Superheroes in our Community!

We are all struggling to manage our lives knowing that every morning we wake upon our reality might be different than it was the day before. As I write this it is Monday March 23, we have completed a full week of ‘Social Distancing’ and it impacts everyone differently.

Social Distancing at work for Group Photos!

For most of us it’s about breaking habits that personally I am finding hard to break. How do I stop myself from hugging a friend or loved one I haven’t seen in a while, or shaking the hand of a new acquaintance? How do I step back from a conversation, instead of leaning in so I can truly connect with another person. How will all of this impact how we deal with each other after this crisis has passed?

We have also learned over the last 10 days who the true ‘essential’ workers are in our community. First we must acknowledge front line health care workers for their dedication in putting the needs of the community ahead of their own, and in many cases the needs of their families. I am also cheering daily for those behind the scenes working on treatments and vaccinations. It can’t come soon enough!

Robin loading the car to deliver 100 meals to Cornerstone Home for Women

Those serving peoples who cannot fend for themselves like Karen and her team at Parkdale Food Centre and the team at Cornerstone Housing for Women, are essential. Delivery drivers like those bringing produce to grocery stores and business like ours, and those delivering meals to your door like are dear friends at GopherIt Deliveries are essential. Our farmers, growers and producers that are delivering to us, and in some cases to your door, are essential. If you are looking for lists of restaurants, farmers, and other local food business that are delivering to your door, Edible Ottawa is doing an amazing job of letting our community know how they can eat well and Support Local!

The food industry workers that do everything from deliver produce, stock the shelves, cook prepared meals, ring you through the check out, and delivery to your home are the new Super Heroes of this crisis and I can’t even imagine what things would be like right now without that entire group of often poorly paid and historically under-appreciated people. I hope that one of the positive outcomes of this crisis is that we reconsider how we ‘value’ people who do work we deem unimportant, but now know is essential.

At the Red Apron we continue to sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize constantly throughout the day. We have a client sanitization station set up inside our doors, allowing clients to sanitize their hands and their carts before shopping.

We have expanded our delivery days to include Monday and Friday for items from our retail store. Our drivers are sanitizing the vehicles before and after their route, and their hands before and after each delivery. We must INSIST that our customers leave a cooler or rubbermaid bin on their front porch for the driver to leave the food in. We don’t want any face to face contact at the door, please.

Our fridges and freezers are well stocked and our team is working hard to cook food for our customers, but also to satisfy a commitment we made to Parkdale Food Center. Starting last Friday, we are delivering 100 prepared meals to Parkdale (and their partners) every day or two, until we reach 1000 meals.

Baby Robin loading up the car for Parkdale

When we talk about Super Heroes, our team is full of them. Baby (pictured above) is one of the most amazing humans I have had the pleasure to know, let alone work with. At the ripe old age of 26, this incredible woman has worked her way up through our organization to the role of Sous Chef. She started here during her last few months of high school, and worked here while she studied cuisine at Algonquin college. She runs a team of 8-12 people at any given time, and if you didn’t know better, you would swear she has been doing it for 20 years. She is wise, calm, kind, tough, and and totally on top of all situations, all the time.

We have received tremendous support and positive feedback from our customers. They check in with us regularly to see how we are doing and if there is anything we need. We are fine, staying positive, and doing well. If you are looking to help in any way, what I suggest is consider buying a gift card for someone in need who might be unable to get out and would like to to take advantage of our delivery service.

This week’s recipe is for Soup. There is nothing more comforting to eat during difficult times than a hearty bowl of home made soup

Apple Butternut Soup

 This recipe works well with most winter squashes including pumpkin, acorn, turban, buttercup, pepper, etc.

Ingredients:

Olive oil or canola oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 large Butternut Squash
4 large apples
4 cups or vegetable chicken stock
1 Bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons Butter
1/3 teaspoon curry powder, or to your taste
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1:  Cut butternut in half and remove seeds.  Place cut side down on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool and remove meat and mash with a fork.

2:  Peel and slice apples and toss with melted butter and sugar.  Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until they start to caramelize.  Let cool.

2:  Sauté onion and garlic in oil until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add butternut puree, apples, stock, bay leaf, curry, nutmeg and mix well. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

3:  Add cream and remove from heat and cool. Blend in batches in a blender until smooth.  Add more water/stock if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.  Re-heat until warmed through and serve.