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Lunch for 40 wine cellar crew workers [moved from General Chowhounding board]

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So every Friday during Harvest we provide lunch for our cellar crew. Normally we order pizza or sandwiches because it’s so easy. I love to cook though and was hoping to get a few suggestions. There are about 40 of us to feed; we have 2 ovens and lots of fridge space. We are limited by $$ we want to spend about $5 a person, and time… I do have my own work to do so I can’t be in the kitchen cooking all morning. I want something to fill up these hungry workers, and there’s got to be a few vegetarian options. Thanks!

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  1. How about homemade cuban sandwiches..... slow roast pulled pork with all the fixins and a fresh chimichurri sauce or other such sauce.

    1. Two years ago I was a volunteer crush cook at Joseph Swan Vineyards in beautiful Sonoma County and prepared 30 lunches and dinners. The winery had planted a huge garden that year and nearly all our vegetables were homegrown. I snuck tomatoes and zucchini into nearly every meal! That was "Eat Local Challenge" month and more than 90% of the ingredients were sourced from Sonoma County and mostly from the Russian River watershed. I was cooking for one pescatarian, a couple diabetics, and one vegetarian among the crew of up to 10 and for addition special guests sometimes at dinner time.

      One of the things I was trying to show in Eat Local was to bust out of the same ol' wine country EuroCal cuisine to highlight local ingredients prepared with Persian, Indian, Tunisian, Chinese, and other global flavors. And, of course, i made lots of regional Mexican dishes too. I'd say that the vegetarian Thai curries and Indian dishes were some of the most popular. You can make Thai curry in a flash with canned coconut milk and Mae Ploy curry pastes,combined with seasonal vegetables and with or without meat.

      I also wanted to honor our fellow vignerons in Europe by cooking the dishes that they serve their workers traditionally (although probably more watered down and less meaty than we made them): Daube and omelet aux tomates from Provence, Garbure of Bordeaux, Salade de gesieres of Limoux in the Languedoc, Tuscan bean soup and rabbit ragu of Chianti, Sausage and flageolet of Burgundy, Tarte flambe and choucroute garnie of Alsace. Think soups, stews, and bean dishes that are easy to make ahead and taste even better when held and reheated. It was very fun to be united with them at harvest time through food.

      I made a big pot of vegetarian Russian River Valley black bean chili every week to always have some on hand as an additional entree selection for the vegetarians, and it was a source of quick, protein-laden energy if anyone was hungry between meals. The recipe is basically Greens Restaurant's black bean chili subbing my own chili blend and using RRV zinfandel in place of vinegar (and more of it!). I became a quite good vegetarian cook devising menus and packing more flavor into their dishes, and those were often the more popular option at the table.

      Here's the list of menus:

      2007 Harvest Menus for Joseph Swan Vineyards, Russian River Valley

      Saturday, September 8

      Lunch:
      Omelet aux tomates
      Columbus artisanal Crespone salami
      Spring Hill lemon quark with red Gravenstein apples
      La Brea sesame semolina bread

      Dinner:
      Taramasalata, hummos, Kalamata olives
      Shepherd’s salad
      CK Lamb moussaka
      Costeaux Bakery Kalamata olive sourdough bread
      Crane melon and Black beauty grapes

      Sunday, September 9

      Lunch:
      Roasted beet and goat cheese with black truffle vinaigrette
      Turkey minestrone with Willie Bird turkey Italian sausage and Matos St. George cheese
      Vegetarian black bean chili topped with Bellwether crème fraiche
      Cheese-y toast (using leftover Acme, La Brea and Bennett Valley bread)

      Dinner:
      Italian sausage and turkey meatloaf
      Turkey and mushroom gravy
      Roasted sweet potatoes
      Sunburst squash baked with garlic butter

      Friday, September 14

      Lunch:
      Tomato bisque
      Grilled three-cheese sandwich (Spring Hill dry jack, Bellwether Carmody and Matos St. George on Full Circle sprouted wheat sourdough)
      Watermelon agua fresca

      Dinner:
      Steamed peppers stuffed with forcemeat of turkey and shrimp
      Stir-fried water spinach with garlic
      Shrimp and tomato fried rice
      Watermelon

      Saturday, September 15

      Lunch:
      Deviled Willie Bird turkey eggs
      South Indian okra fry
      Tomato rice
      Water spinach with fish sauce
      Chilled blackberry and Mancini Ranch zinfandel soup

      Dinner
      Garbure du Béarn
      Warm heirloom tomato salad with Bellwether Crescenza and basil
      Full Circle fugazi
      Fresh figs
      Boule d’or melon

      Sunday, September 16

      Lunch:
      Guiso of calabacitas
      Choripapas
      Corn tostaditas
      Avocados and radishes
      Mrs. Kinney’s pinto frijoles de olla
      Salsa fresca
      Bodega fresh goat cheese
      Cucumber and tomato agua fresca

      Birthday Dinner:
      Santi pate campagna
      Red zebra tomato and basil oil “poppers”
      Green herb soup with Bellwether crème fraiche
      Lapin a la moutarde
      (or Sunburst squash topped with herbed mushrooms as veggie option)
      Steamed fingerling potatoes
      Lulu’s courgette tian
      Mesclun salad with nasturtium petals and shallot vinaigrette
      Pears and local cheeses: Redwood Hill Camelia, Andante A Capella, Laura Chenel Tomme, Point Reyes Blue
      Della Fattoria sesame semolina, baguette, currant breads
      Schubert Bakery mango mousse birthday cake

      Monday, September 17

      Lunch:
      Thai eggplant and basil red curry

      Steamed brown basmati rice
      Cucumber sunomono
      Watermelon and feta salad with basil-lime dressing

      Dinner:
      Guacamole and Mi Ranchero tostaditas
      Korean potato salad and deviled turkey eggs
      Sopa de albondigas
      Jones rabbit liver and kidneys with onions sautéed in Spring Hill jersey butter
      Apples and pears with Bodega Goat Cheese natilla

      Friday, September 21

      Lunch:
      Wild salmon with sweet peppers and tomato curry sauce
      Spicy green bean wraps
      Steamed California Kohuko Rose rice

      Dinner:
      Tunisian maraqat of CK lamb and Trenton View quince

      Saturday, September 22

      Lunch:
      Tortilla espagnola de flor de calabasa
      Calabacitas with Bodega Goat queso fresco and tostaditas
      Preston’s Dry Creek Valley olives
      Saporito mostaccioli with rabbit ragu
      Salade de gesiers (duck gizzard confit with Ridgeview lettuce and Carrot-top arugula)
      Neighbor’s goat feta cheese with Sebastopol apple blossom honey

      Dinner:
      Tomato and St. George cheese puff pastry tart
      Duck and eggplant fesenjoon
      Steamed brown basmati rice
      Zucchini with mint meze
      Armenian cucumber and red onion salad
      Trenton View pear galette

      Friday, September 28

      Lunch:
      Beet carpaccio with Point Reyes Blue Cheese
      Deconstructed chile rellenos with carrot sauce
      Beet greens sautéed with garlic
      Potatoes fines herbes roasted in duck fat

      Dinner:
      Spring rolls (provided by Pete and Marla)
      Thai cucumber salad with bird chilis
      Eggplant, zucchini and basil Thai red curry
      Gai yang (Laotian barbecued chicken)
      Steamed Kohuko rose rice
      Thai crispy rice cakes

      Saturday, September 29

      Lunch:
      Chicken makhani
      Steamed brown basmati rice
      Chinese mustard greens with fish sauce
      Baked “preemie” zucchini with stuffed squash blossoms
      Garden lettuces and heirloom tomato salad
      Full Circle ciabatta bread
      Jimtown Store chopped olive spread
      Strawberry (freezer) lassi
      Apricot and vanilla ice cream parfait

      Dinner (Bacchus meeting):
      Tomato, basil and fromage blanc tart
      Carmelized onion and Point Reyes blue cheese tart

      Sunday, September 30

      Lunch:
      Russian River Valley vegetarian chili

      Saturday, October 13

      Lunch:
      Salad Nicoise with seared ahi tuna
      Oxtail, turnip, black bean and Chinese herbal soup
      Full Circle cranberry bread and strombolini

      Dinner:
      Healdsburg edamame
      Armenian cucumber sunomono with goma shio
      Fish-flavored Sichuan eggplant
      Tomato-beef stir fry
      Prawns, zucchini and basil Thai red curry
      Chinese brassica with oyster sauce
      Steamed Kohuko rose rice
      Fresh longan
      Thai crispy rice cakes
      Laloo’s spicy pumpkin goat milk ice cream

      Sunday, October 14

      Dinner:
      Black Sheep heritage pork chile verde
      Ortiz Brothers radishes
      “Pinky” frijoles de olla

      Friday, October 19:

      Lunch:
      Winter melon tonic soup
      Zucchini and mushroom lasagna with sherry besciamela
      Grilled Willowside duck sausages and flageolets
      Green Goddess salad
      Kabocha in dashi
      Chocolate chip cookies
      Irish soda bread with currants
      Bacon brittle

      Dinner:
      Cumin carrot salad
      Cheese-stuffed flatbread
      Cumin bread
      Mahi-mahi ala plancha with chermoula
      Tagine of CK lamb shanks, green olives and preserved Meyer lemons
      Quinoa
      Wilted mizuna with garlic
      Yogurt mousse with apricot puree
      Sesame cookies
      Lemon verbena tea

      Saturday, October 20

      Lunch:
      Kabocha and apple soup
      Tinga de pollo a estilo Poblana
      Avocados, cilantro, radishes, nopalitos, and red onions
      La Reyna corn tortillas
      Yellow rice with corn
      “Ojo de cabra” frijoles de abuela
      Zanahoria en escabeche
      Goat cheese baked in pipian sauce
      Milpero tomatillo salsa de molcajete
      Tamarindo agua fresca

      Dinner:
      Tarte flambé
      Choucroute garnie al Alsacienne
      Garden greens and end-of-summer tomatoes
      Bennett Valley pumpernickel rye bread
      Trenton View Asian pear, fuyu persimmons, and Bellwether “San Andreas” cheese

      Sunday, October 21

      Swedish brown bean and bacon soup
      Fingerling potatoes with cilantro vinaigrette
      Grilled prawns with fresh salsa verde
      Corn tortillas
      Garlic noodles
      Calabacitas with Bodega goat cheese
      Turnip greens
      Laloo’s raspberry frozen goat milk yogurt

      Dinner:
      Fra’ mani soppressata
      Turkey minestrone (winter version)
      2007 Trenton View Pinot Noir spaghetti with arugula
      Celery Caesar salad
      Laloo’s deep chocolate goat milk ice cream

      -----
      Joseph Swan Vineyards
      2916 Laguna Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        In another thread, PolarBear asked, "Found the great looking basic recipe Melanie, which calls for 4 Tbl rice wine vinegar, about how much Zin would you use to replace that amount? Also, care to reveal your spice blend? TIA

        Cheers,

        Dave"

        PolarBear, I have to confess that I don't do much measuring for the chili recipe. Zinfandel wine is not as tart as vinegar so you need to use more. In my case, the Zinfandel was grown in Russian River Valley, so had higher natural acidity than most. Also this winery's style veers away from overripeness and shows less oak influence. The amount you need will depend on the sweetness contributed by the tomatoes and the onions, you'll need to taste to find the right balance.

        The spice blend includes the chipotle grown and smoked by Tierra Vegetables in Sonoma County. It's available by mail order. I use the whole peppers, preferring them to powder. I also use Ancho and New Mexico chiles.

      2. This was published in the San DIego Union Tribune as dinners for under $10. Good luck. You can serve it with Rice or Quinona. If using Quinona, I like to add dried cranberies.

        You can prepare the night before and cook the day of.

        Chicken Thighs Roasted With Ginger, Chiles and Soy
        4 servings

        2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

        1/2 serrano chile, minced

        2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

        1/4 cup soy sauce

        1 tablespoon vinegar

        1 tablespoon brown sugar

        1 teaspoon oil

        8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

        Combine all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag or glass bowl. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken, skin-up, in a baking dish just large enough to hold the pieces in one layer. Pour all remaining marinade over the chicken and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until skin is crisp and chicken is well cooked. Serve with the baking juices. (From chef Deborah Schneider of Premier Foods at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Race Track)