[Apologies for the rather Delilah title but the creative juices aren't flowing when it comes to subjects.]
Last week was full of some rather interesting happenings in my life in terms of giving back and also just enjoying life. Yes, there was the somewhat unfortunate interview on Monday, but I was at least pleased with myself for actually sending out a thank you card! In a timely manner at that. But then, Wednesday was the first of two exhausting but enjoyable events. One aspect of the Souperdouper Soup & Sandwich Cookoff back in August was that the winner would have the pleasure of creating a 'gourmet' menu to cook and serve at the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen. Everyone else that entered the competition, along with anyone else that wanted to join, was invited and encouraged to help out on the day of said meal.
Wednesday was the big day, and Jui, the winner, had changed up her menu options because of seasonality. Back in August, the porchetta buns and tomato consumme was perfect for the weather and crops, but with the change in weather, she worked with it. Also, Greenpoint has a huge Polish population, and as we discovered, most of the soup kitchen attendees are a part of that populus. So, on that note, Jui created a pretty impressive Polish inspired menu.
Summer Borscht, with beets, yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers
Cabbage Rolls, stuffed with rice, chicken, tomatoes
Potato Latkes, made with purple potatoes, turnips, scallions
Crepes, homemade ice cream and fruit compote
She was quite ambitious, as you can see, and everything was from scratch. A few people worked on Tuesday doing prep from 6pm until midnight, and on Wednesday, we were working for a solid seven hours. I arrived right around 3pm, and Jui and Noah, one of the Souperdouper organizers, were already there. By the time we served and washed (and washed AND washed) dishes, we left the place at 10pm. Fortunately, t.b.d., the same pretty awesome bar that hosted the Cookoff, was close, so a few of us went for a few beers.
The meal itself was a huge hit, even if we started serving just a bit later than normal. I think the soup kitchen attendees were mostly pleasantly surprised by the Polish (inspired) fare. Everything was, well, delicious, and it was also nice to be able to feed the normal soup kitchen volunteers as well. I think they were pleasantly surprised with what was pulled off. The great thing about the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen is that they have been able to connect with one (or some?) local CSA. Any leftover produce the CSA has at the end of pickup gets donated to the kitchen, and, from what I could see, it's usually a good amount of food!
Not only was it great to simply give back, but I got to know Cathy, Noah, Jui, and one or two others, better. You know, awesome Brooklyn "foodies" [cringe at the word]. In addition, Cathy nicely gifted me a few chickens from a nice little butcher in Chinatown they have a connection with. Free, fresh food? Yes please! I definitely have plans for homemade chicken stock from the leftover roasted carcass. (Mmm, I roasted a bird today and it's, well, delicious.)
Part Deux coming shortly.