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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, July 12, 2010

Three Day Weekend

Not wanting to leave the excitement of the World's Cup or my seashore reverie behind just because it is Monday, I am making this soup for dinner. And, I could serve it with a slice of Spanish Manchego cheese, but I am stilI mourning the WC loss for The Netherlands. For the soup go-with's, you are on your own! I just may have a piece of Gouda.

I love beans of all kinds. They are so easy to fix and easy to live with (if you know what I mean). They just take some getting used to and a little planning.

The first thing to get used to is cooking beans, dried preferred. The texture of dried beans trumps canned beans any day. Most dried beans require a good soak the night before. Soaking improves the digestibility of beans and helps them cook faster. (Also, adding in a little piece of kombu, a sea vegetable, does too.) The actual cook time for beans varies. The smaller ones like adzuki and split pea are ready in less than an hour. The larger ones like pintos and kidney beans take about 2 hours. Cook time is not a high attention time and you can be doing all sorts of other things while the beans cook.

But, living in the real world, sometimes I forget to plan and use canned beans. The only brand I use is Eden Organic. Their cans are bisphenol A safe.

The fiber from the beans can cause some upset, but it is a true "listen to your body" moment. You are probably not eating enough fiber to begin with and the "upset" is a red flag to get more varied fiber in your diet. Fiber is key to so many healthy body functions and no one to my knowledge gets enough from the "beans and legumes" family. They are protein-packed, fiber-full life savers, truly one of your body's BF's. Show the love.

And so, to show how delicious the love can taste, here is a recipe that is a great summer black bean soup. Feel free to add in a little more heat....jalapenos, any kind of pepper or dash of hot sauce.

Tropical Black Bean Soup

3T. extra-virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil
2 small or 1 large Vidalia onions, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t. sea salt
4 cups black beans, cooked and drained or 2 cans, rinsed and drained
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes or equivalent in juicy fresh tomatoes
2 cups fresh orange juice and grated rind from oranges
3/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. dark or light rum (optional, but lovely)

To a large pot over medium heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil, onions, shallots, garlic, and sea salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions start to soften. Add the black beans, crushed tomatoes, orange juice, rind and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Season to taste.

Serve with a dollop of a nice fruity salsa. My favorite here is a pineapple/pepper/mint one pictured above. Also good is Tropical Sals-up, my basic go-to sauce. And, if you have any Sticky Coconut Rice leftover, add that in as well!

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