Harvest Vegetable Soup with Naughty Garlic Bread

                                    Harvest Vegetable Soup with Naughty Garlic Bread


It’s time to celebrate the autumn harvest in all its glory, so I developed these recipes for a recent meal at The Table, the community kitchen where I am a volunteer chef. This is autumn cooking at its finest, full of nutritious, healthy vegetables, with a naughty garlic bread loaded with garlic. If garlic isn’t your thing, don’t go any further, just go directly to the soup recipe, where you will be rewarded with a hearty lunch or dinner meal. The beauty of this soup is it makes use of what ever vegetables you have on hand, is completely vegetarian (unless you want to add chicken or beef), and cooks up pretty quickly. This is a crowd-sized recipe, and I have already cut the recipe in half for you. If you’re feeding 2 armies, by all means double it. Ditto for the garlic bread, I made four loaves originally, but I will leave it up to your discretion (and how much garlic bread you like). Feel free to use other veggies than the ones I did. The garlic bread makes use of loads of butter, garlic, with some parsley for color, and can heat in the oven while the soup is finishing up. 


Harvest Vegetable Soup

8 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped

4 Peppers, preferably in several colors, cut in chunks

2 large chopped onions

4 cups chopped flat Italian beans, in 1” chunks

4 cups cubed butternut squash

6 large carrots, sliced into ¼” diagonals

3-4 finely minced jalapenos, or to taste

2 cans red kidney beans

1 can black beans

2 cans bean mélange or mix

¼ c. chopped fresh basil

1 tbl. chopped fresh thyme

1 tbl. chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbl. salt


In a large stockpot, put the tomatoes, peppers, onions, squash, carrots, jalapenos, beans, herbs and salt in. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft (and release their juice) and squash is tender. This doesn’t take all that long, about 20 minutes. Test frequently so things don’t get overcooked. Taste for the salt, and see if you want more. 


Harvest VegetablesPhoto by Sue Van Slooten   

Harvest VegetablesPhoto by Sue Van Slooten


Naughty Garlic Bread

2 good quality baguettes or Italian loaves, split

1 lb butter

¼ to ½ cup garlic puree, or 4-6 tbl finely minced garlic

¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Melt butter in saucepan, and add pureed garlic or minced garlic. Let heat on very low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, to infuse the garlic flavor into the butter (I did this just on a pilot light of the gas stove.). Add parsley, stir. On sheets of foil, place the loaves of bread, and ladle garlic butter onto the cut sides. Fold back together, seal inside foil, and place in a slow oven, about 300, for 15 minutes. Slice and serve. That’s it. 


Naughty Garlic Bread. Photo by Sue Van Slooten   

Naughty Garlic Bread. Photo by Sue Van Slooten





The Table Community Food Centre. Last accessed October 7, 2015.

Photos taken by Sue Van Slooten


Dinner is at The Table

Dinner is at The Table

By Sue Van Slooten


I started working July 2, 2014, the day after Canada Day, at a local community kitchen named The Table, in Perth, ON.  Actually, it is much, much more than just a community kitchen:  It’s a food bank, gardens, an after school place for kids, provides advocacy for those in need, and yes, hot meals three times a week.  That’s where I come in:  Every other week on a Friday afternoon, I come in to volunteer three to four hours to help get the night’s meal on the table.  Meals are also served on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Menus and recipes are developed by Chef Judy Dempsey, a renowned chef in this area, and her recipes are simply, well, fabulous.  There are a number of us who form a team to assist Chef Judy, and we come in to help get everything ready, served, and cleaned up.  Currently, Chef Joanne is taking over for Judy on Fridays, as she has another Table event now on Thursday evenings, Dads and Kids (see photo). 


The folks who come for dinner are a varied group:  Seniors, students, young families, singles, a broad cross section of ages and stages.  The meals are open to anyone who’s hungry, for any reason, such as not being able or knowing how to cook, low income, homelessness, drug issues, disabilities, it doesn’t matter.  All are welcome.  And what a fabulous group of people it is too.


Meals consist of a main course, such as a hearty soup or stew, a bun or biscuit, and a salad.  There is a meat option, as well as vegetarian, and gluten free is accommodated when possible.  Salads can be either fruit or veggie.  Everything is made from scratch about 95% of the time by my experience, often with fresh vegetables either out of the gardens or from local farmers. The chive biscuits are not to be missed, and Judy’s salsa, ah, you’ve got to try it.  Coffee, tea, and ice water are always available, the coffee custom blended for them at a local coffee company.  (A $1 donation goes to the Table when you buy a pound.)  If someone can’t finish their meal, we provide containers for them to take home and enjoy later.    


The absolute joy of working at the Table is the people.  And lots of fun.  Make no mistake, this is a lot of hard work, as you are hopping pretty much the minute you walk in the door.  The jobs you do range from chopping and cleaning to washing dishes to serving, but it’s all great, (although putting the sign board out is a bit heavy).  We prepare enough meals each of the three days to feed anywhere from 50, to 107, like we had a short while ago.  When I started, we would have thought 80 was a lot.  The dining area seats about 48. 


Everyone is very friendly, helpful, and supportive, not to mention educational:  My knife skills, well, let’s just say under Judy’s tutelage, have improved immensely.  It is also rewarding to hear all the positive comments from our patrons about the delicious food, and how much they’ve enjoyed it.  Oh, and did I mention we usually get dinner to take home?  We do, and I greedily keep it all to myself!

The Table info:

190 Gore St. East, Perth, ON  K7H 1K3


After school fun at The Table - Photo Courtesy of The Table

After school fun at The Table - Photo Courtesy of The Table