For the most part, all the performers eat with the volunteers. They eat the same food in the same blue and white tent as all of us. On some occasions we have performers who request special meals. They might cite health reasons, religious reasons, cultural differences, but for whatever reasons they give we try to accommodate. This performers are on the road for a large part of their lives and it is important for themselves to keep themselves healthy and happy. Sometimes, the "green room" crew takes care of the performers food. Sometimes they come to me.
This year, i was asked to make fish for Emmy Lou Harris. "Anything but salmon, she is sick of salmon", I was told. So I thought, because she is in Manitoba, i'll cook her pickerel. I wanted to keep the fish in the same flavour profiles as the rest of the dinner, so I floured the pickerel with chick pea flour that i seasoned with a little cumin, and then served it with lime and chives.
A couple of days later, we were asked to make a special meal for Etran Finatawa, a band from Niger. When they came for lunch, they asked for rice. The chicken in salsa verde was going to be good, but they needed lots of rice. So Danielle ran out front (in our little golf cart) and got rice from the East India Company. For dinner, I was asked to make a meat curry and a veg curry with lots of rice. That evening, we were serving a greek inspired dinner with grilled lamb and an eggplant moussaka. So I took the ingredients and twisted them to make a lamb curry, an eggplant and chick pea curry and rice (this time we made the rice).
Emmy Lou Harris's Chick Pea Flour Pickerel
4 boneless fillets of Manitoba pickerel
1/2 cup chick pea flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp chopped chives (or green onion)
1. combine flour with cumin, salt and cayenne. Dredge pickerel in this mixture
2. heat oil in a pan and add butter.
3. fry pickerel on one side for about a minute and a half. flip and fry the other side for the same.
4. Sprinkle pickerel with chives and lime zest. serve with lime segments.
Etran Finatwa's Lamb Curry
2 lbs boneless lamb leg, cut into stew sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger minced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cinnamon stick
dried chilies (as hot as you like it)
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups water or stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1. In a heavy bottomed pot brown the lamb. Do this in batches so you get nice colour. remove lamb from pot.
2. add onions carrots and celery to pot and cook till onions start to brown. Add spices and cook for a couple minutes. Put lamb back in pot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the mint and cilantro. Stew lamb on low heat for about 2 hours. (If you are a slow cooker type, this would work great in one of those) until it is very tender.
3. mixed chopped herbs into stew. serve with rice.
Etran Finatawa Eggplant and Chick Pea Curry
1 tbsp oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch dice
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander seed
chilies to taste
1 can chickpeas, drained, or one cup dried chick peas soaked and cooked
1 cup apple juice
1. in heavy pot sauté onions and peppers until onions are caramelized a little. Add eggplant and spices, sauté for a few minutes.
2. Add chickpeas and apple juice. Cover and simmer for about 1/2 an hour. Veggies should be tender and all the flavours nicely combined. Serve this with rice