Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Surprise Catch Of The Day

One of today's most colorful meals - baked catfish, jambalaya over rice, roasted vegetables, pineapple and orange slices.

We utilized lots of different ingredients today at the Wednesday Community Meal so our menu changed often.

We started out with ribs, barbeque chicken, baked chicken, sausage and curried chicken and ended with meatballs, beef fajita mix over rice, green curry over rice and finally, baked catfish.
 There would be no Community Meal without super volunteer Cheryl. She oversees the volunteers in the dining room, is in charge of dessert and somehow still also finds time to help in the kitchen. She is simply amazing.

When I saw the piles of butternut squash from the Oregon Food Bank, I was appreciative of the ingredient but also dreaded the work and time it would take to get it prepared and cooked. I am so thankful that Volunteer Kate was willing to take on the task. She sliced the squash in half, cleaned out the seeds and baked it cut side down in a hot oven until it was soft. Then the squash was peeled, mashed and tossed with sauteed onions and seasoning. Delicious and so much easier than peeling and dicing raw squash.

The catfish was a surprise ingredient for the day when we learned that a freezer had been accidentally left open at Northwest Portland Ministries, causing a whole case of catfish to defrost.

Not being able to cook it and wanting to prevent it from going to waste, the organization kindly asked if we could use it. I too didn't want the fish to be wasted so even though we received it about half an hour before the start of the meal, we put in the extra effort to get it cooked and served.

It feels so good to save perfectly good food from being wasted and most importantly, the catfish was delicious and enjoyed by our guests.

The guests also enjoyed an extra special dessert today courtesy of Baker & Spice Bakery - flourless chocolate cake topped with chocolate shavings. The bakery is so generous and seriously you won't find better baked goods anywhere in Portland. Any crumbs that came from slicing the cake were quickly swooped up by the volunteers. What a treat!

Flourless chocolate cake courtesy of Baker & Spice Bakery.
We served 421 meals today and because it was the forth Wednesday of the month, we were not surprised. The line for the meal stayed long throughout the service and after just under one hour of serving, we had already put out 240 plates of food.
The long line for the meal.

There is still one Wednesday left in the month of October which makes me think it might be our busiest yet.

My good friend Bob who stops by the kitchen window every Wednesday to visit and say "hello" with super servers Davis and Lesley.

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