Saturday, July 28, 2007

From the Archives::Black Bean Soup

So, I kind of can't believe that this one has not made it onto the blog yet, because this is probably the dish (aside from plain pasta and sauce) that I have made more than any other. It requires very few ingredients, barely any time, and almost no effort. This is an absolute favorite of ours in the fall and winter months (I know this is totally out of season), served with a simple salad and bread or tortilla chips. Cheap, filling, and delicious!

I originally got the recipe from Everyday Food, but adapted it somewhere along the way - I can't seem to find the original recipe anywhere. Here is my quick and dirty version:


3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
2 or 2 1/2 t. cumin
2 or 2 1/2 t. oregano
1 or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (optional)
juice of 2 limes
handful of cilantro, chopped (if you belong to the "cilantro tastes like soap" club, I am sure Italian parsley would do the trick)

Heat 1-2 T. olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown, then add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about one minute more. Add cumin and oregano (I usually eyeball the spice measurements to taste), season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and cook for another minute. Add the beans, and pour water into the pan until the beans are covered by 3/4" or so of water. Add the bouillon cubes, stir, cover, and let cook until the flavors have combined and heated through, about 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, transfer to an upright blender, or my favorite - use a potato masher to mash the beans, leaving some in tact for texture. Stir in the lime and cilantro, and season to taste. Serve topped with soy sour cream and cilantro.  

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From the Archives::Hummingbird Cake

I came across an old box of undeveloped film and throw-away cameras in my craft room recently, and found some fun discoveries when I developed the film onto photo CDs. One of my favorites were pictures from Chris's 24th birthday, which we celebrated a little over a month after moving to Bloomington. It is so odd to think back to those days, when Indiana was so new and SO midwestern. We were both still very unemployed, spending our days doing projects on the house & becoming increasingly depressed about not having places to go aside from the hardware store.

Every year (except for one maybe?) since Chris turned 20, I have made him a birthday cake - it is one of those traditions that we have established and I really love it (even if I don't necessarily get a birthday cake in return, ahem, brownie mix ;). For this particular birthday, I made Martha Stewart's Hummingbird Cake, which is so beautifully covered in dried fresh pineapple slices. The cake is good - kind of a twist on a carrot cake - but really, my favorite part has to be the frilly frilly pineapple.

You can find the recipe here. Notice that it calls for 3 cups of mashed ripe banana - Lord knows I love my husband when I mash up 3 RIPE bananas for him (erhghgh - *gag reflex*).