Saturday, August 19, 2006

They Called It Crab-R-Roni and Ate 60 Pounds!

 They Called It Crab-R-Roni and Ate 60 Pounds!


Well it was the third Saturday of the month so I find myself at the
Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen preparing a meal and directing
volunteers. This would be interesting since Angela specifically
requested that I use up the two months of frozen crab legs that have
accumulated from the local Red Lobster in the area. They save the snow
and king legs left in the steam table at the end of the night. Problem
is I already used crab last time I cooked and made the Maryland crab
cakes dinner.

Since she specifically told me no one else will use the crab legs when
they cook, I agreed. Hey what's a chef to do?

So I find myself dicing a mirepoix early and firing up the tilt skillet.
Crew starts arriving and I put them to picking crab. Wondering around
the pantry I find a couple gallon cans of dried cheddar blend, 2 five
pound bags of dried macaroni, and assorted spices and some parmesan.

So I thought what the heck I think I am going to make crab mac and
cheese! I think it was a hit as 136 clients plowed through 6 four inch
hotel pans in 1.5 hours. But the best part was when they started coming
back for seconds, seems they did not know what to call it, so they kept
coming to the window requesting more Crab-R-Roni! I just cracked up
laughing. I am ever mindful that if I had screwed up what I was doing,
they may have been trashing can a similar name where a P replaced a B.

I look to plate scrape to see what was liked. To my surprise I am making
great progress with them eating greens. Today I did steamed spinach and
the clients polished off 30 pounds of it. Plus 40 pounds of sweet potato
and yams oven roasted. I also watch the staff, they all filled styro to
go boxes for themselves later, all in all I was happy with the outcome
making something that did not exist before today!


Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA