22 February 2013
Black bean cauliflower soup
It's been a crazy week. I've been working setup for Stitches West, a gigantic yarn convention, and am going to at least one yarn-related party this weekend before working teardown Sunday night. That means many hours of physical labor. Personally, I'm used to sitting in front of a desk or videocamera for the majority of my workday, so this is a huge and exhausting (although fun) change. It does mean I'm getting the best sleep I've had in ages, though.
Thank you all for your camera recs! I did a good bit of additional research, especially since I decided a smaller and more portable form factor was important to me. So I decided to take a step back from the ubiquitous Canon and go for the Panasonic Lumix GF3. Hey, why not learn to use a different camera interface while I have the opportunity? And a small DSLR with pancake lens seems to offer the best of both worlds.
So here's the situation. I have the camera in hand, but I haven't been in the kitchen since Tuesday, and all I want to do is lie on the couch and eat delivery pizza.
It's a good thing I'm the type of person to stash homemade soup in the freezer.
I make this same kind of simple pureed veg and bean soup over and over, as you may have noticed. It freezes beautifully and defrosts to an unchanged texture. By keeping the main base free of dairy, you can not only avoid any separation or crystallization in the freezer, but also feed vegans. Hooray!
Black bean cauliflower soup
cooked black beans
salt, pepper, thyme, sage, red pepper flake, bay leaf, etc.
typical garnish of cilantro, yogurt, and sriracha
If you're starting from dried beans, sort them, soak them overnight, and boil them in a fresh change of water for about an hour, or until tender. This will give you both beans and black bean broth. I was starting from previously cooked beans in their broth, which I had frozen into a 2-cup block. Yes, the freezer is my prep kitchen.
If you're using canned beans and thus need veg broth, start a pot of that first.
Okay. Chop up an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Saute in some olive oil in a reasonably sized soup pot. While the onion is softening, scrub and chop a carrot and dice a stick or two of celery. Throw them into the pot, add a bit of salt, stir, and let cook on medium for about five minutes, or until tender.
While this is happening, tackle the cauliflower. Cut off any dark bits and chop the rest of the head (or as much cauliflower as you want) into florets. Add them to the pot, season with the herbs and spices of your choice--I used thyme, sage, red pepper flake, a bay leaf, and maybe some marjoram too--and cook for another five to eight minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the cauliflower to soften and also to pick up a bit of browning. Deglaze with vermouth when the pan gets too dry.
Next, add your black beans and broth. Since mine were frozen, I just threw the blocks into the pan and let them melt. I used about four cups of beans in broth, so that's roughly 2 cups apiece.
Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a good ten minutes. Puree off the heat with an immersion blender. Cook down to your preferred texture, correct any seasonings, and you are good to go.
Eat with the garnish of your choice and some delicious pita or toast. I obviously really like yogurt, sriracha, and cilantro as soup garnish, but I think a squeeze of lemon and a scattering of parsley would also be delicious. Also: cashew cream. I'm just saying. I may be needing some cashew cream in the next few days.
Put the ungarnished leftovers in the freezer for the next time you come home with absolutely no desire to spend any time over the stove. Hooray!
What foods do you store for emergency dinners?