Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 11- Black Bean Soup

Today is my wedding anniversary. Darien and I have been blissfully married two years. Instead of going out for supper, or making him an elaborate five course French meal, my poor husband was fed soup instead.

To try and make it up to him, I made Rice Krispie squares. My brilliant idea was that I would spell out I Love You with white chocolate on top. I had truly become the epitome of a house wife, and far from the Gourmand I so claim to be. However, my attempt at melting white chocolate over a double boiler failed miserably. I was left with what looked like play dough. So much for my cheesy declaration of love.

We were married on a cruise in Florida, and had our reception with family and friends in Montreal. Our main focus was making sure our food was phenomenal. No offense is intended here, but wedding food usually lacks any imagination, or it just plain sucks. Mesculun salad, dry tasteless roast beef, even drier poultry, over cooked frozen vegetables and cheesecake for desert. I have just described a typical wedding fare. Now, I realize I may never get another wedding invitation after this, but seriously, if you are going to feed me that I don't mind.

So, we had a fancy buffet (yes, it is possible) and an amazing never ending assortment of appetizers (and Champagne). We had a station where a chef fried prawns to order, and served them on a bed of julienne mango and fennel, a lamb chop station with Parmesan mashed potatoes and shallots in red wine, and the best gnocchi with mushrooms I have ever tasted. For desert we had three different types of creme brulee (chocolate, green tea, and vanilla,) strawberry's and melon dipped in chocolate. Darien and I made our wedding cake. He will argue that he put more effort into it, since I only made the chocolate cake, and he made the vanilla cake, icing and put it together, but I maintain that it was a 50/50 effort.

We are a family that appreciates good food. Darien remarked while eating the smoky black bean soup that he would much rather have my food than eat out at a fancy restaurant. But truthfully, I think he liked the fact he could have unlimited Rice Krispie squares.

Black Bean Soup
Source: Food Network, Dave Lieberman

5 slices of bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves pressed
7 ounces of chicken broth
3/4 cups of canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cans of black beans
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of cilantro
juice of half a lime
sour cream for garnish
grate cheddar for garnish

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

Chef's Note: I also used chopped avocado as part of a garnish. With cilantro and lime in the soup,it just screams for it.

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