The Fabulous Foodie

The Fabulous Foodie, hosted by Chef Aimee, is an online account of one amateur chef's kitchen successes and mishaps, recipe and product roadtests, and food experiences. Chef Aimee's philosophy is that Food Is Love, and her blog contains reflections on the connection between fabulous food, a happy marriage and solid-gold friendships.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Black Bean Soup for the Soul

When you make a custard, you have to add some hot mixture into the cold eggs to heat them gently, then pour the warmed eggs back into the rest of the hot mixture. It prevents the eggs from scrambling, and it's called "tempering."

When Mother Nature decides to change the season, she needs to add a few hot days into the cool crisp weeks to prevent us humans from scrambling. Scrambling to Florida, that is. And so it is that she tempers us, like eggs, and eases us into the coming season's temperature.

Now as for me, I love the cool, crisp weather and Mother Nature need not temper me when it comes to the arrival of Fall. And Friday had all the promises of a cool early Fall weekend. So I assembled all I would need to make soup. Because that's what I do when I smell Fall. And what is soup if you don't have something to dunk into it?

And if you are a lover of the arrival of Fall, do you let 75 degree heat stop you from your autumnal cooking agenda? No. You don't.

I chose a delicious black bean soup, and doctored up a basic cornbread recipe with a topping of pepperjack cheese... great for dunking! Alongside a crisp beer, it would be the perfect meal to welcome the cool weather, and for Steve and I to nestle in on the couch, soup bowls in hand, and watch that other brilliant Fall symbol: post-season baseball. Go Red Sox!





Black Bean Soup with Chorizo

Ingredients:

2 t olive oil

4 ounces chorizo, casings removed and chopped

1 each small onion, green pepper and red pepper... chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t ground cumin

1 bay leaf

1 14-ounce can of black beans, undrained

1 14-ounce can of chicken stock, undrained

Juice of one lime

Cilantro, to taste

Instructions:

In your soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, and saute chorizo for 4 minutes until browned. Add onions, peppers and garlic, saute two minutes. Add cumin and bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Now, I break to as you... if your soup pot looked (and smelled) like this in just 10 minutes...

would you ever eat soup from a can again? I think not!

So... onward... place black beans and chicken stock in the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Within last half hour, place an immersion blender in the pot to break down some of the beans and thicken the soup. (You could also do this by hand my removing a cup or so of the beans and mashing them with a fork!)

At last minute, stir in lime juice and cilantro.



And of course, once you have that muffin tin out... isn't it easier to just make another batch of muffins than it is to crawl up on the step-stool to put it back where it belongs? (Note to you: when you are 5'1, it is indeed easier!)

So here is a great recipe for some good for you breakfast treats that I made on Sunday morning!



Whole Wheat Apricot Muffins -- From Cooking Light Magazine!

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 t grated orange rind
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
6 halfed dried apricots and sugar for garnish

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with butter-flavor cooking spray.

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl, blending with a whisk. Make a well in the center.

Combine all wet ingredients and pour into the well, stirring just until moistened. DO NOT overmix. Gently fold in chopped apricots.

Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins, sprinkle tops with sugar and place an apricot half on top.

Bake for 13-15 minutes (until tops spring back to the touch), remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

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