Michigan ~ Day 20

Ahhhh!!! I completely forgot to blog about the skewered bacon-wrapped liver we served on a bed of caramelized onions, and the kohlrabi “chips” and dip that Scott gave me complete creative freedom on. He was pleased (“impressed” was the word he used) with how I decided to arrange the thinly-sliced kohlrabi and said that my dip was delicious at the first taste. Lol. It was… mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, a ton of basil chiffonade, kosher salt, ground white pepper, and garlic which I worked down to a paste on the board with olive oil and more kosher salt. Good stuff =)

Yesterday, I looked out the window of the tasting room and saw cows, clearly outside of the fence. “Um, Ben? I see cows.” Ben took a moment to take it in, then headed outside, telling me to get Jimmy or Pat to help chase them back in. There was one that Ben told me to watch out for because he was ‘feisty.’ It was headed towards Pat and Pat stood his ground and it swerved away, but then a little later, I was faced with it heading in my direction for a few seconds. Oh, there are six cows and currently four calves. Pat had to chase one around the chicken coop, and then we saw that one just jumped through the electric fence. No wonder they’re getting out. One of the calves, poor thing, couldn’t figure out how to get around the gate. It kept on butting against the gate in a frenzy and got its neck stuck between two of the bars, pushed the gate open in the other direction, and finally backed out haphazardly after carrying the gate a good five feet and heading back over to its mother.

And then later that afternoon, the sheep got into the tomatoes!!! Well, two of them did, anyway. Sharon and Ollie and I tried to help fence them in whilst Ben did the actual catching and consequently had sheep fuzzies all over his tasting room shirt. That took even longer than chasing the cows… To make matters worse, there was a mother with very small children at the playground, and one of the sheep decided to head over in that direction. I got between the sheep and the kids, but I have no idea what I would have done if it had decided to charge towards me. Ben apologized, and the mother replied that it was ok, but I noted the high-pitched you’re-kidding-right? note at the end of her sentence. I felt bad… What if it had been their first time there?? Great impression… Cows and sheep both on the loose in one day. We’re lucky there weren’t any kids around when the cows got out.

Yesterday, the homily focused on Mt 7:20, Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. “We’ve got all these people who seem to be concerned about important things, about the poor and the weak and the vulnerable, but they allow the murder of the most weak and the most vulnerable among us, the pre-borns. Today we celebrated St. Irenaeus and Father gave us a little history on his role with regards to the Canon of the Bible. He went on a bit of a side track to express how much it drives him crazy (his exact words) when people speak of Catholicism as a denomination; “We are the Church, founded by Christ, we are not a denomination. Denominations are those who split away from the Church, hopefully with the intention of eventually returning back to Her once their error was resolved, but then they kind of took off in another direction and became something on their own…”

Oh, short sad note… Two dead baby lambs were found by guests in the barn. Sharon went to look and completely missed them because they were still in their sacs and hadn’t even been licked off. Today, Kelly came into the kitchen and told me that this morning, one of the sheep had been foaming at the mouth and was terribly sick. We think that the stillborns were hers. =( I’m not sure if they were buried or burned…

I cleaned out the reach-ins today and transferred things to smaller containers – thank you, Jared =) – and Scott came in and found an empty jar…

Scott: So, what did you do with the green corn salsa?
me: I put it into a smaller container.
Scott: You put it into a smaller container.
me: Yep.
Scott: That’s very interesting.
me: I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not…
Scott: No, I mean, normally I would do it; I’m not used to someone else who knows their supposed to do it.
me: Honestly, unnecessarily large containers drive me crazy.
Josie: Unnecessary how?
me: Like, two ounces of stuff in a thirty-two ounce container.
Scott: Yeah. It’s scary how much we have in common. That may be dangerous.

I didn’t get music on until 4… I probably would have gotten a bit more done if I’d gotten it on sooner, but maybe it wasn’t that obvious, because Scott came in and asked, “So, was it slow today, or are you just that good? Or a bit of both?” Basically I’d asked for his help on the line for about ten minutes and then had had the line entirely to myself for the rest of service. I considered carefully and went with slow =) But hey, prep, I was having the time of my life…

I started 50# of redskins for potato salad, they just needed to be boiled. I had to do it in three batches because we only have one large pot that’s heavily-bottomed enough. Meanwhile, I started chopping mustard greens. Scott had said the last time that I’d done it that I didn’t need to chop it anywhere near as finely as I had. So I didn’t. And then he came by and said, “So… I’m not telling you to re-chop it, but even though I know I told you you didn’t have to chop it that fine, how you did it worked pretty well.” I started re-chopping. “What, I told you that you didn’t have to-” “Scott. Seriously? You know I’m going to re-chop it.” “Well, yeah, I guess I should know you better.” I chopped 5/6ths of one of the super giant tubs and saved the rest for the wedding. Potatoes were still going, so I started on the grilled veg… Eight bell peppers, six red onions, a case of zucchini; Scott came over and expressed approval at my multi-tasking like crazy =) I had two cutting boards out, sliced the peppers and marinated them, sliced the zucchini and marinated that, roasted the peppers in a perf pan on the grill while slicing and marinating red onions, pulled the peppers out and roasted the onions while grilling zucchini and chopping roasted peppers in between stirs and turns… “Like a BOSS,” as Paco would say. I made good time and Scott said they – the zucchini – looked beautiful. Sure tasted great =)

For some reason, Scott’s compliments over the past couple of kitchen shifts made me think of something Chief once told me, about how he hadn’t been complimented as a young chef and he eventually realized that he didn’t need the compliments because it was more important for him to know in himself that he was a good chef, but now that he was in that mentoring position, he wasn’t in the habit of giving out compliments either. There’s some truth to that, but I think if a body’s not hankering after compliments, honest and genuine compliments from a mentor that one trusts and respects are healthy. I know that I’m a lot more comfortable asking questions and much more receptive to both direction and correction. Chief has a point, but I can’t help thinking he’s colder for it all.
Anyway, Mommy’s package came!!!! Coconut milk and sesame oil and rice and a kleen kanteen and mango/pineapple treats =D I got a letter from Colton, too! I enjoyed my mail over dinner with Tim, Jake, and KK… I made myself rice to have with the kale I cooked a couple of days ago, and KK gave me a mound of plantain that Jake had fried and three large wedges of avocado for dessert =) KK’s smoking three fish outside right now. It smells SOOOOO good, I noticed it as soon as I opened the car door.

OH SNAP, Ben had poured tastings of the 2011 and the 2010 Riesling yesterday, gotten distracted by talking to people, and then didn’t remember which glass was which. Well, he wasn’t going to serve them wrong, so he saved the pours for us, divided them, and we had a blind taste test. HAH, I won =) I knew the 2011 from the 2010 just from the nose. Win.

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