Today marks the halfway point of Project Veggie. I’m happy to report we are doing great! I feel terrific, have lots of energy and haven’t been missing the meat at all. We may just keep going with it after the month is up.
My daughter, Claire, has a recurring dream. She calls it the “monster stealing my soup” dream. She gets up from the table for something and when she returns there is a tiny, poofy, green monster who grabs her bowl of soup and disappears. The only thing that changes is the kind of soup. I’d like to think the underlying cause of these dreams is the irresistible soup I make.
One year for Christmas my dad and stepmom gave me two Calphalon hard-anodized pans. One soup pot, and one sauce pan. This was about 15 years ago and I still have them and they are still like new, and my favorite pans. They are indestructible. I wish I had an entire set. They came with a little cookbook that I’ve used so much it’s fallen apart and is now being held together by binder clips. Whenever I make a recipe out of a cookbook, I draw a face on it describing how I feel about it for future reference. This book is riddled with happy faces. One of the happy faces is on the recipe for Black Bean Soup. It’s quick, easy to make, and very satisfying. But beware, it’s so good a monster may try to steal it!
Black Bean Soup
(adapted from Weeknights, by Calphalon Cooks)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes with onion, celery, and green bell pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt & pepper
Saute onions, pepper and garlic in oil about 5 minutes. Add cumin and saute 5 minutes more until onions are soft. Stir in beans, tomatoes, cilantro and oregano. Remove from heat. Spoon into a blender or food processor a portion at a time. Puree coarsely – there should still be some whole beans. Return to cooking pan and add broth. Bring to boil. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed. Ladle into soup bowls and finish with a swirl of sour cream and a squeeze of lemon. Serves 4.