You want our recipe? Step into my office.
So you want the recipe for those Coconut Macaroons? How do we make that Organic Turkey soup with wild rice and mushrooms so rich? We’ll get to those secrets soon enough but first we’ve got to interview you and get you trained.
You’re one of us now.
Aloha, how nice to meet you! We’re happy you want to enter into a relationship with us at the Kilauea Bakery. In your case we will be filling the kitchen slave position. Sorry, you’ve got to start at the bottom like everyone else.
Let’s begin; Do you have a phone number? A car? Do you live in your car? No? Excellent. Do you have a pulse? Any experience in the kitchen? Yes? How much? We’re hoping for a little but not too much. That’s the kind of experience we need. If it’s actual professional commercial kitchen experience and you actually know something then we may have a problem. We can’t use you. Demographically that puts you into the column of someone who will only put up with us for as long as it takes to get a better paying and more prestigious job at a nearby resort hotel. You young professionals don’t take us seriously. It’s as if we’re a small no account Pizza joint. Why is a Bakery or Pizza shop any less respectable than a “fine” dinner restaurant? Maybe it’s the white chef coat or the air conditioning. Air conditioning… you may have a point.
Oh, what's that? You like the concept of cooking? You don’t have any commercial kitchen experience but you bake a lot at home? You’ve been a customer for years and it always looked like it’d be fun to work here? Did you just say you’ve just left a well paying professional career and now you need to stay active and would love to work with people? We’re sorry for taking up your time. Thanks for coming in but this just won’t work out between us.
Wait, I see from your application that you’re young and new to the island and have some work experience at Starbucks. Hmmm, you’re not too big to squeeze around in this pathetically crowded kitchen. Not too short to reach heavy things on the high shelves. You appear strong and energetic, good teeth and healthyenough. I observe no scabs and good color in the face but the hair will need to be tied back. We can’t do much about the tattoos and tongue stud but that’s what they’re wearing these days. You live in a house and not on the beach? Good, because we only hire the homeless after hurricanes. You seem able to put words and thoughts together quickly and have a generally sunny disposition. Maybe we can use you.
How long do you plan to live here on Kauai? You just moved here with your best friend and you’re going to stay forever? They all say that. Well, we’ll try you out. By my estimate you’re good for the average six months to a year if you can keep it together. If you can pay the rent, if you can keep your car running and get here on time, if you don’t hike into the Kalalau valley never to return. Camping there with the other neo-natives and naked survivalists can be habit forming.
Can you start now?
But first the training.
But first the training.But you have no experience in the kitchen? Oh my god, are we starting from scratch? Can you hold a knife in one hand without cutting the other? Do you smoke? Are your hands clean? If you smoke add up the accumulated time you spend leaving the kitchen, smoking in the designated smoking area, coming back inside, washing your hands and eventually getting back to work. Deduct that time from your regular thirty-minute break. Do you have any music? Bring it with you because if we have to spend another day with our old tunes we’re going to have a mutiny.
You’re hot? There are no more electrical outlets left to plug fans in. We’ve cut holes and added windows to as many walls as possible. So you’re just going to have to deal with the heat. Wear thinner clothing. Now sit down and read this, come back in half an hour and we’ll get to work.
Kilauea Bakery Policies
1. Be aware of where your hands are at all times. Few people do this. Everything we prepare is put into someone’s mouth. Wash your hands often during your shift, especially between transitions. For instance between petting your dog and cooking one of our fine soups. Keep your nails clean, tie your hair back, keep from habitually touching your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and face. Keep your hands above your waist and below your neckline. Wipe and clean with sanitized towels often.
2. Arrive at work combed, shaven, neat, cleanly dressed, and deodorized. If you’re the type who needs a little deodorant please don’t make us remind you to use it. It’s not that we won’t, it’s just that the suggestion will create an awkward situation for the both of us.
3. Please dress appropriately. No midriffs, arm-pit hair, or navels exposed. Skirts and shorts should be long enough to allow for bending over without exposing yourself. This is a family joint we nurture dietary appetites not sexual ones.
4. Cook while straight and awake. Not stoned, buzzed or drunk. In the readers case, you are of course in the privacy of your own home. Just don’t cut yourself.
5. Work safely; be sure your mind is on the task at hand when you are handling knives or any of the kitchen tools. Beware of distractions, concentrate. No cuts, no burns, no errors!
6. Manage yourself. Don’t be a safety lawnmower, you know the kind, every time the driver lets go of the handle the motor dies. Keep yourself busy. Feel free to talk and tell stories, if you can move your hands and your lips at the same time. If you have to stop working in order to tell a story you might make a good committee member, politician or construction worker but not a cook for the Kilauea Bakery.
Do you ever attempt to recreate complicated recipes with only a quick glance into the cookbook?
Do you ever think you can make something turn out even though you’ve made substitutions for most of the original ingredients. Do you think that your hands are accurate measuring devises?
Do you ever sometimes have to say you’re sorry as you serve your food?
Or do you ever fake it when you’re not quite sure what you’re doing in the kitchen?
If so, don’t let it bother you. Whether you know it or not, you are a practitioner of an exciting, zesty, adventurous style of cooking! Here in Kilauea, we call it “Risky Cookery”. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, even if you wish you had answered yes, come and join the team! Welcome aboard as a new member of Team Risky. Coupled with a grasp of basic cooking skills, you will be expected to cook and eat with the best of them on the gourmet circuit.
Now get risky! Bon Appetite!
Creamy Garlic and Blue Cheese Dressing, a recipe.
We cook 34,000 bowls of soup a year. The pastries, breads, soups and pizza’s we serve are not just comforting to eat and enjoy. They are comforting to prepare, to cut and mix, cook and knead. Soup is good. It allows for creativity. It can be as challenging and enjoyable as the energy you put into it. I may never tire of starting a soup by grabbing a favorite knife, setting out vegetables on a wooden cutting board and cutting them up. (Beginners please keep band-aids available)
But first two things. They say I shouldn’t give my recipes away. Am I afraid someone will take them and go open their own place? Refer to the “Humor/Tragedy” thread. I figure if someone thinks it’s the recipes that make a restaurant they can take these, rent a building and get started. Hoarding them would also be a mistake karmically as well. Let he who has never hijacked a recipe withhold his own.
The real reason I’ve avoided the actual recipes is the work involved converting them faithfully to cups and teaspoons, or parts, or percentages. You’re going to have reduce our working formulas. I suggest converting by ratio. Look for that new book out called “Ratios; The simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking”, it will help. For instance this dressing is 2 to 1 (mayo to milk). Want three cups of dressing? Start with 2 cups mayo and 1 cup milk.
Method; See the dashes between the numbers in the recipe? That’s how we illustrate pounds and ounces. If the dash is on the left of a number it refers to ounces. If the dash is on the right, pounds. 10-8? Ten pounds, eight ounces.
This recipe makes about 28 pounds or 3 1/2 Gallons. Notice the instructions for putting lemon juice in the milk. Adding lemon juice to the milk sours it. It’s a quick substitute for buttermilk when baking. You’re thinking “Why don’t you just order buttermilk?” Sorry with 60 quarts 1/2 & 1/2, 100 pounds of butter, 45 gallons of milk and 120 dozen eggs on the shelf in the cooler each week there’s no room for buttermilk.
Measure out your ingredients. 2 cups mayo, 1 cup soured milk, a few good pinches of salt and herbs, slightly less pepper, a bit of garlic (minced and cooked slightly in oil or butter.) and a good chunk of Gorgonzola cheese. Blend it, chill it and serve. This dressing is my best effort at reconstructing our family’s favorite dressing from the pizza parlor in the town where I grew up, Biagio’s. Now it’s everyones favorite here in Kilauea.
This recipe is now yours to hijack. Feel like using buttermilk? Buy a quart, drink 2/3’s of it. Put a cup in your dressing instead of soured milk. It may turn out tasting better. It may also turn into something the consistency of thick mud. If it does you’ve just joined our team. Team Risky Cookery. Try adding milk to thin it, then more seasoning to balance the flavor, etc. etc. Soon, I think technically it’s after the recipe has changed by 15%, you will be able to call it your own creation!
Gorgonzola cheese 3-12
Italian seasoning 4 Tbl
salt 4 Tbl
pepper 4 tsp
milk/lemon 1 Gl (with 3 Tbl lemon juice per quart)
Before you can cook something you must first prepare it by assembling, measuring and cutting the ingredients. In the case of soup begin with a cutting board, a knife, a heavy cast iron pot, a wooden spoon and an onion.
Guys if you’re new to cooking look at it this way. There’s a gear element to cooking that makes it very much a guy thing. I just said get a knife and cutting board. Here’s the opportunity to purchase and handle a lethally sharp instrument. Get a really good knife. Get the best possible knife for the job. If you really get involved with cooking soon you will need a whole kit of knives. It’s kind of like having a set of sockets or open-end wrenches, one for each job. You may be thrilled to find out that some Chefs keep their knives in real toolboxes.
For most kitchen work we prefer 10” inch utility chef knives with a stainless steel blade and a clean white polycarbonate handle. The brand is Dexter-Russell. Our choice of knife is not the common choice of most “gourmet” cooks. Most cooks with the money purchase fancy knives with triple riveted hardwood handles and hardened steel blades. The objection to this style is that they seem to get dull about as fast as any other knife yet they are annoyingly difficult to sharpen. In addition the steel is brittle, it chips and breaks easily and they often cost three times the price of a good utility grade Dexter-Russell knife.
Search for just the right cutting board. In a craft as simple as food preparation with only two or three key pieces of gear they should feel good to work with. We prefer a cutting board to be large in surface area but not in thickness, 24” square by ½’ thick and made of hardwood. Where is the satisfaction of paring a good chef knife through an onion and connecting with a rattling piece of plastic, nylon or Formica? Get a board with enough surface area on it so that you can cut and stack your food in little piles, like paint on a pallet. This way, when you’re ready to start cooking, you can hold the board over your pot and drop the ingredients into the hot pan in an orderly manner with the flick of that cool chef knife.
As for the soup pot I recommend finding a thick-bottomed six-quart, cast iron pot with a heavy lid. At home I use a cast iron “Dutch Oven” called the Drip Drop Baster. It comes down from my mother. If inanimate objects can have soul this is the soul of our kitchen. Cast iron cookware absorbs flavor, history and I feel it holds generations of love that have been cooked into it. For generations we have cooked food in it to heal the common cold and sooth stressed lives. It has frequently been carried, full of steaming soup, into homes as a source of comfort in tough times.
Kilauea Bakery Soup Guidelines
1. All soups will be hearty, filling and substantial, even clear soups.
2. We don’t do delicate soups. Not that you shouldn’t and the following methods will apply if you want to try a Consommé’ or a Gazpacho. It’s just that we consider Consommé’ closer to a tea and Gazpacho to be incorrectly classified, it’s either a salsa or a smoothie depending on whether you prefer vegetables or fruits.
3. Bakers use formulas and measure everything. Cooks us recipes and recipes are merely guidelines.
4. Most people decide to eat a menu item with their sense of sight, smell and taste, in that order. If it doesn’t look and smell good it won’t be acceptable even if it tastes great. We serve four soups a day, mixing texture, color, flavor, cultural orientation and dietary preference, (with or without dairy, vegetarian, vegan, etc.) in order to please as many people as possible.
5. Quality ingredients make quality meals. For example if you plan on eating a raw foods dinner and leave out any kind of smooth lip smacking fat you pretty much will get what you deserve.
6. Quality ingredients make quality meals, how much time and propane do you have? Homemade soup stock is far superior to using a quality soup stock base. Don’t waste any bones, peelings or roasting juices boil them with water and make chicken, beef, fish, seafood or vegetable soup stock. In the event you don’t have the time and energy for making your stock use a quality bullion concentrate, prepared stock or powdered soup base. The difference between using water and stock for the liquid ingredient in soup is… wateriness. A stock has an infusion of protein, sugars and seasoning ingredients that add depth to a soups. It adds a complex background to the individual ingredients. That background can be developed adequately with hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, sugars and seasonings. That’s why you see recipes with ingredients like; Soy sauce, Miso, Worcestershire sauce, A-1 steak sauce, caramelized onions and Chicken, beef or vegetable bullion. Find a good vegetable based soup stock powder in a health food store or use one of the above substitutions where appropriate. Avoid MSG and too much salt.
Denial is for wet Egyptians
If you’re going to cook a Vegetarian style soup make it vegan. Make it gluten free and dairy free but lets try to at least make it seem rich, thick and savory. Our experience tells us that vegan and Vegetarian eaters still crave the perception of rich, oily or sweet foods even if they don’t contain animal fats or sucrose. From the opposite tack, if you’re making a meaty soup don’t mess around, saute’ in butter, finish with cream, thicken with roux and put enough meat in it to leave no doubt as to it’s identity.
Crisp, fresh soup; An oxymoron
Soup is an infusion of various foods that produce a deep, warming and comforting flavor. It is often described as better the second day. Yet be careful not to cook it to death. Preserve ample amounts of color and texture. Colors of vegetables fade, pasta and potatoes get mushy and dissolve and dairy products like milk, cream or cheese can break and separate when cooked too long. We have a few tricks for keeping soup from getting over cooked.
A. Soup is done when it’s done and not a minute longer. When the beans or pasta are soft, when the rice or barley are tender the soup is done. This way it can be reheated and become richer instead of overcooked.
B. Pasta, rice and grains can be cooked separately and added to the soup after the soup is finished boiling. This prevents the vegetables from over cooking while you wait for the pasta, rice or grains to become tender. It makes it easier to estimate how much pasta, rice or grain to add so you may avoid turning your soup into a pot of cement. Finally this technique helps you avoid burned soup as grains and pasta tend to stick to the bottom of the pot and scorch.
C. Add ingredients to your soup pot in the order of which will take the longest to cook.
The Vegan Tyranny
We tolerate intolerance
As Bob Dylan says, “You always have to serve somebody.” We serve and obey four or five hundred of our closest friends everyday. Humans are Omnivores. It seems that as a succesful organism we can adapt to practically any food source. What does that mean? Some interpret it to mean they can eat everything. Yet in a world of choices some people interpret this result of evolution as an opportunity to evolve spiritually and meta-physically through a host of rigid dietary restrictions. With so many real or imagined dietary restrictions we try to help everyone, the gluten intolerant, the lactose intolerant, the pre-diabetic, the vegetarian and of course the vegan tyrant…
You will find that all of our soups are gluten free. It was easier than we thought to eliminate wheat from our soups and important for a segment of our customers with true Celiac disease or a bothersome intolerance to gluten. We suggest that taking these restrictive requests as a cooks challenge. Can you make a chowder without seafood, wheat, potatoes or dairy products? See below for our best efforts.
Among our other soups you will find whole classes that accommodate special diets. Take for instance the Cold creamed Mackerel soup for that rare person who believes they are descended from Atlantic mermen…
We try to please our customers, god we try. If they want bread without wheat we’ll make it, Pizza without wheat or cheese? You want what? Ah, yes sir, no problem. We’ll even make you a “Why bother” Latte’. That would be a double decaf Latte’ with nonfat milk and sugar free vanilla syrup. Why bother?
We have one customer with a challenged appetite who has quized us quite often. One day he said, “I love your soups but onions make me gassy. Can’t you make some of your soups onion free?” In this rare case it was without hesitation that we replied decisively, No.
A fresh onion is hard and crispy like an apple. There is a satisfying resonance when pulling a knife blade through it. The onion has sustained civilizations. Ulysses S. Grant would not move his army without onions. Abe Lincoln had to send him three train cars full to get the civil war off to a good start. In Egypt the onion was a symbol of eternity because of its circular design. The bulb shaped dome and pointy top of the Russian Orthodox Church is designed after the onion. Captain Cook would not set sail from England until his sailors had each eaten twenty pounds of onions.
A few favorite quotes;
“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time; And sometimes you weep.”—Carl Sandburg, American poet
“For this is every cook’s opinion, No savory dish without an onion; But lest your kissing should be spoiled, Your onions should be thoroughly boiled.”—Jonathon Swift, Irish satirist
“It’s probably illegal to make soups, stews, and casseroles without plenty of onions.”— Maggie Waldron
“The onion and its satin wrappings is among the most beautiful of vegetables and is the only one that represents the essence of things. It can be said to have a soul.”— My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner
I once had a bout with the building trades. My thumb is permanently flattened from hitting it several times enthusiastically with a 24 ounce steel framing hammer. I soon realized I couldn’t endure the learning curve of another trade. It took me over ten years to stop cutting the tip of my index finger with my trusty chef knife. But I’m getting away from the point, there is a parable here. I learned from builders that what defines civilization is the straight line. This too is what defines civilized food preparation. You grasp vegetables or meats, pieces of uncivilized nature and with a blade of some sort convert it into organized pieces of material that cook uniformly and are appetizing to look at and consume.
The beautiful thing about cutting onions is that because of the concentric separations inside they are already cut in one direction. To finish the job nature started follow these instructions; Cut a small portion off the top and bottom of a fresh, crisp onion and score a thin line through the skin. Peel the skin off the onion. Holding the onion on the cutting board top-side up cut it in half down the middle. Lay the two pieces on the cutting board flat side down. Slice through the length of one of the halves several times. The trick here is to leave a little bit at the end uncut so that you can then rotate the sliced onion hemisphere 90 degrees on the cutting board without it falling apart. Proceed to turn it on the board 90 degrees and slice the onion half again several times perpendicular to your last cuts. The onion will fall away into little squares until you get to the stub at the end, whack this last bit a few times and instead of randomly chopping an onion into a rough pile you have used the original design of the onion and three or four simple maneuvers to make a neat pile of uniformly diced pieces.
Repeat the process to the other half and you’ve got a whole diced onion. If you need more than one onion like we often do, say you’ve got to prepare two hundred of them, proceed in Henry Ford style. Separate the job into stages. Cut the ends and score all your onions first, then peel them, then cut them all in half and finally dice all the halves. I like the “Henry Ford” style because I’m essentially lazy and find that the most efficient way of doing something suits me most of the time.