Instead of starting my year with resolutions about losing weight and getting in shape, I decided that this year I would try to give back to the community in some way. I am blessed with a good job, a thriving business, good health and loving people in my life. There are so many others who are less fortunate who could use some help.
My hope is that if we each decided to perform a single act of kindness each month or give of ourselves regularly, collectively it would make a difference. Of course, if you can do more, it would be more beneficial. I plan to feature some groups that are giving back to the community in some way through cooking or giving of food.
I was really inspired by the Sharon Hapton story. Sharon decided, as she was turning 50, to do something to give back to the community so she founded Soup Sisters. Soup Sisters is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort to women and children in need through the making, sharing and donating of soup to domestic abuse shelters. Soup Sisters have twelve chapters across Canada, with plans to expand into the United States. At the time of printing the book, the organization had provided over 100,000 bowls of soup to women and children in need.
It is not often that I am able to feature a cookbook that is produced by a charitable organization. Often, books produced to raise funds are a collection of home recipes by volunteers photocopied and clipped together with a cerlox binding. The Soup Sisters Cookbook is so much more than that. This lovely cookbook features 100 recipes for heartwarming soups from more than 50 chefs and food professionals. Mouth watering recipes such as this Tuscan Bean Soup, or Curried Squash and Coconut, or Apple, Carrot and Parsnip are divided by season and are accompanied by lovely photos. Although most of these soups were made in large batches for the shelters, the recipes are all written to yield 6-8 servings.
If you are a soup lover, as I am, you will love this cookbook.
Tuscan Bean Soup
Makes 6 servings
2 cups (500 ml) cooked white navy beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, washed and sliced
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
6 large Roma tomatoes, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced and finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
8 cups (2 L) chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Puree half the beans until smooth, adding a little water if necessary. Place the pureed beans in a bowl with the remaining whole beans and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, carrot, celery and leek in the oil, until the onion is softened.
Stir in all the beans and the tomatoes, garlic and thyme.
Add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle up in a bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Recipe from The Soup Sisters Cookbook contributed by Caren McSherry, cookbook author and Owner, The Gourmet Warehouse, Vancouver, BC
I bought mine here: