Saturday, March 30, 2013

Orange You Glad!

Welcome Brandon Lewis! He'll only be with us at the Hen for a very short time, so hurry in on Tuesdays & Thursdays if you want to sample his culinary skills!

As I told him, he's a chef.. I am a cook.

He loves making sauces and fancy dressings, soups & breads. He made homemade focaccia on Thursday, with sun dried tomatoes and and fresh basil... very tasty.

Brandon has been cooking in Louisville, but will be heading to Yellowstone National Park, to practice his chef talents there. After that, The HEN will still be open daily  ... as long as I can find a suitable replacement until I leave my other job at the end of June.

His favorite color is orange! He has a cool orange car and, as you can see, an orange hoodie!

So maybe it was a coincidence that I decided to make Orange Dreamsicle Cheesecake this week for dessert.

Maybe it was a coincidence that we met at the High School Career day when I needed someone to fill in and he needed a little work until he headed west.

But neither Brandon nor I believe in coincidence! Do you? We probably have different ways of explaining what we believe, but orange you glad we can listen to one another, and meet new people, and tell our stories in special places like the Little Red Hen Cafe?

It's more than just food... it's a community, devoted to wholesome living.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gulyas leves!

WATCH this interview with a Hungarian cook from Transylvania!

In a very tiny village far away there is a piece of my heart.

The village is in Transylvania,  which is in Romania, but all of the people there are Hungarian, and they are members of our partner church, whom I have visited four times over the past nine years. They are so dear to me that I feel as if they are part of my family. 

(Above you see Rozi, in her summer kitchen, talking about her memories of our visit).

These people have survived Communism, terrible dictatorship and persecution under  CeauČ™escu, and persistent poverty and threats to their way of life, their culture, their religion, and their land and even their language. Yet they remain people of gentle, loving spirits, warm and joyful, full of faith and goodwill, and hospitable to every stranger with the phrase Isten Aldjon,  a greeting that means "God Bless You."

This week, I will be thinking of them especially, since I was with them during Easter week and afterwards two years ago, and so I have made two Hungarian soups: the first is Gulyas Leves, a beef and vegetable soup flavored with sweet Hungarian paprika.

The village folks cook everything from scratch (like me), and of course almost everything they include is picked or killed in their own yard. I even watched as the lamb was sacrificed for Easter (which, by the way, is mercifully swift when done properly!). I did buy the beef and the vegetables, but everything was peeled, chopped and simmered for hours.

Hope you will share a bit of village life this week!

PS. In July, my partner Minister, Bela, and a young woman from our village will visit us for three weeks and I hope you will meet them when they do! Isten Aldjon!
 Here I am making the traditional bread for Easter Communion with Rozi (in video) .. it is cooked in a kiln.
 Here with a family for a mid day meal.. the boy gave me the red car for Seth. I love him!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

One woman, One dream, One beautiful world..

 We love you, Chez Panisse! get well soon.

 Chez Panisse was the dream of one woman, Alice Waters. She and a few friends started the restaurant in 1971, with one simple idea: to make it like a dinner party for friends, elegant and with attention to detail. 

It grew into this beautiful and famous restaurant in Berkeley, CA, which has been named the Top Restaurant in America, and Alice Waters has become a well-known author and philanthropist, with a foundation that has created school gardens all over the Bay Area.

Sadly, much of the gorgeous facade was destroyed by fire on Friday, and even though it will be restored, it is always heartbreaking to see any part of your dream demolished.

 Although Alice Waters and Chez Panisse have changed in many ways over 40 years, some things are remarkably consistent: the menu is set; each evening a prix fixe  meal is served, sourced from freshly picked or caught ingredients.

Not only is the food organic and local, it is fair, meaning grown in ways that don't harm the earth, and by people who are treated and paid fairly.

Finally, it is delicious, elegant, and interesting. Pleasure in food is a part of the Chez Panisse vision!
So, love & prayers from the Little Red Hen, just a tiny fledgling cousin who shares many of your values, to you and your fabulous restaurant, Alice!

Monday, March 4, 2013

MARCH~ing on toward a Better World.. one meal at a time

Above is one of many images of the "Green Man"... if you go to Europe and look carefully, you can find him everywhere, carved into buildings, and amongst the gargoyles.
Our ancestors, those of us with Anglo-european roots, had a real reverence for the earth and what it meant for life.
We have lost that, collectively, and if we don't wake up soon, the time of human existence on Planet Earth will actually be finite... That concerns me, especially when God gave us this planet, and gave us brains and the power to make wise decisions. 

One of the reasons I have a limited menu in the Cafe is that everything is homemade daily, and I have almost no food waste.
I buy locally as much as possible (come on, Farmers' Market.. I can hardly wait!!), buy whole rather than packaged or processed foods (above are the muffins you buy in an earlier stage. NO mixes or boxed products)
Any recyclable waste is recycled.
My brown trash container is less than 1/3 full every Thursday!
That's also because almost every plate I serve comes back clean.
Don't worry! That's not a menu item! This is how I use the trimmings from veggies: wash them well, then cook them slowly to make a homemade veg stock so my soups without meat are good for vegetarians!!
That's really what the Little Red Hen Cafe is about: building community, good healthy food, and a vision of a better world. Please pause a moment when you make your take-out and dining decisions and think about the implications of your choices. Yes, you can get a bigger menu, a faster drive thru lunch, and some crunchy fries for $7 (although I noticed my husband's lunch at Hardee's was EIGHT dollars) or you can help work toward this vision with me and others.