Speedy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

I love lingering over the stove coaxing ingredients into slow-simmered goodness, but sometimes I need a quick fix — an elixir, if you will.

(When your tastebuds are clamoring to jump on the express lane to flavor town, it’s best to appease them.)

Here’s my favorite 20 minute panacea.

Speedy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

(adapted from this recipe. Thanks, Jenna!)

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. diced canned tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. Garam Masala (optional)

Combine oil and onion in a saucepan over medium-high heat; sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Pour in chicken stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil and stir in black beans. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer.

Meanwhile poke the sweet potato several times with a fork. Microwave 7-8 minutes until just this side of done. (Or use a leftover baked sweet potato for a quicker fix!) Cool slightly, then peel and cut into cubes.

Transfer sweet potato cubes to broth, simmer 4-5 minutes, and season with salt & pepper. Add Garam Masala if desired and enjoy!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup 2

What’s your favorite “fast” food?

Enjoying quick fixes,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

A Day In The Life (Mushroom Soup with Bacon)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Diaries are a dangerous thing. (At least that’s what I thought when I was growing up.) Some of them came with a lock and key (remember the ol’ Woolworth’s variety easily pilfered with a paperclip?), while others resembled the “journal” advocated today.

Fair game for anyone who stumbled upon them.

Either way, sacred thoughts were but a page turn away from being revealed and thus I resisted the trend to tell it all… until I started blogging. It amazes (and amuses) me that anyone, anywhere can read whatever I choose to put out there.

Perhaps the key word is choose?

November 4, 2013

Woke up at 6:30 (or so) a.m. wondering what time it was. Hello, Daylight Saving Time… (Question to self: “Is it really possible to save daylight?) Check cell phone clock. Check computer clock. Open curtains. Ask hubby.

Coffee. More coffee…

Wandered about the house until caffeine caught up. (FYI, much of my morning exercise regimen consists of locating the cup I sat down somewhere, and caffeine — though labeled a drug and a vice — is part of my DNA after this long.) My blood type is “C” for caffeine… and chocolate.

Hubby laughs at my antics. (So predictable, but somehow he still finds it adorable.) Blessings…

Check outside thermometer. Check inside temp. Check woodstove.

“Want bacon for breakfast?” (No thanks.) “How ’bout eggs?” (Nah, not hungry this morning, thank you.)

“Okay.”

We’ve pretty much decided we’re on our own when it comes to appeasing hunger, but I’m compelled to offer anyway.

Hubby leaves for work. Rush to living room window to wave goodbye and blow kisses. (TMI?)

Opens fridge…

Generally I’m not a breakfast eater (see above), but I couldn’t help myself from indulging in another bowl of the mushroom soup that I made last night. It was that good. (Side note: check woodstove again.)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 1

I can’t thank Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine enough for sharing this recipe! (click here). For a fascinating glimpse on why Jeanne does what she does (and is a culinary instructor, to boot!), please follow up here. Thank you, Jeanne!

For those of you wondering if I rankled the recent dairy-phobe nature of my physiology, I went out on a limb and added the heavy cream. (So far, so good.)

I foresee cheese in my future, hoohah!

Did I mention bacon? Mushroom Soup with Bacon? Breakfast of champions.

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Fortified by the unconventional sustenance at that hour, I grabbed my camera and jacket (cooler today) to take shots of the undulating lake. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been fooling around with my blog background. The previous one reminded me of tire tracks and trucking (ala lake colors), but the effect was somewhat dizzyfying… not quite what I had in mind to imbue the peacefulness of this place.

Wave shots, check. Try not to fall in, check. Fall foliage shots and whatever else tickles my fancy, check.

(Bacon does that to me.)

Peaceful

Downloaded photos into my computer. Seared roast for tonight’s dinner. Peeled potatoes, onions, and carrots. Scoffed at the slippery slope toward revealing all… and laughed long and loud!

(Some days are like that.)

Particularly today…

Enjoying adjusting to DST,

~ Kimby

Soup’s On! (Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup with Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers)

Between the last post and this one, I ran away from home.

I spent four days in New England in the midst of autumn splendor, ate my weight in seafood, discovered the wonders of a Truffle Martini, treated myself to not one but two Triple Espresso Chocolate Martinis (not all in the same sitting, mind you…), took a carriage ride in historic Boston, rode on an antique carousel, strolled through Quincy Market, gazed at the harbor lights at dusk, and reveled in the presence of my beautiful daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in nearly two years.  (I also concocted a killer blackberry-balsamic reduction to drizzle over a baby arugula salad garnished with blackberries the size of my thumb — you didn’t think I’d abstain from cooking while I was away, did you?) ;)

If that’s not running away from home, I don’t know what is.

The best part was seeing my daughter. xo

Now that I’m back to “real life,” I’ve settled into the truth that it’s autumn here, too, and that means it’s soup weather.

Waaaay back in the 70’s, friends would host “progressive parties” (clarification: progressive dinner parties!) and meet at one home for an appetizer, trundle to the next for soup or salad, then onto another for the entree, and so on, until everyone ended up at the final destination for dessert.  Good times — and good food.

One soup that piqued my interest then (and remains a favorite to this day) consisted of tender cauliflower florets floating in what I can only describe as a “velvety broth.”  I made a batch recently using broccoli and cauliflower stems (recycled from this post), then ran it through the blender on a whim.  Oh my!  Creamy and velvety.

Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

(adapted from my friend, Jane’s, recipe)

3 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. flour

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

4 c. chicken broth

3/4 c. water

3 c. small cauliflower & broccoli florets (or pieces & stems)

1 egg yolk

3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Olive oil for drizzling

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Blend in flour and nutmeg.

Slowly whisk in chicken broth and water; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Add cauliflower and broccoli; return to a boil, then reduce heat.

Simmer, covered, about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Transfer vegetables and liquid to a blender; puree until smooth.

Return mixture to saucepan (wash pan out in between); begin heating over low heat.

In a small bowl, blend egg yolk with cream; whisk into soup until thoroughly combined.

Increase heat to medium, whisking constantly until mixture just comes to a boil.

Remove from heat; season with salt to taste.  Ladle into bowls.

Drizzle with olive oil and grind black pepper over the top.

Sit back and enjoy vegetable velvety-ness!

.   .   .

Now about those crackers…

Earlier this year, Erin from Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts wrote about these and I’ve been hooked on them ever since.  Fast, easy, savory… what can I say?  They were the perfect crunchy accompaniment for “creamy velvety” soup.

They’re also versatile (translation: they stand up to my tinkering…) — I’ve added shredded cheese, sprinkled them with sea salt, brushed them with garlic butter, and/or added fresh rosemary to my heart’s content.  (For the recipe, click here.)  Can’t thank you enough, Erin — we’ve enjoyed them many times!

Soup’s on!

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Enjoying a blast from the past and blessings in the present,

~ Kim

Hot Pot Soup

One of my favorite winter foods is soup and this one is guaranteed to keep you warm, thanks to the red pepper flakes.  (If you’re not a fan of “hot” foods, by all means adjust that fiery ingredient accordingly.)  But don’t be shy.  Heat is a good thing in the middle of January.

Chock full of goodies cooked “hot pot style” (ala Chinese fondue), I concocted this soup a couple of years ago when my sister and I went on our very first “grown-up girls” vacation — smack dab in the middle of summer.  (There’s a warm thought!)

We stayed at a cabin equipped with every culinary gadget I’d ever dreamed of, so it seemed only natural to be adventurous in the kitchen.  Maybe a little too adventurous.  I’ve since cut down on the amount of red pepper flakes.

By the way, this soup is very subjective.  I’ve made it using beef broth, chicken broth, chicken & beef broth combined, or — in a pinch — boiling water and whatever flavor of instant bouillon was handy.

Speaking of pinches… the measurements are subjective, too.

I have very large hands (!) — great for piano playing, but no so great for indicating exact measurements.  Since the size of everyone’s “pinch” differs, think of this as more of a “guide” than a recipe…

Hot Pot Soup

8 oz. sirloin or ribeye steak, sliced into thin strips

12 small mushrooms, thinly sliced

5 green onions, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled & thinly sliced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

5 c. beef or chicken broth (or a combo of both)

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of cloves

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of dry mustard

Prep the steak and veggies to have at the ready.  Slice everything as “whisper thin” as possible (and if you really want to “pretty it up,” slice on the diagonal); set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine broth and seasonings; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.  If desired, strain out some (or all) of the red pepper flakes before proceeding to the next step.  (I do.)  They’re pretty zippy…

Carefully add the steak, mushrooms, green onions, and carrots.  Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.  Add radish slices; heat through.

Using a slotted spoon, arrange meat and vegetables in bowls.  Ladle a small amount of broth over the top.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.

By the way, if eating with chopsticks isn’t your cup of tea (or bowl of soup), it’s ok to use a spoon.  My big hands aren’t very adept at “two prong” eating — but it’s fun trying. :)

Enjoying nature’s thermodynamics,

~ Kim