Slow cooked and well-seasoned black bean soup dressed up with some avacados, vegan sour cream mixed with lime and a shake of paprika--delicious!
These sweet potato latkes were the perfect side with the soup--cooked to perfection and served with a drizzle of vegan sour cream and lime with scallions on top: Yum!
My posse--the minute the chopping board comes out--they show in seconds--ready for pieces of carrot and pepper and other dog-friendly veggie snacks (and an opportunistic chance at any other morsel that falls to the ground!).
"Hey, mom, look! I tried to become a Dalmation for a day!" Covered head-to-toe! How did she get those dots of mud on top of her head--and her back is completely covered in mud! I nearly fell over, I laughed so hard--but you have to know her. It was a stitch!
I had a craving for soup last night. I love soup. I am trying hard to watch my protein levels while I recover from this long spell of sun-less misery, as well as eating for more energy and balance to improve my running--not speed or anything, but to improve my recovery (well maybe a little speed). You might think that being a vegan covers all that. Not necessarily. As with any diet--too much of one thing can be a bad thing. Being a vegan does not mean never "overweight"--I still have to watch what and how much I eat.
I went to the Supercenter. I had a budget I needed to keep to. I made my list, most of which consisted of produce (which always leads to interesting "check out line chatter": You certainly spent a lot of time in the produce isle today, honey!). I had decided on black bean soup. I just felt the pull to the bean is all. It's so good if it's made right--and I'm talking boiling the bag of beans and working it from that angle, not using canned black beans. One dollar, that's all my bag of beans cost me. I could feed myself and my husband for several more meals from this one dollar. (Plus the cost of an onion and the other veggies mixed in)--but you get my point. If only the rest of the world could see the savings they could have by being a bit more resourceful in the kitchen--and vegan. Grant it, this recipe does call for some stove top time, it still makes sense. I have plans for bread baking today, so I thought it best to keep the meal simple, a side including a potato of some sort was in order. I had sweet potatoes that were just beginning to get their "eyes"--enter the latkes--I love latkes! I knew them as "hash brown patties" growing up. All crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I cannot make these and not consume at least one during the prep time. They are so delicous. On top was a drizzle of vegan sour cream with the juice of half a lime, topped with some scallions.
While I was unpacking my goods, I come home to these adorable canine faces all frantic (because you know dogs, they really don't have a good sense of time). I could leave, forget something, come back inside and it's like: OMG, you're home, we've been waiting forever for you! I love my kids! Dogs love the sun, too. They love the chance to sit in the sun, play in the sun--it's good for everyone. So when I got home yesterday it was time for some sun. I let the crew out. Usually, I am never far from a window in the house where I can view them. I have Great Pyrs, and anyone who knows this "guardian of sheep" knows they love to dig. I have holes here and there throughout my backyard. I keep on top of this by constantly refilling or planting new things in the holes in the spring--why? Because the hole's already been dug! While my unpacking took place in a matter of minutes, I got distracted for maybe another fifteen minutes. It was close to dinner time, too--they have this schedule. Typically before dinner it's let's go outside, play some, then sit by the door to wait for "mommy". Well, the sun played havoc on my dogs yesterday and the picture above is what I walked out to find--my girl flew the coop!--Lost her mind, wallowing in a muddy spot--(the constant bare spot) and taking a roll!
Maybe you won't find this as hysterical as I did--I nearly fell over laughing. You have to know this girl. She was a rescue who had spent the first year of her life on a farm as an "outside" dog. FYI: Uh, there is no such thing. Anyway, her previous owner phoned the rescue organization to find her a new home after one of the neighbors shot this baby girl's daddy. (Pyrs will wander if you don't have them fenced--unless they are protecting sheep.) Therefore, she thought it best to find her a new home rather risk her being hurt. Best move that woman ever made. We drove an hour and a half to get her. We pulled up to the farm and up comes this little ragamuffin looking girl, all pretty on top, but underneath, brown, muddy and as an extra bonus, covered in tics! (We were going to name her Tic for posterity). We didn't. She came home with us that afternoon. Her first mommy would call just to check on her--this woman was god-fearing, kind-hearted and wanted to know she did right by placing her with us--I assured her she had--that we loved her more than she could know. And we do. Even when she looks like this after "going crazy" in the sun!
This soup is so easy, it's a sin. Just follow the directions, taste, taste, taste--you have to coax some flavor out of the beans as you started from scratch here--but I offer a few tips to help. The latkes are super easy, too, and make for a wonderful side with the soup!
$1.00 Vegan Black Bean Soup
1 bag black beans
5 cloves garlic
1 onion chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
2 celery stalks sliced
1 can diced green chiles
1/3 cup red cooking wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 cups veggie stock
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
plenty of fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
dash or two of hot sauce
*avacado for topping soup
**vegan sour cream with half of a lime, whisked together for topping soup
First, fill a soup pot with about eight cups of water. Rinse and drain the beans first. Next, add about 2 cups of dried black beans to the soup pot. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for an hour. Turn off the heat--add garlic and place lid on the pan. Let soup pot sit for 30 minutes. Bring to boil again--then turn down heat to low and allow to simmer for about 1-1 1/2 hours. Test the beans along the way for doneness--mine were ready in about an hour. Make sure the soup is not hot for this next step. (If you have an immersion blender you can skip this, but I used both the immersion blender and food processor.) I took a ladle at a time and added it to my food processor to pulse the beans and garlic a bit--just to add texture. I think I used three ladles. Then added it all back to the soup pot. Next, saute the rest of the veggies and dry seasonings in a pan with a little oil. Don't over cook the veggies, get them soft. Add the veggie mixture to the soup pot and turn heat to medium. Add the veggie stock and remainder of the ingredients. You should let the soup just simmer for another hour. But taste, taste, taste. In adding the seasonings at this step--you will allow the flavors to meld. If more salt is needed, that's fine, but too much salt can ruin the soup. Just taste it during the last stages. Use the immersion blender to make thicker. *If your soup is thinner than you'd like, give it a good boil for about another fifteen minutes, then bring back down to a simmer. Allow to sit about ten minutes before serving. The longer this soup sits, the better it gets.
Sweet Potato Latkes
2 medium or 1 large sweet potatoe(s) grated
1 onion grated
canola or safflower oil for frying
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chile powder
fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons warm water
Preheat oven to warm. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels. Place the grated potato and onion in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well with a spoon. Heat about 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan. *If you use a non-stick pan, the crispy edges will take a bit longer to cook. Just don't let them burn--you must keep an eye on these. Add a bit more oil if you find the oil is sucked up in the cooking process. Shape the patties into little discs--it's okay if they don't fully stick together, just place your formed shape in the pan carefully--trying not to splatter the oil. Fry on each side about ten minutes over medium heat--lift to see if the latkes are browning before flipping. Remove from pan when done and place on paper towel-lined cookie sheet and set in oven to keep warm while you work on the rest of the latkes. Top with a bit of sour cream whisked with some lime juice. These make great left overs, too!