Monday, December 13, 2010

Is SOUPMAKER a profession? I think so.

Well, I just gotta say wow. I mean, I knew that this whole soup business was a pretty good idea, but it's kinda crazy how much it's starting to take off, and how very, very busy I am becoming. This week's updates? The Locavore Artisan Food Fair that I helped organize with Loreli from Siren's Bakery, Micheal and Fumie from michealsdolce, and my buddy Pierre, the Happy Goat, was a huge success despite the freezing rain. We had almost all our vendors get there despite the heavy ice and terrible roads, and we figure about three hundred people came through the fair.
It was my first BIG event, and I have to say, I wasn't really expecting to sell out quite so quickly! A lot of people had read the fantastic article in the Citizen and we're looking forward to trying my soups! As we were still setting up (thanks Jenn!) we were being surrounding by people looking for take home soups- and if I'd had more, I'm sure I could have sold more. It's time for a few more pieces of infrastructure before the next big event so I can transport more soup and fill more bellies. Funny- selling out made me both sad and happy at the same time- I would have like to have had enough to fill the demand, but there's a certain compliment inherent in running out of stock (oh, the puns). It's really great to realize that there's a demand for my product. 
And the soups yesterday were:
  • Organic Brazilian Black Bean Soup
  • Organic Chicken, Mushroom and Leek (which was to die for)
  • And the Indian Carrot Spice Soup. It's always popular.
  • Plus a quinoa cranberry walnut salad.
 People can be SO nice- I had a woman tell me she generally doesn't like anyone's soups but her own, and she liked mine, and others say they were all three delicious. They were gobbled up by children and adults alike. This makes me happy.
And I forgot to get pictures! I'm going to have to do that at some point when I'm at an event. Sigh.

Lots of organization to do this week for the truck and the soupscriptions- but it's a little more settled than last week and so I should be able to do it. Especially if I keep waking up at five in the morning, ready to work. Woohoo! Sleeplessness and productivity go hand in hand...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Entreprenurial Terrors, Food Sovreignty, Soup Delivery

Another busy week at the Stone Soup Kitchen... First trade show with the YBiz was last Friday. It was pretty intense setting up for it, particularly since I also set up the kitchen at Causeway last week to prepare for the tradeshow, and had to do a lot of shopping (which, at this point, is really making me go EEK since the pool of money formed suddenly by the sale of the house has been pretty heavily drained).
It was never like this. It's kind of creepy, actually
But I made a bit of it back, and do need the kitchen to be going, and overall, the plan is still sound, and I am still in a pretty solid position when I think about it. After all, I have a roof over my head, my health, people who love me and who I love, and am pretty sure I can scrounge up enough food to make a pretty delicious next meal. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this pretty forcibly in the middle of the night when I wake up terrified about this venture, but I truly am very fortunate.
The tradeshow was good, despite the realization that noodles were a bad idea and a small spill and limited space- lots of learning, and a little income, too!
Spent the weekend in a non-business related venture as well- which is difficult at times as the force of the terror is directly proportional to time not working on it (eek). But it was worth it- I went to the Food Secure Canada National Assembly in Montreal to discuss a national People's Food Policy. Canada does not have a food policy that integrates health, agriculture, environment and social issues. Not even close. There were some pretty interesting discussions going around, and some pretty amazing people there too. I was thrilled to meet a not for profit educational group from Montreal working out of a truck that travels to festivals. Cool.
The idea of food sovreignity is that all people, at all times, have access to safe,sustainably grown, culturally appropriate food at all time. Smart. I would like to write more about this, but my brain is not very functional. It's really really important though.

 Other News Briefs from the SSFW world...
  • Winterlude is looking very very positive- hopefully in the park and not on the ice. May have a spot in Confederation Park!
  • Ottawa U location is also looking up!
  • Video reviews are great. Yay Rob!
  • Little Brother is awesome on the renos, now that his flu is gone...
  • Started soup deliveries this week- which is great for me and for others- thanks new customers and old friends
  • Helping out at the Red Apron this week and next for a day each one- I miss the ladies.
  • I'm not entirely broke. I just have to remember this is normal
  • I learned that most successful entrepreneurs are around my age. Cool. I'm on track for SOMEthing.
Indian Spiced Carrot soup was very popular at the YBIZ fair, and I actually sold out. The recipe was requested, and so here it is (finally)! It's very important to use organic carrots. I think since they spend so much time in the soil, you can really taste the health of the soil that they are grown in. Last week, I had carrots from One Hundred Mile Farm that were pretty fantastic.

Indian Spiced Carrot Soup

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches of ginger, minced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
10 medium and large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 liters vegetable stock
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
2 tsp. coriander, roasted fresh and ground
1 tsp cumin seed, roasted fresh and ground
1.5 tsp. black mustard seed, toasted

yogurt and cilantro for garnish

Saute the onions in the oil until golden, then add the ginger, cook one minute more, then add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Deglaze with the lemon juice, then add the carrots and the stock. Cook until the carrots are softened- it takes a while and you may have to add water.
Then, use your immersion blender to zoot zoot it 'til it's all pureed. Then stir in your sweet and add your spices. That's it.
Garnish with yogurt and cilantro for super beautiful yumminess. 

I have this teeny little cast iron pan I use to roast my spices. I put it on medium high, heat it up, add the spice (one at a time, they cook differently) and shake it for about two minutes until it smells toasty and open. Then I grind them in my spice grinder. Then I add them into the soup. The mustard seeds will soften up in the soup, but the roasting makes them even tastier. Don't grind them. They pop a little and it's nice.