• Eliana

Day 34: Hold the Meat.

Another half day of cooking and nutrition. Today we ventured into the world of vegetarians. We made ONLY vegetarian dishes (which I am not one). On the menu today was…. a watercress- grapefruit-walnut salad, butternut squash with a tomato caper sauce, and falafel with tahini. I worked with Sagot which went extremely smooth. I also learn a thing or two from him, which is always nice. My lesson of the day was be careful when you chopped parsley because it wilts quickly and bruises up easily. After I tore them up, Sagot had to recut them because we couldn’t present mine (looked like a kindergartener did it). The watercress salad was not that amazing. First of all, the portion size was way too small (I guess it’s great for an appetizer), but French salads are barely dressed enough. I want my greens dripping aka flavor central. That just proves yet again that I am not French and pretty much eat the salad for the dressing instead of for the greens. Raise your hand if you are with me on that one? The grapefruit was a nice addition though I must admit because I hardly eat tropical fruits up here being that I’m not in the tropics anymore (yes, I consider Miami to be tropical and barely apart of Florida). It’s funny whenever someone asks me where I am from I immediately say Miami, not Florida, Miami! Ask someone who is from Tallahassee and they say they are from Florida (in hopes that someone might associate them with Miami or Palm Beach etc). I say Miami to avoid people associating me with Jacksonville, but no one would ever believe that anyways. Back to food, my bad.

So, the salad was done and presented! We did a nice job- not sure how you could royally mess up a simple salad, but ok. We then made our roasted butternut squash. We bathed that baby in olive oil, salt, and pepper and then into the oven it went till it was soft. Once it was done we scooped the inside out (into a bowl) and added our tomatoes (we boiled them and peeled them before hand) with capers and other garnishes into the smashed up squash. While that was getting ready, we got chickpeas, garlic, cumin, cilantro, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc. and pureed the ingredients in the machine to make our falafel balls. We adjusted the seasoning and then formed them into little balls to deep fry. Chef made the tahini sauce (sour cream, tahini paste, dill, cucumber, etc.) and then like magic we plated our food. The squash went into a mold to form a little circle, added the garnishes on top, and put the falafel over the tahini. I thought they stated fabulous! But Noah said they were nothing like Israeli falafel’s—ummm… I guess we will need a resident Israeli to be the judge on that topic. I went in for seconds, so I don’t know what he is talking about. No leftovers for Candido (dishwasher man) today!

Two funny things: 1) Carlos asked me why I was being so cold to him today! Hahahah looks like someone noticed that we weren’t buddy buddies and was NOT happy about that. You know how they say don’t mess with Texas! (Except insert my name for Texas). I laughed at his statement and he knew why and apologized in a funny way. I sat next to him during nutrition class and played MASH with him the whole time. MASH is a game that little girls play to predict your husband, car, job, where you will live, where you will honeymoon, how many kids you will have etc. The person whose future you are predicting gets to choose 3 things for each category and the person who is conducting the fortune forecast gets to pick one outlandish thing/place/person etc. for each category. Well, his fortune turned out pretty fun especially since he landed on the job I gave him as a mortician hahaha. 2) Please remind me not to have just one child! Zandra does NOT know how to share- the poor girl. I’m slowly trying to teach her. For lunch, I wanted some extra tahini to put on my spicy wings from the buffet, since we had no ranch. Chef threw away his big batch, but Zandra saved a HUGE amount of it to use for the falafel. I ask her for a spoonful of it and she was really NOT happy about that claiming she is going to use the whole thing (pshh- yah right!). At the end of the day, I see her going over to the compost bin tossing out some leftover tahini. She ended up giving me the spoonful earlier, but just to rub it in I said “See Zandra you even had enough to throw away, didn’t you” ahha and she didn’t know what to say. Reminds me when I was younger and I used to get anxiety over if I was going to get enough of whatever dish my mom made because there were so many other people eating the same food too. So, we would hoard a big portion of it on our plates just in case. Always turned out that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs (from my description you would think that I grew up on welfare).

Another fun filled day in the kitchen. Not complaining about my feet anymore thanks to Christie and my mom for sending me up those therapeutic oils! Also, the kitchen is not hot anymore because the weather outside is getting colder! Thank the lord.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Eliana

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