When you’re on the line serving lunch, people can become testy if there’s not enough of something. This becomes especially apparent if the vegetarian entree dish quickly disappears. Even the carnivore crowd starts to complain about the lack of an extra entree for them to eat. And as the steam from the hot line starts to make my mascara melt and the metal tongs quickly become scalding hot (a fact I always forget and pick up without caution), if someone starts to complain about a depleted dish 45 minutes after lunch began, well, I feel like roasting them…and that’s a euphemism.
So when I was tasked with the vegetarian entree today, I made sure that no one would complain about a lack of chickpeas and wild rice. (Even the people whose plates are so packed they wouldn’t have room to fit it if we still had some. Yeah, I’m talking about you guys.)
I have a love affair with both chickpeas and wild rice. Chickpeas develop a creamy center if you have time to cook them long enough, that is. Ours were slightly al dente for the first two trays that went out, but the rest of service was perfect. We boiled these beans in a spicy soffrito broth and served it on a bed of perfectly seasoned wild rice. I love the texture of wild rice, and apparently Chef Sixto does too because he whispered in my ear during service to save him some if there were any leftovers. And today, there were. I didn’t have to endure any whining from the other side of the lunch line.
Sidenote: When service is over, and we begin to prep for the tomorrow’s meal or clean up after lunch, we let our hair down. And my classmates were super sweet to ask pastry to bring up a cake for my birthday. And the best part? It was a Hanukkah cake. (I’m not Jewish.)
TIP OF THE DAY: When making rice, don’t just salt your water–add in lots of aromatics: Bay leaves, thyme, garlic, parsley. Whatever your taste buds desire, add it to your heavily salted water.