Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lots of hummus

Until yesterday, I had only prepared two quarts of hummus at one time. Now my personal record is somewhere around five gallons! The Cuisinart food processor labored for over one hour to turn six #10 cans of chickpeas into the wonderful spread. When I completed the task, one quart olive oil, one quart lemon juice, three pounds tahini, one cup minced garlic and salt and pepper joined the chickpeas.

Oakland Feather Rover Camp featured a Middle Eastern menu for a private camp on Saturday. The two-hour lunch included pita bread, hummus bi tahini, tabbouleh and tuna salad, plus a large salad bar. We will serve the remaining hummus throughout the week on the salad bar.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chicken Tex-Mex casserole production center

Tex-Mex chicken layered casserole (and here) is on the menu tonight for a private rental group at the camp. The four 12 by 20 by 2-1/2-inch hotel pans will feed around 75 to 100 persons. I cut the pans four by six after it comes out of the oven.

In addition to the meat version, I prepared a vegetarian casserole with cheddar cheese and a black bean layered casserole for vegans. The alternative casseroles (off camera) were prepared in half pans. These two pans are gluten free.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Roast eye of round at camp

I menu roast beef at Oakland Feather River Camp every week or two. I have been using the eye of round (IMPS/NAMP 171C) for five years now. It can usually be purchased at a reasonable price, slightly above $3 per pound when purchased in a 54-pound case. Each case holds six to eight individual roasts.

You can also purchase the eye of round at the local cash and carry restaurant supply house. I purchased it at Cash and Carry on Richards Boulevard, Sacramento, California, when I worked in midtown Sacramento. The store currently sells the roast for $3.22 per pound for a five-pound average roast.

I like the roast because it cooks quickly and gives a reasonably tender serving to the camper. The cylindrical shape of the roast yields a consistently round serving when sliced on the meat slicer. I don't use a recipe for the roast, but will describe my process:
  1. Trim fat and silver skin on the roast. I generally leave a quarter-inch of fat on each roast.
  2. Rub each roast with a light coat of canola oil. Then rub kosher salt, coarse ground and granulated garlic.Place in roasting pan.
  3. Brown roasts in pre-heated 450-degree convection oven until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Pull pan from oven and reduce oven setting to 200 degrees. Turn roasts over. Add a bit of water or stock to pan if the drippings have dried.
  5. Cover pan and return to the oven. Roast until roasts reach desired temperature. At camp I pull them when the internal temperature reaches 145 to 150 degrees. This gives you a nice, evenly colored roast.
  6. Rest meat 10 to 15 minutes. Slice on meat slicer to desired thickness. I prefer it on the thinner side. This lets campers take as many slices as they desire without impacting portion control. Each six to seven-pound roast yields 20 to 25 (4-ounce) servings at Oakland Camp.
  7. Prepare gravy or au jus as desired from the drippings.


I find that it's best to slice the roast using a meat slicer. The slicer gives you consistently sized pieces. It also helps maximize the slices from each roast. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Horse ridin' chef

Please do not think that I'm a seasoned horseman as I guide Samsonite into the corral. I just appear to know what I'm doing. I spent a good part of the hour-long ride trying to convince him that I'm the chef and he's the horse. Yet, Samsonite is a good steed. I look forward to riding him again before Debbie and I leave for home next month.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mexican rice on the griddle

Earlier this week my sous chef and I wanted to use up two pans of leftover rice. In order to re-purpose the rice into a new dish, I prepared a sauce from canned tomatoes, poblano chilies, onion and garlic. The rice was poured onto a oiled griddle and stirred several times. I then folded the sauce into the rice and brought it up to temperature.

The rice looked just like Mexican restaurant rice. It even had one or two obligatory pieces of tomato in the mixture! Here's our new process for cooking Mexican rice at Oakland Feather River Camp:

  1. Combine 2 quarts white or brown rice with 4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock in a 12x20x4-inch hotel pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and lid. Two pans of rice will feed around 100 campers at Oakland Camp.
  2. Bake in a 325-degree convection oven until tender. White rice takes 20 to 30 minutes. You need 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice. 
  3. Cool rice overnight in the walk-in refrigerator.
  4. Pre-heat griddle to 350 degrees.
  5. Saute 4 large pobleno chilies (diced), 1 or 2 jalapeno chilies (minced), 2 onions (diced) with a couple tablespoons minced garlic until soft and slightly charred. Roasted poblano chilies work as well.
  6. Puree 1/2 #10 can diced tomatoes with the sauteed vegetables in a blender or food processor.
  7. Pour one pan of rice onto griddle. Stir to break up clumps and heat rice.
  8. Pour half the puree mixture over the rice. Stir quickly to ensure even distribution of the sauce. Cook until mixture reaches 165 degrees or higher.
  9. Check seasoning. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Portion into serving pans.
  10. Repeat the process for additional pans of rice.

Mexican brown rice cooks on the griddle at around 350 degrees. 

Cook's position at Murphys, California, Christian camp

Here's recent posting from Gold Country Craigslist. The part-time position pays $9 per hour. To respond, click the box titled 'Contact' in the upper left corner of the Craigslist ad.

Position available immediately at Dream Mountain Christian Camp! We are looking for extra help in our camp kitchen for the busy summer season. We need someone local with reliable transportation that would be willing to work split shifts.

We are a Christian camp that's looking for someone with a strong work ethic, servant's heart and can exemplify the love of Christ through humble, excellent and genuine guest service.

Hours would be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the lunch shift and 5 to 8 p.m. for dinner shift (with some flexibility). Summer dates would be July 14-20, July 23-26, July 27-31, August 1-4 and August 7-9. We will also need help on weekends after the summer season as an on-call basis.

We are a Christian family-run camp. If interested, please contact Camp Director Cheree Munoz.

Job Duties Include:
  • Prepare, cook and present food quickly and efficiently, meeting our standards
  • Assist in keeping the kitchen clean, hygienic and tidy, at all times
  • Assist in fixing beverages, salads, lunch, dinner and simple desserts. 
  • Assists with setting up serving line.
  • Washes dishes and pots and pans after meals. 
  • Operates dishwasher. 
  • Cleans and secures dining area. 
  • Checks in and putting away orders and deliveries in storeroom and freezer on days needed. 
  • Performs heavy cleaning, such as ovens and grill, when needed. 
  • Performs other duties as required. 
  • Ability to work on your feet.
  • Ability to lift 20-50 pounds

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hotcakes at Oakland Camp

Whole wheat hotcakes on the griddle at Oakland Feather River Camp earlier this week. Last month, the local appliance service technician replaced the four thermostats to the camp griddle. During the initial service call, John of Az-Tech Appliance discovered the thermometer tubes had split. The burners were either on or off. There was no middle ground. The griddle now works as it should.