Thursday, February 2, 2012

How Brent Does Vegetables

Our church has a chef, not that every church needs to have one.  But ours is a dandy.  Brent Southcombe, an Australian/New Zealand chef,  settled in our city and wanted to use our church's  professional kitchen to teach refugees kitchen skills that would get them great jobs in great restaurants.

So far, so good.

We fell in love with the refugees, who've lived through horrendous things, and come out the other side with serious cooking skills and more than ready to work.  And work hard.  As a trade-off, Brent cooks one meal a week for our congregation and his students help serve.   It turns out to be a mixture of a French cuisine and  ethnic foods.  We love Brent too.

Last night we had Morroccan Beef, which our teens promptly called Rockin' Beef.  That more than pleased Brent.  But his real gift to us, as a church family, is that he's got our little kids and our teens loving vegatables.  They come back for more and and more, and lots of those kids, who had vegetarian tendencies, anyway, feast on Brent's proper way of doing vegies.  Here's how he does it.

Step 1:  Clean and cut the veg into mouth-sized bits.  He prepares galloons of vegetables: carrots, yellow squash, red peppers, green beans, et al.  He covers them with a clean, moist towel and puts them in the fridge.

Step 2: Rehydrate the veg.  He has a simmering pot of water on the stove and he puts about a cup of veg in a colander and give the vegetable a quick dip in the hot water.  Not more than 30 seconds.  He drains them.

Step 3:  He puts a skim of olive oil in a beat up skillet and heats it until the oil shimmers.  Then he puts the veggies in the oil, adds 1/2 tablespoon butter and salt to taste.  The veg get a quick toss, a time or two, until they are heated through, not more than a minute—and served.

They are exquisite.

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