The gap of food security and accessibility for the community has always existed, but is more apparent than ever now due to COVID-19. We started our food hamper at the end of November 2020, where our goal is to provide weekly emergency dignified food relief to those who are facing barriers to food security. As grocery stores are less accessible to vulnerable communities, the hampers are delivered directly to people’s homes through Shift Delivery, a local bike courier using trikes and electric cargo vehicles.
As per our Food Philosophy, we want to be able to share fresh, healthy food and increase food literacy with our community. The hampers consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, shelf stable items, such as dried beans, rice, oats, proteins such as eggs and canned salmon or tuna, and toiletries.
Recipes are shared in
the hampers as the fresh produce varies weekly, with great intention we want
our participants to increase food literacy by cooking in new ways or trying a
new vegetable that they haven’t had before, while being culturally aware. We
accommodate to dietary needs of the community including diabetic, low sodium,
As we pivoted our seniors programming to online, we welcomed a few new programs, including a cooking class with our TAPS program assistant, Stephanie.
Our classes take place every Monday at 2pm over Zoom. Following our Food Philosophy, we want to increase community capacity building by cooking culturally-diverse meals and increasing food literacy. Stephanie cooks plant-based meals as they reduce our greenhouse gases impact on the environment but encourages the seniors to customize and add in any extra proteins or other foods that they would like and have the ability to do so. The seniors are able to learn new skills and cook alongside while asking questions or simply just watch as a cooking show!
Here’s our menu of
recipes we’ve cooked so far:
Sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup
Salad rolls with peanut sauce
Thai red curry
Falafel with fresh pita
Daal with spinach and roti
Moroccan-styled stew with sweet potato &
Gado Gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce)
Tom Kha Gai soup (Thai coconut soup)
Enjoy (and try not to get too hungry!) meal pictures from our participants:
This recipe is quick pickling, not fermentation! So, this recipe is less technical and will last about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. This recipe is great to use to increase the longevity of your veggies. It is also great for your gut health as it provides a source of probiotics. You can be creative with what you pickle, so you can use onions, jalapeños, cucumbers and more in place of the cabbage. These can be used in many versatile dishes to add a freshness to, including salads, tacos, bowls, and as a side dish.
What you’ll need:
1 cup of red cabbage, thinly sliced
3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
glass jar with a tight lid (ie. Mason jar, old jam jar)
If you have more cabbage, feel free to use it all and just use the ratio of cabbage to vinegar, making sure that the cabbage is fully covered once it’s in the jar.
Thinly slice the cabbage using a knife carefully or a mandolin.
In a mason jar, add all of the ingredients and cover with a lid then give it a shake. Make sure that all of the cabbage is completely covered with liquid, if it’s not then add more vinegar.
vegetable stock at home involves using whole onions, carrots, celery and herbs
that you buy and sift into the compost bin once their flavor has infused into
Here is a low-cost and low-waste alternative to making stock using vegetable scraps, peels and stalks. It requires little work, just some simmering time and freezer space:
1)Every time you cook, save your vegetable peels, stalks and tops in a container or bag (I use yogurt containers) and store it in the freezer. I save pretty much everything but pepper and squash seeds, and of course anything that’s spoiled.
2) Once your container is full, put your scraps into a large pot with enough water to just cover the scraps. Optionally, you can add a pinch of salt and 2 bay leaves.
3) Bring up to a boil. Then turn down to low-medium heat and simmer for ~1.5 hours. You can add a lid but keep it ajar.
4) Once done, strain and let cool. Vegetable stock stores really well in the freezer. Refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.
Nutritional info: Vegetable peels and stalks actually contain a lot of the vegetable’s nutrients. If you’re worried about pesticides on peels of conventional vegetables, consult this guide to find out which vegetables to leave out of your stockpile.
Meat eaters only: If you eat meat, save your bones! It will give your stock a wonderful flavor and a dose of minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, potassium), electrolytes and collagen that help with cell repair and function.
Here’s a delicious meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-cost, easy and flexible.
It’s a fan favourite in our Community Lunch program, and now you can make it at home!
This dish is a source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, Vitamins A, E, C, K, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
All you need to get started is peanut butter, canned tomato, and some veggies. At the end of this recipe you’ll find tips on how to adjust for ingredients you prefer or have on hand. Enjoy!
Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
· 1.5 L vegetable stock (if you would like to learn how to make your own low-cost & waste free vegetable stock we have a recipe here)
· 2 tbsp vegetable oil
· 1 onion
· 1 inch piece of ginger
· 3 garlic cloves
· 1 large yam
· 2 small-medium potato
· 1-400 ml canned tomato
· 1 can chickpea
· 1 bell pepper
· 3 leaves kale or 1/3 bunch spinach
· ¾ cup peanut butter (no added sugar)
· 1/8 tsp chili powder
· 1/8 tsp cayenne
· 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
· Salt & pepper
Extremely optional toppings:
· Sprinkle of chopped peanuts
· Few sprigs of chopped herb (cilantro, parsley, or green onion)
1. Begin warming up 1.5 L vegetable stock or water on the stove or microwave in a small pot or microwave-safe container. Heat until it starts steaming / simmering.
2. Peel onion, garlic, yam. Cut onion, yam, potato and bell pepper into ~2 cm bite sized cubes. Finely chop the ginger and garlic. Roughly chop kale/spinach.
3. In a large soup pot, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Sautee and stir onion for 5 minutes, until they are translucent.
4. Add garlic, ginger, yam and stir for another minute.
5. Add canned tomato with juices. Simmer on medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas. Add chickpeas, chili powder and cayenne to the pot. Stir.
7. Grab a large metal bowl or container and scoop in one ladle of vegetable stock. If it’s really hot, let it cool for a couple minutes.
8. Add remaining vegetable stock to the soup pot. Cover pot and turn on high heat. When it bubbles, turn to medium heat and simmer for ~15 min, until yam/potato is fork tender.
9. Take your peanut butter and add ¾ cup to the 1 ladle of vegetable stock. Whisk together until smooth. Mixing the peanut butter with a little stock will be much easier than mixing everything in the large pot.
10. Once yam is almost fork tender, stir peanut butter mixture and bell pepper into soup pot and cook for 3-5 minutes.
11. Turn off heat and stir in spinach/kale and lemon juice.
12. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and top with herbs and chopped peanuts.
How to adjust this recipe:
· If you don’t have vegetable stock you can use water, but add some extra seasonings (bay leaves, more garlic & onion).
· You can replace any of the veggies (broccoli or green beans would be tasty)
· Replace the chickpeas with any kind of bean, lentil, split pea or grain
· I like using canned diced tomato, but you can use crushed, paste, sauce, whatever you have.
· Replace lemon juice with apple cider vinegar, lime juice or any light acid
· Add leftover rice or shredded chicken to make it heartier.
· The more peanut butter you use, the thicker your stew will be.
Jeera Aloo (potatoes sauteed with cumin) is a vegetarian dish that is simple, healthy, tasty, and easy to make at home with only a few ingredients.
4 boiled potatoes, medium size (cut in cubes)
1 ½ tsp jeera, whole (cumin seeds)
1 tsp ginger (fresh), minced
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp jeera powder (cumin seeds powder)
2 tsp dry mango powder *
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Few sprigs of coriander leaves (chopped)
In a pan, add oil, once hot, add jeera, let it sizzle, add the ginger and jalapeno. Mix well.
After two mins, on low flame, add turmeric powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, coriander powder, paprika powder and salt. Mix well for a couple of mins. on low flame.
Add boiled potatoes, mix in well to coat it with the spice mix. Close the pan and let it cook for 10 mins. on low flame. Once the potatoes are well coated, check seasoning, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
*PS: If you don’t find dry mango powder, after the potatoes have been coated with the spice mix, squeeze ½ lime or lemon or add 1 tsp. of lemon/lime juice.
In this post we’ll be sharing a Chili con carne (Beef Chili) recipe in a photo series with descriptions for the method and our chef’s secret ingredient.
This recipe is very flexible and may serve up to 8 portions. You can use almost anything to substitute or increase this hearty one bowl meal that’s one of Gordon House’s favorite.
Remember that many canned items may already contain salt and that salt concentrates as you cook it so try and salt your chili lightly as you go.
Keep a spoon, try your food as much as possible and adjust seasoning to your taste – the best measure for heat is your own.
As with many things, this always tastes better the next day but for that it needs to survive! After you serve and separate your portions for freezing, you have 2 hours to cool it to around 21*C (70*F), then put it in the fridge with an open lid so it cools down to 4*C (39*F).
Ingredients – about 1lb ground/minced beef (sub for pork, mix, turkey, chicken) – about 5 oz bacon (that’s about 1/3 of a 1lb package), diced (sub for any smoked sausage) – 2 cans of red kidney beans, rinsed (sub for any beans you’d like! All beans like chili) – 1 ½ onion (that’s about 2 cups), diced – 2 small carrots (that’s about 1 cup), diced – 1 large celery stalk (that’s about 1 cup), diced – 3 cloves of garlic, made small (chopped, minced, grinded, sliced, etc.) – cilantro, as much as you like, chop the stems for the stew and keep the leaves for finishing – tomato paste, 2 large teaspoons (sub for ½ can of crushed/diced tomato or passata) – bay leaf, about 1 large leaf or 2 small ones – cumin, about 1 ½ tablespoon – chili flakes, about 1 ½ teaspoon (sub for chipotle or chili powder, with caution) – smoked paprika, about 2 teaspoon – fennel seed, about 1 teaspoon – nutmeg ground, about 1 teaspoon – black pepper, about 5 grind turns or 1 teaspoon – salt, about 1 ½ tablespoon divided in pinches along the cooking and stewing – water, about 2 cups for the beans + 2 cups for diluting the chili
Optional – cheese! Added in the end, it makes a difference – chef’s secret ingredient, scroll down and check your pantry! – also, almost anything! Other veggies are more than welcome, other spices and peppers, chili is super versatile.
Method Make sure you have everything you need – a large pot is needed, you’re gonna cook a big meal. We recommend using a spatula or wooden spoon to help you further on. Keep the meats in the fridge until it’s time to deal with them, at last. Wash your hands and all your produce, then proceed to peel. Once you decide which spices you’ll use, keep them at hand or have them mixed in a container. Take time to have your veggies cut before you move to the bacon, and cut it by last. Then, start:
Have about 1/3 of your rinsed beans mixed with 2 cups of water – you can choose to blend it or cook it and mash it in a small pot, whatever you choose the outcome should be a bean juice/soup/mash that will be your base.
Bring your pot up to heat and add the bacon, keep on high (and keep an eye!) stirring lightly to help spread.
Once it starts browning, add the onion and mix well – we want the brown bits as they add flavor, but don’t let it burn! The French call these bits “sucs” and we’ll deglaze them as we cook.
As it softens, add the celery and garlic and cook it for about 3 minutes. Make sure to spread the celery around and use its watery consistency to get those sucs out.
Add the carrots and cilantro stems, the bay leaf and about 1/3 of all your spices and salt.
Take your meat out of the fridge and divide it in at least 2 parts. Keep your heat on medium high, move your sautée veg to one side of the pot and add the first half to the bottom.
The meat will fry a bit and then lose its water, and here you should add some of your spice mix and salt and keep tapping and spreading the meat to prevent chunks and to cook it uniformly. Then, mix it with the veg and move it to the other side, clearing the bottom for the second half.
Repeat the process with tapping, spreading and seasoning.
This is important for distributing the seasoning uniformly and for using the meat’s water to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
Use your spatula or spoon and make your meat work for you, getting all those bits out – we’ll come to them again. Once you have it all together, add the tomato paste/tomato product and mix it all very well.
At this point you should have you beans’ soup/juice/mash at hand and start adding it slowly, about ½ cup first, to help you loosen the brown bits from the bottom. Once again, make your meat work for you so don’t be afraid to stir vigorously and use the side of your spatula/spoon.
After adding all you bean juice/paste/mash, add the beans, the remainder of your spices, a good pinch of salt and about 1 cup of water – you’ll feel the thickness of your meal taking form. Reserve the other cup of water to dilute the chili to your taste. At this point I usually let it cook at a low heat for some 10 minutes and then move to the secret step.
Yes! There is a secret ingredient to my chili and that is cacao, cocoa, or unsweetened chocolate. Both powder and piece will work as long as there’s absolutely no sugar added. Believe me, I’ve tried with different types of chocolate and if it seems strange to add chocolate, imagine sweet chocolate…. It’s something I’ve learned years ago from a Mexican chef and have applied since then – I sincerely recommend you try. Mexican cuisine is famous for many things, including their use of chocolate in savoury recipes and sauces – think mole, some of the best ones contain some chocolate in it.
For this recipe amount, I recommend a full tablespoon, that should be sprinkled and then mixed into the chili.
You’ll feel the smell of chocolate very strongly at the beginning and as it cooks and melts into the chili it dissipates like alcohol, leaving behind the twist in taste. I’d recommend not tasting it at this moment because the chocolate will overwhelm your senses. Let it cook a bit and taste it then.
Because you’ve added the chocolate, you should keep stiring the chili at medium temperature for about 5 minutes, and then bring it to a boil.
After you bring it to boil, reduce the heat to minimum, stir well and give it a try. Is it too chocolate-y? Cover for about 10 minutes. Stir again, check your seasoning, salt, and texture, how does it taste? If it needs more seasoning or water, stew it on low, covered, for another 10 minutes.
We like to have some shredded cheese added to melt inside as we prepare to serve but we recommend skipping this if you plan to freeze part of you chili – you can always add it once you thaw your portion and bring it to boil.
This is our finalized chili – it should look glossy even without the cheese! It should smell delicious and make you crave it, like all food prepared with love and care – it’s gonna be great!
You can serve it plain, with chips, with nachos/tortilla chips, with tortilla wraps, with green leafy salad, with fries/hash browns, with sour cream, with yogurt, with tomatoes and cilantro salad, with rice, with extra spicy hot burning sauce, with popcorn (yes, I know of stories), or pretty much anything you’d like!
Let us know what you served your chili with! Please share pictures, subs, comments, we’d love to hear from you.