I’m Stuart Donald And This Is The Longest Month Of My Life
So after two long weeks that consisted of two birthday/graduation parties and a huge wedding reception on top of my regular schedule I entered Mars Hill Café with one desire, a slow week. I know it sounds counter to the goal of making money but geesh I’m tired, whooped, tuckered. We have one more special event this week and then we get a three-day weekend. So of course my selfish desire to have an easy week was rewarded by Karma dropping a very busy Monday at my doorstep. Now I know how Jack Bauer must feel.
Where did all of these people come from? Oh, well, we took care of them and did so quickly and with a smile (although rather labored after two rough weeks). After the rush I took some leftovers from Saturday’s reception and made lunch for the crew. Focaccia was bifurcated and the bottoms brushed with canola oil before being tossed on the flat grill. I was looking to create an almost deep fried texture before schmearing the top with sausage ragu, sliced mushrooms and mozzarella. 20 minutes in a 350 oven and lunch was ready. Mushroom and sausage pizza, mmm.
After lunch I spoke with Chef Michael Roberts of the Bay Area Food Bank (a non-profit that feeds those who are hungry as a result of personal crisis or disaster). I have been invited in to compete in the 2009 Chef Challenge in September. As you would expect this is a tremendous honor as this year’s Challenge pits five of the area’s top chefs to create 5 courses of delicious authentic Italian cuisine.
My sous chef Jay allegesthat I do the best Italian he has ever eaten but have to remind him that what I do is Americanized Italian. Authentic Italian is something entirely different. I look forward to the challenge. I am thinking that since we are located on Mobile Bay I will look for recipes from the Amalfi Coast or Sicily.
Oh, because of a surplus of salad mix and fruit from the wedding I have conjured the Sunshine Salad for my weekly special – spinach and lettuce tossed in a citrus vinaigrette made with orange, lemon and key lime juices, honey, ginger, canola oil and salt & pepper. To finish I add smoked turkey, cantaloupe, honeydew, red onions, tomatoes, almonds and cheddar/Jack cheese. Stop by and try it. Or don’t, it’s been a grueling few weeks. LOL!
Entry filed under: Mars Hill Updates. Tags: 2009 Chef Challenge, 24, amalfi coast, authentic Italian cuisine, Bay Area food bank, Chef Michael Roberts, citrus vinegrette, ctu, Jack Bauer, Karma, mars hill cafe, mobile bay, Mushroom and sausage pizza, sicily, stuart reb donald, Sunshine Salad.