Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chicken For Lunch!

The roasted chicken we served today drew a large crowd to our meal.

Chicken is hands down the most popular entree that we serve at The Wednesday Community Meal.

In the past, we've been able to serve it quite frequently because of the generosity of Lift Urban Portland which donates to us large boxes of frozen chicken quarters.

But lately, they haven't had it to give to us and our guests missed it until today because the local nonprofit treated us to four boxes.

We seasoned the large pieces of chicken with a homemade seasoning blend of garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and little chili powder and baked it in a 350-degree oven until it was done and the skin was crisp and golden brown. The smell in the kitchen was amazing and after our first seating of 60 people, there was a long line to get into the lunch. Word on the street spreads really fast when roasted chicken is being served.

The first 130 or so guests got chicken and then it was onto ribs, enchiladas, lasagna and finally ham. Everyone got a good meal.

The side dishes we served today were rice, green beans, mashed potatoes and mashed carrots. The latter was a dish we concocted on the fly because of the largest carrots I've ever seen that our gleaners picked up at The Oregon Food Bank. Last week we roasted the carrots but this week I thought we should try something different and our carrot mash ended up better than I could have imagined.

We boiled the carrots for over an hour and then mashed them by hand (thank you Andy!) and added butter, salt and pepper and fresh parsley. It was a beautiful and very fresh tasting dish.
Our special carrot side dish.

Here are some of the wonderful volunteers who helped us prepare and serve 333 meals today:

Isla Blue who is 5-years-old, worked alongside volunteer Cindy serving pudding in the busy dining room. Isla Blue's dad is a regular volunteer in the dining room, greeting and seating our guests, and her grandma is the co-chair of Outreach at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. With such great role models for volunteering in her life, I have a feeling she'll do great things.

I can't say enough good things about Terri. She comes early to help cook and stays until the very end,  helping to clean up. She's smart and efficient in the kitchen and a huge help to me.

Justine, John and Leah are also indispensable. They are hard workers and up for any task. After prepping food for the meal, Justine went out into the dining room to wait on tables and Leah and John stayed in the kitchen plating the salads.

Nancy just knows exactly what to do without being told. It's like she's a mind reader! I'll say "oh I forgot to get the rice out of the oven," and she'll say "I already did it." Keeping track of what's cooking would be overwhelming without Nancy. She also stays late to help clean up.

I owe Andy big time for mashing pounds and pound of boiled carrots in small batches. It was tedious work!

Andy insisted that I mash one batch of carrots and pose for a picture because in his words, "you're never on your blog." So here I am, but really, he deserves the credit for mashing the carrots.

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