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Monday, March 7, 2011

Battle Scars

I've cooked my butt off at work lately.  It's been really hard and very fun.  Hard fun.  The kind of fun you earn with battle scars.  I haven't cooked anything at home in quite some time.  Michael has literally brought home the bacon every night for us. He's been sweet and incredibly thoughtful about what we eat when I'm not cooking, catering to my picky whims and desires; pizza with black olives, onions, and green bell peppers; carryout boxes from Parkette Drive-In filled with fried chicken livers, crispy onion rings, and sweet cream pepper gravy; barbecued spare ribs, fried corn, and garden salads with blue cheese dressing.

This past weekend marked an annual Mardi Gras Fundraiser.  We cooked a lot of food for tons of people.  Months of planning, organizing, and menu preperation went into one glorious night of fun.  Battle scars.

Here's the rub. Was it possible to make food on that scale look good and taste great?  I thought so.  I knew so. 15 gallons of creole sauce for pulled beef creole looked like crap when poured into buckets, but with proper garnishment and carefull placement on a buffet table, it was a thing of beauty. Attention to detail.  It takes mental toughness to remember the details when the final push comes to feed 450 people.

Last Saturday night, 18 chafing dishes needed to be stocked, re-stocked, and re-stocked through-out the course of the evening. Every new dish was freshly garnished as it went out.  Not an easy task when hot  pans melted flesh and people wouldn't budge after polite,"Excuse, mes".  They wanted more without acquiescing their space to allow it.  Feed me. .

It was a hectic fun night in a gorgeous venue.  The food went out, looked great, and tasted fantastic. The guests were very happy and appreciative.  Drunk and appreciative.

Popcorn Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Cajun Fried Chicken with red pepper aoili
Crab Cakes with remoulade
Fresh Jalapeno Poppers
Jalapeno Stuffed- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Pulled Beef Creole
Chicken & Andouille Gumbo
Spiced Jumbo Shrimp Salad
Tobasco Marinated Green Peppers & Cherry Tomatoes
Fried Okra
Corn Souffle
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I am now wearing a back brace and a knee brace.
Battle scars............ Lent.
                              Bring it.

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