For my Sixth year now I cook for the Grand Junction Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen. The third Saturday of every month finds me at the soup kitchen cooking for the homeless and helping the soup kitchen use up the "weird stuff" that the home cooks don't want to mess with during the week.
For years since I started the folks at Red Lobster have save all the leftovers that meet the food safety standard for the soup kitchen. When it builds up to enough stuff in the freezer it is all hauled out to thaw and I come in with my Fruita Monument High School Key Club to produce a meal out of it. With today's economy I am back to feeding not only those with social problems, but many many families that cannot find jobs. Many have a choice of shelter or food? The pick shelter and come to the soup kitchen for food.
So the crew gets busy busting up crab and lobster and shrimp from its shell so it can be added to the Seafood Enchilada mix in the tilt skillet.
As the cracking and cleaning continues the tilt skillet begins to fill up. I get to work on the dried chilles. We get a lot of dried chilles and most the other volunteers never use them. Which is fine by me since it allows me to make a great enchilada base every few months.
We also did not get a lot of bread today, so I whipped up a batch of biscuits. I come in about two hours prior to my volunteers showing up. This lets me figure out the menu, do any of the background prep work the meal will require and figure out how I am going to balance a meal with what is available to use. It is like a giant iron chef contest in my mind. Only the secret ingredient challenge also includes missing ingredients since we are run on what is donated. In the background you can see the mess where I made the biscuits. Had to use a paper towel holder as a rolling pin since there was none in the kitchen and I did not bring my baking kit.
We had a 35 pound drum of honey donated, so I figured I would whip up a Honey Chipotle pepper sauce for the biscuits. One of my volunteers paints the sauce onto the biscuits in three layers. Making a fairly nice biscuit for the meal.
The high school students have been with me for five years now, so they come in and know what to get done almost automatically. Generally making a fruit salad, a green salad and since no desserts came in from the local stores today they will make a dessert for the meal. Homemade spice cake is enjoyed by the clients for their lunch.
Some of the volunteers are working on various aspects of what I need for the meal to be completed. We have to create a lot of refried beans, and complete cilantro rice dish, the seafood enchiladas need to be stacked in the hotel pans and then baked off to the finish.
All coming together to create the food line for service. We will feed 172 people today.
A few of the homeless guys have been helping me for the last six years. I had a group of five pueblanos come into the kitchen as a donation. When they saw them they started talking about Chile Rellanos and how they liked them. So I roasted them up, cleaned them and made the five that help their own Chile Rellano dinner. No green chili, so I hit them with the seafood enchilada base to finish the plate.
That is what I did before the race on Saturday. With the help of the Fruita Monument High School Key Club we fed the 172 people who showed up hungry.
It is kind of funny how over the years I have gotten to know the people that rely on the kitchen for their food. When they see my truck is there they come to tap on the window and ask what the menu is for the day. They go back to the parks to tell people the homemade stuff is being cooked today. Gets us a good crowd.