and flavor.
14. Mix the tofu and veggies.
15. Sprinkle some seaweed ontop.
16. Then pour plenty of aioli on so that everyone gets a taste of the goodness.
17. Add more spring onion, veg. mix, and/or seaweed for presentation.

Nick's banana bread line.

The hungry scientists and station crew.

My little veg. line :) 13 hours of Christmas and now it's all over, it went by so quick. But, hold on cowboy, Sous Chef Linda is gone tomorrow I'm in charge again. Leon is off too, and we have a somewhat complex dinner, 8 hours of sleep then it starts all over. Bring it on MacTown.

"To All Those That Were Involved In Making The Christmas Dinner…

You folks have really outdone yourselves.

I have had meals in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Madrid and beyond. I have eaten at the greasiest spoons to the grandest 5-star restaurants. I have eaten native foods in the jungles of Indonesia and the most extravagant multi-course feasts in the finest hotels on the planet.
But without a doubt, tonight’s gastronomical event was by far the one that I enjoyed the most of all.

Every single item was perfectly prepared and presented in such a way that I will always remember as one of the finest meals I have ever had.

I raise my glass to you all and thank you for a Christmas dinner that I won’t soon forget.

I wish a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of you and your families."

- M.D., Fleet Ops.