Jan 10, 2010

Blogging Again and Black Bean Soup

Hello again!

Anxious Sunday night for me.  What am I sweating at the moment:

Roasting artichokes.  I love cooking vegetables and I love artichokes, but cooking them intimidates me.  I've always either under or overcooked them.  And the whole "choke" part, well, I don't want to choke my clients, that's for sure.

Remedy:  crash course in artichoke roasting tomorrow.  After I've already cooked all day.

Quitting Gold's Gym.  I quit the gym because I never use it, it's dirty and gross and takes me twenty minutes to drive to.  Time I do not have these days, and I'm blessed to live in California where I can run, walk or hike anytime (except in the blistering sun-oops).

I've emailed the "manager" twice and asked for acknowledgment of my cancellation request.  Have I gotten said acknowledgment?  Of course not.  So now I'm gonna have to drive there and try to dodge all the rich people's dog poop (and homeless people's human AND dog poop), and cancel in person, and I'm sure when I go the manager won't be there.  I HATE GYMS.  Freaking used car salesman.

Whew!  Someone's got a resentment.

Dinner party next week.  I am excited.  And the client is very sweet.  Just scared.  Scared I will screw it up.  Scared my virgin kugel won't measure up to the veteran jewish mother's kugel (how could it?).  The client told me affectionately, "you know, I'm very excited for you to be meeting these powerful people.   It could open doors for you, but you know, they will be judging you".

Yeah, I'll be sleeping real well for the next ten days.


Black Bean Soup

I'm all over making beans and bean soups from scratch lately.  Yes, it takes time, but it is easy, satisfying and tastes SO MUCH BETTER than anything you can get out of a can.  Like, 1000 percent better.

Here is my take on Black Bean Soup:

2 cups dried black beans
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar


On a cookie sheet, sort the black beans, removing any rocks, and wash the beans.

Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse. Return to the saucepan and cover with fresh water and cook another 4 to 5 hours, until tender, adding more water as necessary (I keep a pot of water on another burner, so it’s simmering.  That way as you add water, you’re not cooling down the beans).  You always want the beans to be covered with water..

Once beans are tender, stir in mire poix of onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender. Season with salt, pepper and cumin, to taste. Stir in the vinegar before serving.

If you have a stick blender (i.e. immersion blender), when your beans are soft and you are ready to serve, remove pot from the heat and blend to desired consistency.

NOTE:  This is the basic recipe.  You can embellish in the following ways:

Use any veggies that sound good.

You can sauté the veggies first in oil, salt and pepper.

You can roast the veggies ahead of time.

You can add a bay leaf to the beans (remove before blending).

You can add more onion and garlic.

You can use chicken broth in place of the water you are adding as you cook (I would start with water and add broth when the beans are starting to get soft.  Sometimes the salt in the broth can make the beans softening take longer).

You can stir in cooked chicken just before serving or cooked turkey sausage or chicken sausage.

The sky’s the limit!


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