Every year the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry (BCEFP) hosts the EMPTY BOWL PROJECT to raise funds for our local food bank. It is their biggest fundraiser for the year. Local restaurants and caterers volunteer to make soup to be served at the event. People in the community buy tickets to taste the soups and vote for their favorites.
In addition, local artists create ceramic bowls that are part of a silent auction.
Photo by Terry Hagerti
Photo by Karen Kahan
All proceeds from the silent auction and the tickets go directly to our emergency food pantry. The goal for this year was to raise $30,000. I am very happy to report that we exceeded our goal. 700 people attended at $20 a ticket–so that was $14,000. The rest came from the silent auction, donations, and business and individual sponsorships. It was so much fun!!! Thank you to everyone who contributed.
This year, I was asked if I would like to participate by serving my Autumn Dal (split mung beans with kale). I have never made soup for 700 people, so I was a bit nervous if it would come out right. But I went for it and said yes. If you read my welcome page, you will see that I promised that there would be some community projects associated with this blog. I have always wanted to give back to my community, so I was thrilled to have my first opportunity to help. I will be doing more projects with the BCEFP. I will blog about them as I do them.
The timing of the 2109 EMPTY BOWL PROJECT was very special to me. It just so happened that my family was visiting me from Chicago during the week that the event was taking place. The Empty Bowl Project turned into 4 generations of soup for me.
The recipe started with my Nani-ji (grandmother), then my mom, then me and now I am passing it onto my niece, Leilani. She wanted to help me make the soup and I was grateful for her help. Leilani painstakingly spent two hours cutting up the greens.
I really enjoyed making the soup with Leilani. She was so eager to learn and help.
My dad helped me serve the soup.
It was a HEARTWARMING family and community experience. I look forward to doing it again next year.
On Saturday, my husband went down the road and brought home these beautiful vegetables from our neighbors, Fruitful Hill Farm. We a lucky to have such nice neighbors.
I was inspired to make 6 dishes. I did a marathon cooking session which included creating, testing, cooking and photographing the 6 dishes. I will be posting one dish per week for the next six weeks.
Here is a list of the dishes I created:
- CURRIED BABY TURNIPS–TOPS AND ALL
- SWEET POTATO AND KALE TIKKIS (CUTLETS)
- CARROT TOPS AND CORIANDER CHUTNEY
- CARROT TOPS AND PARSLEY PESTO PASTA
- COLLARD GREENS AND CHICKPEA STEW
- MUSTARD GREEN SAAG PANEER
Nothing went to waste. I used every part of the vegetables. I also made Roasted Carrots but I did not list it because it is a recipe I have already posted.
I had so much fun doing this marathon cooking session. I am looking forward to sharing the dishes with you. Please look out for them. I hope you like them.
A big thanks to the folks at Fruitful Hill Farm for growing the vegetables!!!
Roasted vegetables are my favorite, especially in the autumn and winter. They are delicious and easy to make. I found some beautiful golden beets at the neighborhood farm stand. I decided to roast them and use their fresh leaves in a chimichurri. Nothing goes to waste around here. Either we eat it or we feed it to our animals.
- 4 medium beets. Their tops will be used in the chimichurri
- fresh leaves from the tops of 4 beets
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves (leave this out if you don’t like cilantro)
- cilantro stems chopped up (cilantro stems have a lot of flavor)
- 1 serrano chili (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 Tbsp. of my Italian Spice Mix for coating the beets
- 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to coat the beets
- 1/4 cup of olive oil for the chimichurri
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
PREPPING THE BEETS:
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of the beets
- Save the fresh beet leaves for the chimichurri
- Coat the beets with olive oil amd my Italian Spice Mix
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Roast in a 400 F oven until fork tender (about 15 to 20 minutes)
MAKING THE CHIMICHURRI:
While the beets are roasting make the chimichurri.
- Toast the cumin seeds. Let them cool to room temp. Grind them into a powder in the spice grinder.
- In a small food processor add the following:
- beet leaves
- parsley leaves
- coriander leaves and chopped up stems
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 serrano chili, roughly chopped
- chili flakes
- toasted cumin powder
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
Whiz everything up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the roasted beets into half inch slices.
I prefer thicker medallions. If you want to make them thinner that is totally fine. Place the beet medallions on a platter and top off with a dollop of chimichurri.
This is a delicious appertizer or side dish. It can also be served as a main vegetarian or vegan dish if you increase the portions size.