September 28, 2020 Join Our Fiesta at Home! Volunteers have been the backbone of The Stop since our founding in the 1970’s, and their work has never been more vital than during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a show of thanks, this week our staff packed delicious “Fiesta at Home”-themed food boxes for the 120 program volunteers who’ve supported our work across our spaces and gardens in 2020. In total, they’ve contributed an incredible 13,680+ hours to support The Stop’s mission of good food for all. “Being part of a community that cares about access to healthy food and sharing knowledge, skills, and resources can be life-changing,” explains Diane Janzen, The Stop’s Volunteer Coordinator. “Many volunteers have unknowingly recruited others just because of how welcome they made a community member feel when they came for a meal or accessed the food bank.” Of course, maintaining this sense of connection has been challenging during COVID-19, when so many volunteers are physically separated from community members. “Our volunteer rosters for each shift have been drastically reduced to better follow physical distancing,” says Diane. “This means that our volunteers are working extra hard during their shifts. There’s not as much down time or chances for conversations with staff and other volunteers, which is tough.” To reduce this gap, The Stop’s Community Kitchen Coordinators Sharlyn Barahona and Hussein Silva have created a personal thank-you video for our volunteer team— which includes a delicious cooking demo for the items they received in their food box—and a custom Spotify playlist so that volunteers can have their own “Fiesta at Home.” Feel free to cook along at home with Sharlyn and Hussein—the recipes are below! Tortilla Soup Servings: 6 Cups Time: 45 min Ingredients: 20 corn tortillas 1 Ancho, or Pasilla or Guajillo chili pepper, deveined and seeded 1.5 tbs vegetable oil ¼ medium onion 3-5 garlic cloves 5 red Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges 3 cups vegetable broth 2 ½ tbsp epazote, or to taste, in a teabag to steep (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Toppings: 1 avocado, cubed ¼ fresh cheese, cubed Sour cream, as desired 1.5 limes halved Directions: Cut 7 tortillas into ½ cm thick / 3cm long strips. Fry the chilies into 1.5 tbs vegetable oil over medium heat for about 2 min. Reserve. Then, add cut tortillas and cook until lightly gold. Reserve. Now, in the same frypan, you can add and roast onions and garlic until lightly brown. Add wedged tomatoes until cooked. In a blender, combine fried tortillas, chilies, roasted vegetables and 2 cups of broth. You can add more broth according to your desired texture. Blend well and put the mixture into a pot with salt and pepper to your taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the temperature to low-medium heat and cook for about 25 minutes. 10 minutes before the time is up, add the epazote previously packaged into a teabag; be sure to discard the teabag before serving. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Meanwhile, fry the rest of the tortillas in hot oil until brown, place fried tortillas onto a paper towel sheet to dry off any excess oil. To plate, use bowls with fried tortillas, soup, sliced avocado and cheese; top with few more fried tortilla pieces and a dollop of sour cream; serve with a piece of lime. Black Bean Burger Servings: 5 Time: 50 min Ingredients: 1.5 cups dry black beans 1 bay leaf (for boiling beans) 2 cups corn tortilla chips, whole ½ medium onion 3 garlic cloves ½ tbsp ground cumin 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ cup green onions, just the green part, finely chopped 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 1 generous pinch of chili flakes 1 large egg, whisked Vegetable oil to fry Salt and pepper to taste 5 burger buns Soak black beans in water over night. Cook in salted water with one bay leave, salt and pepper for 30 to 40 min, or until tender. Then, drain and reserve. Grind corn chips in a food processor, reserve on the side. In a frypan with one tbsp oil, sauté finely chopped onion and mashed garlic cloves, stir to combine. Add cooked beans, cumin, smoked paprika, chili flakes, green onions and cilantro; cook for 5 more minutes and adjust seasoning. Now, mash the bean mixture either with a fork, potato masher or food processor until desired consistency. Add ground chips to the bean mixture and incorporate one beaten egg to the mixture. Add extra breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet or vegetable oil if mixture is dry. Make sure all ingredients are well combined. Adjust seasoning. Measure a ½ cup of the bean mixture and shape into 4-inch wide patties, place onto a baking sheet. Heat vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties, cook until browned and crisp, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve with burger buns and desired toppings (e.g. sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, lettuce, etc.) Download the Recipes Thanks again to all our incredible volunteers! If you’d like to learn more about volunteering with The Stop, visit our volunteer page.