I’m Stuart Donald And This Is The Longest Month Of My Life

May 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm 1 comment

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!

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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