We start with menu ideas a couple of months out. Then we fret over the menu items. Will they all appeal to a wide group with varied preferences? Are we safe but not boring? We like spicy, but the general public might not. Can we cook the whole menu on the Big Green Egg?
Next, we make a list of the endless ingredients for all the dishes. Ok, got that. Now how much? Have you ever cooked 500 samples of three different dishes? Do we have enough? The next big question is, how can we stage our ingredients, our people, and our assembly line so that we can go like crazy and keep up with demand while making great food consistently?
This year, we really bit off more than we could chew! Sorry, but that line has been trying to get out for years! Our menu had three dishes this year. It was funny, but the simplest dish turned out to be the hardest one to execute on Big Green Egg Day. More on that in a minute.
Menu For the Day:
We started our soup by halving fresh ripe tomatoes, onions, and garlic and getting a good sear on them on the Egg. We added the veggies to a blender and made soup, seasoning with S&P, some secret spices, and fresh basil. That all went into a large pot to cook until service, and then we added a little cream. Our grilled cheese was a four-cheese blend of cream cheese, bleu cheese, muenster, and of course, American Cheese. We staged the sandwiches on Wonder Bread, added a little margarine, and started cooking them on the Egg. This was the hardest dish of all to pull off. Either the fire was too hot and the bread burned before the cheese melted, or the fire was too cool, and we couldn’t get anything done fast enough or brown enough. Those sandwiches took 100% attention for each and every one of them!
The Sicilian sandwiches were created from butterflied pork tenderloin, marinated in olive oil and garlic, and then grilled. Our broccoli rabe was touched with EVOO, and grilled to a light char. We assemble these ingredients on a fresh baguette, with a roasted red pepper and garlic aioli slathered on the insides of the baguette.
Our Steak and Tater-Tot dish started with an 1855 Black Angus Flap steak, S&P, and a really hot grill to get a quick seal and char. We then took tater-tots cooked the previous evening and scattered them all over the grill tops to again, get a nice set of grill marks to them. Then it came to the sauces. We made a traditional chimichurri of parsley, cilantro, oregano, and garlic, a red wine and blueberry reduction with ancho chilis and grated horseradish and sour cream topping that had a touch of lemon and Worcestershire sauce in it.
This was our fourth year at the Big Green Eggfest, and their fourth year too. This year, they had a surprise for us. We were moved into the Professional division! This event has grown to become quite a substantial day. This year was bigger than ever! We served over 2,400 servings in just a couple of hours, dished out by our great team! Meeting people, making them happy with food by showing them new things to eat, joking, shaking hands when we could, and feeling happily overwhelmed all at the same time made this wonderful tradition a terrific team-building event for all of us. Working in the heat of the “kitchen,” elbow to elbow while hollering for orders and supplies at the same time, has forged us into a very tight group of friends. This event has taught us how to work together on individual responsibilities within the context of a group effort. Sounds a lot like a sports team, doesn’t it? And that is why we enjoy this event so much!
Sunshine Ace Hardware started this event to support some great community cases. Today’s beneficiaries include Farm City BBQ supporting United Way, Kiwanis, Rotary Club of Bonita Beach Sunset, and Leadership Collier Foundation to support our local children.
We at PBS are very proud to support, participate and have fun on a spring day in Bonita Springs!
First-place People’s Choice Awards went to Bart Zino of PBS Contractors in the Pro Division!
View the gallery from the event here: 2023 Sunshine Ace Hardware EGGfest