Winging It.

On Friday, I was responsible for making both lunch and dinner at work, plus I tacked on a 2 hour meeting with my boss at the end of the day.  And because it was Friday, I was only focused on the tasks that remained until I could start my weekend, and I was by no means thinking ahead to Monday.  So this morning crept up and I suddenly remembered that I was doing back to back staff lunches, and had to have a full lunch for 12 people prepared by noon – whoops!

I hit the ground running with NO plan.  First thing I needed to decide was what my main salad dish would be, and then I could throw together some lighter sides afterwards.  I walked in the door, dropped my bag, and immediately flung open the pantry.  I kind of felt like I was on an episode of Chopped – knowing I had 2 hours to cook and that I needed to get the longest-cooking things started first. 

My first thought was quinoa, but when I grabbed the box I realized it was nearly empty.  Plan B – a giant bag of beautiful French lentils.

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I got the lentils going on the stove, and made my way out to the garage where the excess produce is kept.  Each week, the farm guys bring all of the excess veggies to our three giant overflow refrigerators.  My job is to try to use as much of the supply as possible, in order to utilize all of the available produce.  I saw a box of sweet potatoes on the floor and snapped into action.

Check out the size of this sweet potato!  Hard to believe it is organic and hormone-free.  Held up next to my head for a size comparison.  And yes, my head is abnormally gigantic, but it couldn’t compete with this sweet tater. 

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The sweet potato monster and his friends were washed and trimmed for roasting. 

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They were chopped and tossed in a little EVOO and S&P, and spread out on a roasting pan. 

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And then sprinkled with some freshly chopped rosemary – pulled straight out of the garden with my own two hands!

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Once my lentils were done, I gave them a cold rinse…

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And tossed them in a delicious special sauce – recipe coming next!

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I wanted to make a big garden salad as an easy filler dish, so I walked the grounds for a few minutes trying to find whatever salad-type veggies looked ripe and ready.  Totally pumped to find some YELLOW squash!

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And I am pretty sure I took the only 5 ripe tomatoes on the entire farm, hehe. 

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A little chopping and dicing later – viola!  Delicious garden salad. 

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With about 45 minutes to go before lunch, I panicked that I wouldn’t have enough food for all 12 people, so I threw some millet into a pot and started toasting.

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I added a handful of freshly chopped thyme, shaved parmesan, and (gasp!) a small slice of real butter.

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Just before it was time to eat, my rosemary maple sweet potatoes came out of the oven.  I’m going to post the recipe for these too – they were a HUGE hit!

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Did I mention that I did it all in my fun frilly Anthropologie apron?  Why wear professional white chef clothes when you can wear RUFFLES?  :)

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Funny how I went into this lunch totally frazzled with no plan, it probably turned out to be the best one yet.  Final menu – green bean and lentil salad (recipe coming!)…

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Fresh garden salad with a balsamic orange vinaigrette…

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Rosemary and maple glazed sweet potatoes, mmmmm…

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And toasted millet with parmesan and thyme.  No one on the staff had tried millet before, and they all LOVED it! 

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The group ate every last bite – ultimate compliment to the chef.  :)

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While I was busy cooking all day, Casey emailed me a picture of what was happening back at home.  As he went in to the kitchen to get something, he wandered by the laundry room and found this…

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Why buy expensive dog beds when yours prefer cheap laundry baskets?  :)

Tomorrow is another Farm to Table Dinner, and I’m really excited – it is all RAW food!  I will be prepping with the chef this afternoon, and then working a fourteen hour day tomorrow to get it all done.  

Keeping my eye on Thursday morning, when I’m hitting the road to Hilton Head for a few days to run on the beach and visit family – wheeeee!  :)