Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leftover Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

This super tasty soup could become a classic in your house - requested on sick days home from school or when wintery temperatures bring on the blues. Sweetcorn lends a warm and comforting taste to soups frozen corn is very flavourful.

Serves 4

Leftovers of half a roast chicken, shredded
1 litre/2 pints chicken stock
About 1 ½ lbs sweetcorn
1 tbsp of sunflower oil
1 large thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
4 green onions finely sliced diagonally

In a large pot with a little oil, fry the garlic and ginger for about 3 minutes, add the corn and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add a little bit of the chicken stock and, with a hand blender, blitz the mixture until it becomes smooth.

Add the rest of the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs in measuring jug, which will make it easy for you to trickle them into the soup.

Reduce the heat and while the soup is still simmering, stir it continuously in a figure of eight motion and gently trickle in the beaten egg a little bit at a time to form thin strands.

Add the chicken shreds and stir through. Serve with a generous garnish of green onions.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Monday, November 29, 2010

W.E Kinvig Elementary School 4th Annual Christmas Luncheon

On December 3rd the gym at Kinvig Elementary will be transformed into a winter wonderland for its students to enjoy a special Christmas treat. This present doesn’t come with brightly coloured paper and a bow, but consists of a hearty traditional Christmas meal.

Quest and Fresh Direct will be supporting Kinvig with donations towards their special day. The event was started three years ago by support staff at the school, and has continued to grow in numbers, including over 60 students and staff.

The Christmas Luncheon was started to provide a measure of Christmas cheer to children of families that may not have the means to celebrate Christmas. The luncheon provides an opportunity for the children to connect with their peers, as well as to gain an understanding of what the true spirit of Christmas is. During the event children will spend some time writing thank you cards to the individuals who have donated to their Luncheon.

Many of the children enrolled at Kinvig come from single parent families, or families who have been affected by the recession, or recovering from other bumps in the road along the way.

“This gives these kids who work so hard to have a chance to be rewarded for their efforts,” says Sharon Hiegl, who is responsible for keeping this event going. “We bring in volunteers to serve and organize the event. No one has to help with the dishes when their done. It’s a real treat for the kids.”

Sharon is eager to let us know that all of the donations provided by Fresh Direct and others mean a lot to the kids in her school. “Sometimes kids just don’t have lunches. Usually there are left over donations from the other food programs that I can give them.”

Written by Stara, a Quest Volunteer and Client

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Gratin

This really isn’t a recipe but a throw together dish packed with great autumn flavours. Sweet roasted butternut squash and silky onions, juicy fat slices of mushrooms & crunchy cheesy thyme breadcrumbs.

This is a good way of using up leftover root vegetables and it works with roasted parsnips or carrots. This works as a main meal but it also as a tasty side dish especially with chicken or pork. You can also add chestnuts, walnuts or hazelnuts to the breadcrumbs.

1 butternut squash cut into 2cm cubes
1 large onion sliced
1 clove of garlic sliced
few sprigs of thyme
3 large flat mushrooms roughly sliced
1 heaped tbsp cheese (your choice)
1tsp of olive oil/rape seed oil
2 thick slices of white bread
Salt and Pepper

Place the butternut squash in a roasting dish with the onions and garlic.
Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil.

Place in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes, shaking every so often.
At the same time put the bread on the lower shelf of the oven to dry out for 5 minutes or so.

Pulse the dried bread with the cheese and thyme in a food processor with a drop of oil and a pinch of salt.

Remove the foil from the squash cover with a layer of mushrooms and then a layer of breadcrumbs.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(CLOSED) Career Opportunity at Quest Food Exchange

We have now found our newest Community Relations Coordinator. Thank you to all our applicants.

Quest is looking for its next Community Relations Coordinator.

Do you have experience in communications, managing a website, recruiting volunteers and writing grant proposals?

For more information, view the full job description at: http://questoutreach.org/about/careers.html.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

The potatoes go nicely alongside most dishes. If your potato slices don’t separate while cooking, increase your heat and you should get better results. If you have any fresh sage, thyme or bay leaves, just slip them in between the slices and they’ll add a whole new dimension to the dish.

Serves 4
Approximately 20 baby potatoes
2 tbsps of melted butter or olive oil
A generous pinch of sea salt

The idea is to cut slices about 3mm in thickness right across the potato, but to keep them attached at the bottom. There is a quick trick you can use: place the potatoes on a wooden spoon and slice down: the dip in the spoon will prevent you from slicing all the way through.

When you’re finished, place all the potatoes sliced side up in a roasting tray and brush each one with the melted butter and give a good sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Roast at 400°Ffor approximately 45 minutes or until the slices of the potatoes fan out and turn golden brown.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Shopping Trip at Quest Food Exchange

For those of our dedicated volunteers, who are also clients at Quest, we provide a $13 voucher to shop in our stores for every 4 hour shift worked. Have you ever wondered what a $13 shopping trip at Quest looks like?

Meat eaters 13$ dinner party for 4
wine pop (8) 2.00
hummus chips .75
bag of buns .25
chicken drumsticks 5.00
green or red curry paste .60
almond butter 1.50
fresh beans .39
fresh bag of romaine lettuce .10
radishes .46
plums .27
discount produce bag (bananas and apples) .10
white cake 1.50
snack pack of italian cookies for the chef .25
total = $13.02

Soy-free Vegetarian
grapes 1.59
fresh beans .39
fresh bag of romaine lettuce .10
radishes .46
plums .27
cabbage .45
discount produce bag (apples & bananas) .10
true lemon .50
almond butter 1.50
almond milk 1.00
mixed grain rice 3.00
chili beans mix 3.00
gypsy love tea
total = $12.81

Prepackaged soy-lovers
soy pudding raspberry 1.50
soy pudding lime 1.50
Tribs (soy ribs) 1.50
Trio meal 1.00
Yves ground round 1.00
Yves vegetarian meatballs 1.00
Yves baked tofu 1.00
Yves vegetarian chicken 1.00
Yves breakfast patties 1.00
vegan Rella 1.25
veggie wrap 1.00
total = $13.00

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts

This surprisingly tasty pasta is endlessly adaptable – add any leftover protein you may have – ham, bacon, chicken, etc. Serves 2

10 ozs Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
8 ozs dried egg fettuccine
1 tbsps unsalted butter
1 tbsps olive oil
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 1/2 tbsps pine nuts (optional)

Slice Brussels sprouts in a food processor fitted with slicing disk, or thinly with a sharp knife

Cook fettuccine in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook pine nuts (if using), stirring, until golden. Add Brussels sprouts, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, then sauté over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Reserve 1/2-cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and add to skillet, tossing with enough reserved water to moisten.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Quest First Impressions

Orientation came with a full tour of the 2020 Dundas location complete with the warehouse full of food, the loading bays, the chilly sorting room, storefront, and head office. Though it was early, all the people we encountered were smiling, all happy, and they were just working away at their tasks as though there was nothing else they’d rather be doing.

Kyle explained housekeeping stuff like dress code and volunteer’s safety and support. He joked that he had wanted to wear his Canucks jersey but couldn’t because he had to give us a tour. There is no dress code, of course, so you may see a few of us in jerseys next time you come to shop, especially if it’s game day!

The casual friendly atmosphere at Quest made me feel immediately welcome and, furthermore, appreciated. Kyle, Starla, and Draya went out of their way to help me get on board with their team, showing me the ropes, and explaining how things work at Quest. Starla even took me shopping with her in the store so I could see firsthand what Quest is all about! She was like a kid in a candy store, so to speak.

My favourite thing about the store at Quest is the variety. I got the feeling there will be something new and different every time I go in there. It was all “Oh my goodness, GARLIC PASTE!!!” and “Yes! We got more of those delicious muffins!” Her excitement was contagious and it left me with a strong enthusiasm for the organization.

Tuesday is fast approaching and my first official volunteer shift at Quest comes with it, I am already looking forward to it.

Jos One,
A New Quest Volunteer

Monday, November 8, 2010

West African Peanut Soup

2 cups chopped onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced (use whatever chili you have)
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger root
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes or tomato juice
1 cup peanut butter (chunky)*
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
salt to taste
1 cup chopped scallions
chopped peanuts
hot sauce (optional)

Sauté the onions in the oil until just translucent. Stir in the cayenne and fresh ginger. Add the carrots and saute a couple more minutes. Mix in the potatoes and stock, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

In a blender or food processor, puree the vegetables with the cooking liquid and tomatoes. Return the puree to a soup pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Taste the soup. Its sweetness will depend upon the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potatoes. If it's not there naturally, add just a little sugar to enhance the other flavors and add salt to taste.

Reheat the soup gently, using a heat diffuser if needed to prevent scorching. Add more water, stock, or tomato juice for a thinner soup.

Serve topped with plenty of chopped scallions, chopped peanuts and hot sauce to taste.

Serves 6 to 8

Friday, November 5, 2010

S’mores Pops Recipe

•1 bag large marshmallows
•1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 package cinnamon or honey graham crackers *
•Lollipop sticks

Begin by twisting the lollipop sticks until they are securely in the middle of the marshmallows. (Insert them on the flat, not rounded, side of the marshmallows. Then push them in until they almost pop through.) Then place the graham crackers in a strong Ziploc bag, and use a rolling pin (or whatever you’d like) to crush them until they are finely ground. Then place them in a small bowl.

Then heat the chocolate chips in a double boiler or (carefully!) in the microwave until they are melted and somewhat runny.

While holding the stick, carefully dip a marshmallow in the chocolate mixture until completely covered. Then gently roll the sides and top of the marshmallow in the graham cracker crumbs until they are well coated. Place on a plate or on wax paper to let cool and dry.

Repeat with remaining marshmallows.

*Feel free to used vanilla wafers, your own choice of cookie crumbs or even combine them with chopped peanuts.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Feeding Clients at Building Opportunties with Business

Every month, the Supported Employment Team here at BOB hosts what we call a SHINE supper for clients of our program. Anyone who is currently participating in the program, or has in the past, is welcome to attend. Most times, the meal is catered (usually by Potluck Café and Catering) or purchased from Costco. This month, we decided to try something different.

We have been giving out food vouchers for Quest Food Exchange to clients for quite some time now. An idea came up that perhaps we should see what kind of meals we could come up with ourselves with supplies from Quest. It would not only be a test of our creativity, but would give us a scope of the opportunities and restrictions for a person living with limited resources...

Read the full blog post at: http://buildingopportunities.org/blog/index.php/tag/quest-food-exchange/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Traditional Cooking with Food From Continental Importers Ltd

I prefer to use fresh ingredients but sometimes I just don't have them. This week at Quest I found some great stuff to restock on Italian style cooking supplies. Making authentic dishes mean using traditional products.

Some of the great items I found were: pesto paste, garlic paste, tomato paste, in foil tubes that can be stored in the cupboard until use and then thrown into the fridge. I prefer the tubes because they allow me to use a little or a lot, reducing waste because the containers are resealable.

There was a fantastic assortments of infused cooking oil, Rosemary, Lemon and Basil. With the Salsa Dust I found I made green salsa and served along side the pineapple chipotle salsa I bought. Available for purchase was a great selection of snacks including a few different kinds of Italian lady fingers and cookies, sparkling juices, and nuts.

Great finds !!

Thanks Quest.

Written by Starla, a Quest volunteer and client

Smashed Red Potatoes With Cabbage

2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed
1 lb cabbage (1/2 medium cabbage), quartered, cored and cut in thin shreds across the grain
2 tbsps unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 heaped tbsps chopped scallions (about 3 scallions)
2/3 cup low-fat milk (more as needed)
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsps minced chives (optional)

Cover the potatoes with water in a saucepan, add about 1/2 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and cook until tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Do not drain the water, but using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes from the pot to a bowl. Cover tightly and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes. Then, using a towel to hold the potatoes steady (because they’re still hot) cut them into quarters.

Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil, add more salt if desired and add the cabbage. Cook uncovered until tender, five to six minutes. Drain.

Heat the butter or oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet, and add the scallions. Cook, stirring, until they soften, about three minutes. Add the potatoes. Smash the potatoes to a coarse mash in the pan with a potato masher or the back of your spoon. Stir in the hot milk, and mix together well until the potatoes have absorbed all the milk. Stir in the cabbage, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the chives, stir together until heated through and serve.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: You can cook the potatoes and cabbage several hours in advance.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Draya visits a Quest Partner: Carnegie Community Centre

I rarely get sick, but was wrapped up in my blankets last week feeling like death. I had to call in and cancel my shift here at Quest. Thankfully the symptoms didn’t persist for long and by Wednesday was feeling better enough to go for lunch at the Carnegie.

I was a little early so was fairly near the start of the line. I was meeting a friend from my Friday volunteer gig, a staff member at UBC learning exchange, a high school classmate from Victoria. She arrived a few minutes after 12 and the line began moving shortly after.

The Carnegie has two choices for lunch every day, one with meat and another that is vegetarian. I like meat a great deal but the meat dish had mushrooms in it and I’m not so keen on them. I ordered the vegetarian choice of Butternut squash frittata and chose the garden salad over the potato salad. I ordered the vinaigrette dressing instead of the ranch. I also had a can of great soda

Prices recently increased with the price of the lunch entree coming to a whopping total of 2.25. I decided that I would not have room to eat the soup (Italian vegetable or another I can’t recall) but should you decide to it will only add 85 cents to the cost of your meal. Breakfast is just 2$ and most dinners are 3.25$. Baked goods/cake is 1$ and fair trade organic coffee just 50 cents.

The company was fantastic and we chatted about high school friends and the stuff we’re working on over at UBC. The sun was shining and the food was delicious. I had eaten most of mine before thinking to take a photo.

I used to eat there all the time when l worked nearby. The quality has always been exceptional and I love walking up the stairs that have been worn down with time. I haven’t really spent any time using or checking out the other services available At Carnegie Community Center but there are a number of them. There is a branch of the library, arts and recreation programs, senior are services and opportunities for volunteering. For more information check out the website: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/carnegiecentre/kitchen.htm

Written by Draya, a Quest Volunteer and Client

Lee Ann's Perfect Party Punch

Lee Ann, a Quest employee helped us make a punch to serve at our Partner Appreciation event. Using products from our store, she came up with this delicious beverage.

1 2 liter bottle of 7up or sprite
2 1 liters juice (I use orange, mango)
¼ cup of maraschino cherries
1 small can of pineapples
1 small orange sliced
1 cup quartered strawberries.

Mix all ingredients in a large punch bowl and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From Farm to Fridge to Garbage Can - From the NY Times

How much food does your family waste?

A lot, if you are typical. By most estimates, a quarter to half of all food produced in the United States goes uneaten — left in fields, spoiled in transport, thrown out at the grocery store, scraped into the garbage or forgotten until it spoils.

A family of four that spends $175 a week on groceries lest more than $40 worth of food each week go to waste and $2,275 a year.

Read more at:

Roasted Cauliflower

There are some fantastic cauliflowers at Quest this week, both standard and a glorious orange colour, too.

• 1 head of cauliflower
• 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced (optional)
• Lemon juice from half a lemon
• Olive oil
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer on a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Toss in the garlic, if using. Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower add salt and pepper and the olive oil - toss with your hands. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

Place in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the becoming caramelized, tender and toasty. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Created for Quest by Chris at:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

3/4 cup diced chorizo sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans (540ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauté the chorizo in olive oil until it begins to brown. Add onion, carrot and garlic, and continue cooking until the onion begins to colour and soften.

Stir in chicken broth, black beans and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Partway through the cooking time, use a wooden spoon to gently mash the beans against the side of the pot.

After half an hour, stir in the orange zest and juice. For a smoother soup, you can puree half the mixture using a blender or food processor at this stage, or serve just as it is for a chunkier version.
Serve the soup piping hot with a garnish of chopped cilantro

Created for Quest by Chris at: