"The Author-Preneur with Something To Say That You'll Love To Read."

A Little Greek Tofu

This weekend we have a group at the camp that is from the World Tai Ji Boxing Association (WTBA - http://www.taijiworld.com/).  A fair number of the team are vegetarians.  We are gonna whip up a brown rice with olive oil and garlic (and a hint of lemon juice and sea salt) along with a vegetable medley of green and yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms and broccoli (and of course garlic). The protein will be a tofu slice baked and marinated with a Greek salad dressing.  I am going to make it from scratch with virgin olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, basil and sea salt.  We will serve some kalamata olives and feta in our salad section so there will be the chance to complete the Mediterranean theme.  Non-veggies will have the chance at the same dressing on the baked chicken.

When you are cooking rice and using the dressing in that rice, you always add it after things are finished cooking.  You lose too much of the flavor of the oil and garlic/herbs if you cook it into the food throughout the cooking process.  You can warm things up if you are afraid you will alter the food temp too much.  Just do not heat it too much - only warm it.  I will even add the "marinade" after the baking of the tofu, to retain the flavors.  It will do well in the hotbox at holding temperature - enhancing the tofu even if it is only steeping for 10 - 15 minutes.

Play with the flavors in the dressings until you find a good balance.  You will be surprised how much the dressing for the rice can give it the flavor of a chicken broth being used.



Cross Country Cafe

Carolyn and Dave have struck on the quintessential nature of food and dining. Watching them you could craft a fine definition of all things food: You need good quality ingredients, patient and practiced technique, and a deep desire to be with people and take care of them. They clearly exhibit all of these. Aside from wholesome, tasty meals you get good conversation and heartfelt personal presence when you are at the cafe.

If you are visiting Yosemite you need to come up out of the valley and head into downtown Groveland, CA and eat at the Cross Country Cafe. It is a quaint little place off the main road where locals and travelers from all over the globe come for a good meal, a slice of life, and participation in the better things that being human has to offer: like warm and  pleasant hospitality. If comfort food where an interior place you could visit, the Cafe offers that when you stop in.

We have been vacationing here for four days - so far - and have eaten all our breakfasts and one of our lunches from the fine meals served at the Cross Country Cafe. Whether we eat in or take out, the friendly conversation and the fine food is always the same.  Dave and Carolyn are a wealth of information on the local scene and love to talk about food and all things epicurean.  If there is something you want that you don't see on the menu, a simple request goes a long way with these folks.

Make sure you ask them about their ingredients. They will tell you anything you want to know. You can even find out how they cook the food, either by watching or showing a little interest and asking. You really feel like you have been invited into the whole preparation process as they both saunter back and forth in the conversation and crafting of your meal.

I think this place and this couple is ripe for the making of some fine podcasts on hospitality and wholesome foods.  Keep your eye on them and watch them grow.  Something this good has got to become a rave.  And, when you stop by, make sure you ask to see their fascinating collection of international currency.  Worldwide guests have left behind a piece of their appreciation in the standard of their country.  You'll be amazed at the number of folks who have wandered through their doors that represent countries far and wide.



Anticipated Increases of Food Costs - HYPER INFLATION

One of the things that is tough working with in a camp kitchen is the ongoing need for keeping costs per plate low (everybody everywhere can appreciate this dilemma) all of the time.  Now it is even more difficult to contend with.  The prices that are fore-casted and reported on a weekly basis can be just plain harrowing.

Even with a standardized retreat menu - capitalizing on the foods I can get the best deals on - there have been problems lately.

I wanted to take a step away from taste and food play for a minute to share with you a composite guide I found via a special report.  Take a look at this and be prepared for some shocking news.  With all of the federal talk of budgets and debt, the words in this report don't add any fluff to the forecasts.  Things are gonna get tough.

Today I will share the inflation news.  In another blog, we will take a look at crop failures and prices as a result there.  The report is at this link.




reprinted with permission of Mollie Katzen