About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alternative Energy & Buildings Tour

This weekend is the annual local Alternative Energy & Buildings Tour and we've been asked back again, for the 5th year in a row, to cater the lunch for the group.
About the tour
For $25 you get to visit 5 or 6 homes and businesses in northeast AZ area that operate sustainably to one degree or another with various types of alternative building methods and off-grid energy solutions employed. This year I understand that there is a Geodesic Dome, a Yurt, a Log Home, a Straw Bale Home and a "Earthship" on the tour.  Various systems of solar power and or water pumping, wind power etc are in use in these buildings, some of which are attached to grid power and some of which are completely off-grid.  The tour is expected to take about 5 hours, plus a stop for lunch (included in the price).
About the lunch
This is not a fancy-feast event.  The folks at Val-U-Solar, who put the tour on every year have rented a meeting room at the Comfort Inn in Taylor AZ where we'll be setting up the buffet.  Here's the menu:
BBQ Chicken Lunch Buffet
BMR Fresh Goat Cheese Platter (Four varieties with crackers and toasts)
Tossed Green Salad
Salad Bar accompaniments and 2 dressings
Red Potato Salad
BBQ and Grilled chicken
Confetti Corn with roast sweet peppers
Cornbread with honey butter
Homemade cookie/brownie tray
Assorted hand-made chocolates (Goats Milk Fudge, Chocolate Truffles, English Toffee, Vanilla Bean Caramels)
Carrot cake with fresh goat cheese icing
Assorted beverages (iced tea, sodas, water)
This tour, which regularly draws attendees from as far away as the Phoenix Valley (about 4 1/2 hours away) as well as locals, is always interesting, informative and well appreciated by the participants. Chuck Bell, Val-U-Solar's owner and head electrician is a wealth of knowledge on all things off-grid and we not only recommend them highly but also use their services on a regular basis to keep our Black Mesa Ranch power station running in tip-top condition.
Here are a few pictures of our off-grid set-up at the Ranch...

 Our original inverter (been replaced since photo)

Some of our solar panels (another array not in the pic plus more panels at the well)

 Our 900 watt wind generator (it's on a 50' tower)

Our first battery bank (got new, bigger batts last year)

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