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When the house gets quiet, make soup

April 19, 2011

The girls went to camp this weekend for 4 nights.    I hate not having them in their beds at night but they have so much fun and this week they’ll get to go sailing, go karting, abseiling and even ice skating (which is rare here).      The camp doesn’t allow cell phones but Josee sneaks hers in and sends me text messages every morning and before bed at night.  🙂

I really don’t think I’d let them go without hearing from them every day so I don’t feel bad at all about breaking the rules  :).   This was my first text sent illegally at 4 p.m. today,

At camp, setting up our beds. Alex is in my room 😀 along with 9 other girls….And at camp there’s 3 other girls with our last name!!   😀 gotta gooo xoxo loveya

Alex however, forgot about me 30 seconds after I dropped her off…..

Or maybe not….

Guess what???   It rained all weekend.   Just like last weekend and the one before that and…….you get it.  It was chilly and damp and perfect for Black Bean Soup.     There’s something therapeutic about making chilli’s and stews that need lots of chopping, dicing, stirring and slow cooking.   You’re chilly kitchen warms up and becomes full of heavy herb scents from pots simmering and sweating.   I love one pot dishes that use up all of your veggies and make you a take a look at dried spices that could use a refresher.      If you’re not careful, that basil in the back of the cupboard could be as useful as grass trimmings in your recipes.           I like to dump and clean my spice jars at least twice a year to make sure I’m not ruining perfectly good recipes with bad quality ingredients.   Spices are relatively cheap so try not to skimp on quality.

Black Bean Soup

1 onion diced

1 green pepper diced

3 carrots dice

2 large stalks of celery diced

2 hot peppers minced (optional)

6 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup of tomato paste

4 cups of vegetable stock

5 1/2 cups black beans (if canned, be sure to drain and rinse)

2 tbsp cumin

2 tsp coriander

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 tsp black pepper

Have all of your veggies diced and ready to go.  Using a large stock pot, add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add all other veggies and cook until they just begin to soften using a bit of stock to stop them from sticking to the bottom.

Add the tomato paste and coat veggies well.  Let the paste cook a bit so that it just starts to stick.  Add 1 cup of stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the tomato paste bits off.  This is a great tip to get extra flavour into the soup.

Add all other ingredients except the lime juice and stir well.  Let this simmer gently for at least an hour or until some of the stock has evaporated and the soup thickens.   Squeeze the lime juice in and cook another 10 minutes.

Using a hand-held immersion blender, purée only about 1/2 of the soup.  Leave some of the soup whole for more texture.  If using a food processor, scoop out 3-4 cups and purée, then add back to the pot.

Garnish with green onions, sour cream, plain yogurt, shredded cheese or….nothing!

This made a lot of soup.    Perfect because it freezes well so save some for a busy night.   I also used 2 cups to make quesadillas.  Take two whole grain large pitas or tortillas and spread with leftover black bean soup.    Top with chopped tomatoes and low-fat goat cheese or other cheese and bake at 350F until crispy.  Cut into quarters and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and a large salad.

Now that the soup is cooked and eaten….my home is too quiet.

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