Monday, August 18, 2008

Using My Noodle

Working with 15 lbs. of rice noodles, I prepared an Asian-inspired side dish for our Family Meal buffet that included stir-fried vegetables and baked tilapia fillets. Cooking the noodles and then cooling them down was just part of the battle – with three stock pots of boiling water at the ready I cooked the delicate fine strands of noodles for 3 to 4 minutes until they were done. With a large wire strainer I scooped out the noodles to drain and transport them to a stainless bowl perched over ice.

We prepared about 8 quarts of a fresh ginger/soy dressing and mixed the noodles by hand for even coating. As I worked the dressing into the rice noodles, Chef added quarts of hoisin sauce, more soy, red pepper flakes, blanched broccoli florets, baby corn, shredded carrots, scallions, cilantro and basil.

I had an incredible amount of noodles to work with and I had to split the mixture into two giant bowls to properly mix in the added ingredients. With food service gloves on I worked those noodles into a frenzy and I got an upper-body workout at the same time. By service time I had tasted and sampled them so many times that I couldn't even attempt to eat them for dinner. Luckily, we always have salad as a back-up selection but the noodles were a hit and I think enjoyed by everyone overall.

The experience of cooking in large quantities has been a great re-introduction into the world of catering. My experience catering (many moons ago) has definitely helped me in this kitchen rotation and I’ve enjoyed working with the team to help feed the masses at the FCI.

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