I have begun a brand new adventure in my little food world. I am temporarily filling in as the full time cook at a large child care center in North Seattle. I have been a little nervous but mostly excited to stretch my cooking skills on a much larger scale. The kitchen is bright and cheerful. It is just big enough to prepare food for the 125-ish kids and leave a little space for staff to pop in and out for a nibble of the leftovers.
The best decorations in the kitchen are the dishes. They bring whimsey to what is otherwise a plain industrial space.
The day went by in a flash. I am happy to report that lunch and both snacks were ready on time and nothing was burned. The lunch menu called for chicken tenders and tater tots. I did make them (and was complimented on the crispy tots) but I made sure to send out even more fruits and veggies over the course of the day. Moving forward there will be more flexibility over the menu. Tomorrow will be a veggie pasta sauce with many super secret goodies blended in.
The pasta sauce will be cooked in big pots on this cooktop. Is it just me or are the pilot lights completely terrifying? It totally creeps me out to have these open flames just hanging out all the time. That is how they are supposed to be but still…
My goal during my brief tenure is to make foods that I am comfortable feeding The Little Helping and eating myself. I want to push myself walk my talk on a large scale. It helps that the regular cook (she is on maternity leave) and the staff are incredibly supportive of all the ideas I have presented.
I managed to sneak in some “real” cooking for the staff lunch. I found a few cucumbers that needed to be used but not enough to send out for the kids. I got them all peeled and sliced then dressed them with some rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic powder, black pepper, and a few sprinkles of salt. They hung out in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before people started scooping them up. I tried not to say much but I got a little thrill watching people grab them with out thinking, walk away and taste one, then pivot on their heel to grab another scoop before leaving the kitchen. It’s the little things.
This salad is simple and humble and totally delicious.