Hot and Soup Soup (vegan)

1 tablespoon extra light olive oil

4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked 4-5 hours

1 medium carrot

1/2 block bamboo shoot

2 cloves garlic

A small handful (4-5) dried black fungus, soaked 4-5 hours

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt

1/2 block silken tofu

3 1/2 cups mushroom broth (recipe below)

1 tablespoon & 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon white cooking wine (or shaoxing cooking wine)

2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dark/aged vinegar (I used Shanxi aged vinegar)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

1 scallion

Modified from:

Chocolate Soup

4 cups of whole milk

4 cups of chocolate chips

2 cups of white chips

1 quart of heavy cream

2TB of vanilla

1/2 cup of corn syrup

Tom Yum


6.5 cups water
2 bullion cubes
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP sugar
3 stalks fresh lemongrass in a satchel
1 inch piece galangal Chinese ginger
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 TBSP + 1 tsp Thai Kitchen® Roasted Red Chili Paste
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 dried Thai chilies, crushed
1 – 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with broth
2 green onions
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
top with bok choy / green onions / cilantro

1. BRING broth, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes. Remove galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

2. STIR in chili paste until well blended. Add chicken, mushrooms, onion and chilies; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in tomato.
LADLE into soup bowls. Garnish with cilantro.

THAI Kitchen Tip: If preparing with shrimp or tofu, simmer broth for 25 minutes before adding chile paste. Add shrimp or tofu with mushrooms; simmer 1 to 2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink or tofu is heated through.


Letter from the Food Bank October 2013

In 1991, Stephen Neely, a student at Carnegie Mellon University, joined a group of classmates to volunteer at an organization just entering its 11th year: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

He remembers shoveling frozen lima beans into small bags for distribution. Stephen doesn’t even like lima beans!

But he returned to his dorm humbled and impressed by our work – little knowing that his experience, and a mysterious face in a window, would lead to wonderful tradition for his family.

Today, as the Neely’s begin planning Big Soup, their annual fundraising event, they join me in ruing friends like you to renew your support of the Food Bank. Your gift of $15, $20 or $30 will go a long way to bring food and related serves to the 120,000 adults and children who turn to us each month.

Stephen met and married Melissa, a fellow student at Carnegie Mellon University, when they were still in college. In 1993, the newlyweds moved into a small, ground-floor apartment with a window right above the sidewalk.

They decided to throw a party. To keep within their limited means, they’d cook up a huge pot of homemade soup and serve it with crusty bread.

About 20 friends came to enjoy the fare. As the room grew warm, Melissa opened a window. Suddenly, a man poked his head through the window!

The stranger asked them for money. “We don’t have money,” Stephen and Melissa told him. “But we have food! Would you like some?” When he nodded, they packed some soup and bread “to go.” and he went on his way.

“Big Soup” became an annual tradition. The coupled finished school, established careers, bought a nice home and began raising a family. “We live a privileged life,” Stephen says. “We realized our party had the potential to do more than just be a way to stay in touch and have some fun. It’s important to give back. But what could everyone in our eclectic group of friends get behind?”

He remembered how great he’d felt shoveling those lima beans; Melissa remembered the face at the kitchen window.

So at Big Soup 2003, they placed a bowl on the table to collect cash and checks for our Food Bank. By the end of the evening, it held more than $200.

As Big Soup increased awareness of hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania among their friends, the number of guest grew exponentially. “the Food Bank has sustained our party’s good energy with a new purpose,” says Stephen.

I was pleased to learn that they asked guest not to bring canned goods to donated– just to show up a bowl, a spoon, a friend, and cash or a check.

That’s because Stephen and Melissa know that our strategic purchasing enables us to translate every $5 we receive into $25 in food and related services.

A few years ago, Melissa wanted the oldest of their three boys to see what happens to the money from Big Soup, and took him to one of our 400+ food assistance agencies. Like his father before him, Evan shoveled vegetables into smaller containers for our hungry neighbors–including kids his own age.

“It was a powerful teaching moment,” Melissa recalls. “Now that our other sons are getting older, it’s time to do the same with them.”

In 2012, the family served 50 gallons of soup to 260 people… and raised $3,763! Today, as they look through recipes in preparation for Big Soup 2013, I hope you will renew your own support of our work.

You don’t have to labor for hours over a hot stove to share with your neighbors. Simply send the most generous gift you can to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank–and serve hungry adults and children in need. Thank you.

Lisa A Scales
Chief Executive Officer

Thai Cashew and Coconut Soup top with Cilantro, Scallions, Cashews, and Coconut milk

2- tablespoons sunflower oil

2- red onions finely chopped

1- birds eye chili pepper- seeded and finely sliced

2-garlic cloves -chopped

1- 1inch lemon grass outer layers removed and inside finely sliced

1-cup of red lentils, rinsed

1- teaspoon ground coriander

1- teaspoon paprika

2/3- cups coconut milk

3 3/4 – cups water

juice of 1/2 lime

1 cup of cashews

3- spring onions or scallions- chopped

1- cup fresh cilantro finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, chili, garlic and lemongrass

2. cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft but not browned stirring occasionally……

3. add the lentils and spices

4. pour the coconut milk and 3 3/4 cups water and stir

5. bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 40 to 45 minutes until the lentils are soft

6. Add 1 cup of cashews

7. pour the lime juice and add the spring onions and cilantro…and reserve some for garnish to each bowl before serving

8. season as needed with salt and pepper and serve

Mulligatawny Soup II


  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green chile peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 pods cardamom, bruised
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh curry
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 apple – peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed, drained
  • 8 cups broth
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat ghee or vegetable oil in large pan (use low heat); cook onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, spices and curry leaves, stirring, until onion is browned lightly and the mixture is fragrant. Do not over brown the onion or else it will give the soup a burnt taste.
  2. Add carrot, apple, potato, dhal, and stock to pan; simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Discard cardamom pods and curry leaves.
  3. Blend or process soup mixture, in batches, until pureed; return to pan. Add tamarind, lemon juice, coconut milk and fresh coriander leaves; stir until heated through.

Tuscan Bean

3 TBS Olive Oil
2 Onions
2 Carrots
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Celery Sticks
1 Fennel Bulb
2 Zucchini
28oz Chopped Tomatoes
4 TBS Pesto
3 3/4 cup of Vegetable Stock
14 oz Navy Beans Rinsed and Drained
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onions, carrots, crushed garlic, celery and fennel and fry for 10 minutes. Add Zucchini and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, pesto, stock, and bean and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are completely tender. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3. Top with Spinach and Parmesan Cheese

Black Bean with Pesto

Adapted from Vegetarian Times March 2003


Black Bean Soup 

• 1 1/2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed 

• 12 cups water

• 1 large onion, diced

• 6 cloves garlic, minced

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 8 large basil leaves, julienned for garnish

Basil Purée 

• 1/3 cup olive oil

• 4 large cloves garlic 

• 1 1/2 cups (about 11/2 oz.) fresh basil leaves

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to make the soup 

• To prepare beans, place them in a large stockpot, and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Cover pot, and set aside at room temperature to soak overnight. 

• Drain beans, and return to pot. Cover with 12 cups water. Add onion and garlic, and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Reduce heat to low, and cook until beans are very tender, for about 21/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water, if needed, or boil soup down until thickened but not dried out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

• To make purée, place oil, garlic, and basil in blender. Process until smooth, pulsing on and off and stopping to scrape down sides of the container. Season with salt and pepper. 

• To serve, bring soup to a boil. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Stir the basil purée into soup.  Ladle into four soup plates. 

garnish with julienned basil.

What Can One Person or One Family Do? A Whole Lot!

by Iris Valanti, Director of Communications _ Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

One of the most wonderful things about working for the Food Bank and working toward ending hunger in our region is the special people you meet in the course of the work. These kinds of people don’t wonder IF hunger can be ended, or how such an ideal might be achieved, they just go about doing it, in whatever way they can. Their efforts aren’t “better” than anybody else’s, they just show a little extra imagination, and seem to share some kind of “hey, I can do that!” DNA. Without fanfare or permission, and more often than not without pay, they take a look at the situation and come up with an idea. Then they just do it.

So the next time you are wondering “What can I do to help end hunger?”, let imagination, and perhaps the examples that follow, inspire you.

The big SOUP party is a yearly excuse for the Neely family to call up their friends, break bread, and share some big SOUP for an evening. It’s a way to keep in touch, have some fun, eat a lot of great food, and celebrate SOUP as the most perfect of culinary inventions. And it has become a way to help fight hunger.

The event starts at 6:00 pm and soup is served late into the night. Friends are welcome at any time, and are asked to bring only a bowl, a spoon, and a friend. There is a large soup bowl on the main table to collect cash and checks for the Food Bank.

The event is enhanced by a great website, soup recipes, and a sense of fun. Awards are given for the biggest spoon used, most original bowl, and furthest distance traveled. The Big Soup Party, started in 1993, has seen the Neely children grow up. And it’s raised around $10,000 for the Food Bank. And next year’s big Soup Party is already scheduled: December 4, 2010.

Meanwhile, another family’s tradition may be just beginning. Last summer the Weida family of Baldwin received a letter from the Food Bank about children who usually get school breakfast and lunch, but who might face hunger over the summer. Nathalie, age 10, wanted to do something about it. So she began “Keys to a Change.” She decorated old keys, and used them as the focus pieces of beaded jewelry, which she sells, and then donates the money to the Food Bank. To boost her efforts she had her friends over to a “Keys for a Change” party, where everyone could make a beaded piece if they brought nonperishable items for the Food Bank. She collected about 100 pounds of food, and some $450.

Then she and her family brought what she had collected to the Food Bank to see how it works. They saw volunteers sorting food drive food, and learned how the Food Bank serves 100,000 people each month, and distributes almost 2 million pounds of food every month, which takes a lot of money. They saw the warehouse machinery, people working, the receiving dock and the fleet of trucks that pick up and deliver food. Now Nathalie can’t wait until she turns 12 and is old enough to volunteer at the warehouse. Meanwhile, the Weida’s plan to come to Empty Bowls.

Taking action to help your community is what makes the world a better place to live for everybody. The Neely and Weida families have found unique and wonderful ways to enrich their own lives while they help feed their neighbors. Thankfully, the Food Bank meets special people like them every day.