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It was snowing when I left home to deliver my latest concoction to the hardy souls at Occupy Poughkeepsie. On a very cold night like last night, it's essential to have good, hot food to keep the body warm and fueled.
I was in the park on Wed night for a meeting of Occupy Poughkeepsie Moms and Dads and while I was there, I discovered among the donated food: 6 large eggplants, 3 cans of garbanzo beans, a can of black olives, and many boxes of dried pasta. I can make something with that!
If you've read any of my other blog posts, you won't be surprised to learn that I started cooking by chopping up garlic and onions and sauteing them in oil in the bottom of a soup pot. In this case, I used a whole head of garlic. While that was cooking, I washed and cubed 4 of the eggplants.
I added 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes along with the eggplant, a pound of sliced mushrooms, some water and about 1 cup of tomato juice that I had in the 'fridge. I couldn't actually fit all the eggplant into the pot, so I let it simmer for a while and after it had cooked down a bit I added the rest of it.
I seasoned the sauce with dried Italian herb blend, dried oregano, dried basil, black pepper, soy sauce, a squirt of Sriracha sauce and just a touch of sugar. This simmered for most of the afternoon. At some point, I chopped up 2 sweet red peppers, and the can of olives and added them and 3 drained cans of garbanzo beans to the pot.
I cooked 3 lbs of pasta in boiling water in my largest soup pot. 3 boxes, 3 shapes: rotini, rotelle, & rigatoni. When it was al dente, I drained it and poured it into a large aluminum serving tray. I poured the eggplant sauce over the pasta and mixed it all together. As I was getting ready to load it and 2 cans of sterno into my car, I looked out the window and saw the first snow of the season!
Here's what the camp looked like when I arrived.
By the time I got to Poughkeepsie, it was a wet snow, mixed with rain. Let me tell you, it was cold down there! I was glad I was able to keep the food warm with the sterno because as people arrived they really needed something warm in their bellies.
It's a great feeling to give a hungry, cold person a steaming hot plate of food.