Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Super Delicious and Easy Black Bean Soup!

I made this for dinner last night and it was so good that I just had to share it. I can barely wait to have lunch as I'll be eating the leftovers.


* 10 slices bacon, finely chopped
* 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
* 6 garlic cloves, pressed
* 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 bunch cilantro
* juice of 1/2 lime
* Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
* Sour cream, for garnish
* Grated 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.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fromage Blanc made at Home!

I've recently discovered cheese making and have been having a ball with it. I never realized you could make fresh cheese in a day. I had always wanted to try and make my own cheese, but thought it must take a lot of time and work. Then there is the aging, waxing, etc. Well I was wrong. You can make your own fresh Fromage Blanc in a day right at home and eat it the very next day. It's delicious!

First you heat up 32 oz of whole milk to 165F degrees. Here is a photo of the beginning stages of cheese.

Turn off the heat at 165F and add 1 cup of buttermilk and 2 tsp. of lemon juice. Wait 10 minutes and you should see curds forming like this photo.

You then pour the curds and whey into a strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Let strain completely. Little by little you will see the cheese solidifying.

When it looks like this you can cover it up and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning take it out of the refrigerator and mix 1/2 tsp of salt into it. Then scoop it in to ramekins. Smooth it out with a spatula and cover with plastic.

You can eat it right then, but I usually like to wait until the evening so that the flavor has a little more time to develop.

I've really had fun with this over the past week. I thought some of my readers might be interested in trying this themselves so wanted to pass this along to you all. I've almost enjoyed it as much as my soapmaking, but the fun part is you get to eat this!! Let me know if any of you try it. Would love to hear about it if so.

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