Category Archives: soup of the day

Soup of the Day: Summertime Black Bean Soup

I don’t know about you, but growing up in the south soup was not a summer food.  At least not in my house.  We ate cold food whenever possible, and my mother did her best to forget that we owned a stove (not a judgment, just the facts: she is the best mother in the world and she will be the first to tell you that she gets “hurmpy”– hot grumpy).  Given that background, I was surprised to find on our recent trip to Mexico that soup was served every day.  Yes, in Mexico, during their hottest season, delicious, delectable soups were offered every evening: beet soup, lentil, vegetable, chickpea, onion. . .they were varied and, despite the heat, perfect.

Well, I suppose Jason took a liking to the idea; in spite of the 90 degree plus weather here in Virginia he has requested soup a few times since we came home.  The one I’m going to share with you today we eat as a full meal, rather than a soup course, but I imagine you could make it fit beautifully into a larger menu.

This recipe is inspired by a long time favorite from the Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon, Cuban Black Bean Soup Santa Fe.  If you are on the lookout for a fantastic and healthy cookbook that you will turn to again and again, I highly recommend this one.  Beyond that, I suppose both our recent trip and the beautiful, abundant produce available at the market just now are responsible for the evolution of this soup.  Doing the Allergy Elimination Diet?  This soup is a great option for you.  Enjoy.  (Please forgive the rotten pictures; I just can’t seem to work the camera properly these days :S ).



Summertime Black Bean Soup with Roasted Corn and Avocado Salsa

makes 5 -6 main course servings

Soup Ingredients:

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed, picked over, and soaked in water to cover

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs cumin seeds

1 large jalapeno, chopped with seeds

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large white onion, medium dice

2 green bell peppers, medium dice

6 cloves garlic, sliced or uniformly chopped




Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover (four cups is a good starting number).  In large pot or slow cooker, combine beans with soaking water, cumin seeds, jalapeno, bay leaves and 1 tsp of salt.  Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and bring to a simmer, cooking, partially covered, until beans are tender, roughly 2 hours.

In a large skillet add olive oil and garlic and turn to medium heat.  When garlic becomes fragrant, add diced peppers and onion.  Season with salt and pepper (start with no more than half a tsp of salt. . .you can always add more, but you can’t take away).  The goal here is to sweat the vegetables, not brown them, so keep the heat gentle as you sautee then until softened.

When the beans are tender and the vegetables are softened, using an immersion blender or food processor, blend half the beans (being sure to include the two bay leaves) and 1/4 to 1/3 of the vegetables together until thick and smooth.  Add this and the vegetable mixture to the remaining beans in your large pot.  Stir thoroughly to combine and taste for seasoning.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Serve garnished with roasted corn and avocado salsa.


Roasted Corn and Avocado Salsa


2 ears of corn

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

lemon or lime

1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder


Set oven to broil.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Remove husks from corn; cut avocados in half and remove seed.  Rub corn and avocado lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Broil, turning as needed until uniformly charred.  Avocados will finish before corn.  When cool enough to touch cut corn from cob, remove avocado from skin and cube.  Combine corn, avocado, cilantro, chipotle chili powder and the juice of 1 lemon or lime.

Some Like it Hot: Three Bean Chili

What are we up to; well, would you be surprised to hear we are getting ready for another extended trip?  No, not surprised?  I don’t really blame you; I’d be surprised to be able to tell you we were staying put!  This weekend Jason and I are off for three and a half weeks of family, friends, and fun in the sun, with a work trip to round it all out.  But before we head south, I wanted to get another recipe up.  This one is excellent for those who may be participating in the allergy elimination diet (and for everyone else besides).  So, say hello to a Three Bean Chili that still has my fingers burning. . .forget to wear gloves for the darn jalapeno!

Three Bean Chili

This chili is packed with vegetables and beans, which would inevitably lead my friends Frank and Nicole to say, “well, then it is bean soup, not chili”;however, as luck would have it, this is both my recipe and my site so. . . chili it is! (I love you, Frank and Nicole).  I hope you enjoy.  Look for more allergy elimination diet information to be posted later this week.

Wait, you say, what is that marvelous muffin mincing just out of focus?  That, my friends, is Sarah Brittons‘ wonderful Black Quinoa Corn Muffin.  Head over and get the recipe for a perfect chili pairing!


make ’em sweat

putting it all together

Three Bean Chili


1 cup mixed dry black, kidney, and pinto beans (or 2 cups cooked beans)

1 bay leaf

olive oil

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1 lg. can tomatoes, chopped, crushed, or squished btw your fingers

3 poblano peppers (dark green triangular peppers)

1/2 to 1 jalapeno

1 med. white or yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs fresh or 2 tsp dry oregano

1 1/2 Tbs chili powder

1tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp coriander

small pinch ground clove

1 tsp (a nice chunk) unsweetened chocolate

salt and pepper to taste


Soak 1 cup of beans in water to cover overnight.  Drain beans, and transfer to medium pot.  Add water to 2 inches above beans, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to boil then reduce to bare simmer; check for done-ness at one hour.  Beans should be fully cooked but still toothsome-remember, they will cook more in the chili.  Alternately, place dry beans in crock pot in the morning with water to cover by 3 inches, bay leaf and salt, and cook on low.  They will be ready to go in the chili when you get home!  Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid, then drain beans.  Put beans and liquid, together, aside until needed.

In a large pot, brown meat with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  Remove meat to colander to drain.  Wipe pot dry and add 1 Tbs of olive oil.  Sweat garlic, jalapeno, onion, and poblano chiles until onion begin to be transparent.  Add all other ingredients to the pot, stirring well to combine.  Allow chili to simmer on low at least 30, or until you are ready to have your socks knocked off!

bon appétit

Soup of the Day: Roasted Tomato Soup (and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches)

Hi there!  I’m back with something toasty to get us through the (hopefully) last few cold days of Spring.  A completely cozy, warm and rosy bowl of homemade tomato soup!

Roasted Tomato and Basil soup

I know, I know, they are out of season, but I proceeded with good reason:  my Mr. had a tomato craving.  Now this recipe has him raving (glad, not mad I’m happy to say).  The recipe is below; I hope you’ll stay.  But stop, delay, just one moment please; what would you say to a nice grilled cheese?

The High-Vibe Sandwich Makeover. Image property of Sarah Britton at My New Roots

Arrrrg, stop the rhyming!  My brain has been working in badly composed rhyme schemes all morning.  In plain English, this soup is really good and ‘s grilled cheese sandwich is a phenomenal accompaniment.  The only changes I make to the sandwich are, first and most obvious, the use of gluten-free bread, second, a thin layer of goat cheese  and , third, the addition of cheddar for Jason.  I hope you enjoy this most warming of meals!

Roasted onions, tomatoes and garlic

Ready to puree

Roasted Tomato Soup


3 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable)
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
½ to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Remove seeds and liquid; strain and reserve juice. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot . Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, reserved tomato juice, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender (or your best substitute) to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream if desired and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Soup of the Day: Swiss Chard, White Bean and Chorizo Stew

We are half way between a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and the weather here in Alexandria, Virginia is dark and gloomy in the extreme.  In another light it might be considered peaceful, encouraging us to rest after holiday travels and travails.  Either way, it is the perfect weather for warm, hearty, nourishing stew.

Swiss Chard, White Bean and Chorizo Stew with Poached Egg

This is definitely comfort food:  bright, sweet tomatoes, spicy sausage, crisp rainbow chard and toothsome beans simmering into a succulent stew,  and a poached egg, golden as afternoon sunshine, topping it all to warm you from the inside out.

Remove tough stems and ribs before chopping

Almost finished

To poach an egg, bring roughly two inches of water to a near-simmer.  By this I mean that the water should be steaming and there should be lots of little bubbles in the base of the pan, but those bubbles should not break the surface.  You do not want boiling water.  To this water add 1-2 tsp. of vinegar (this will help keep your egg together) and the same amount of salt.  Break your egg carefully into a small bowl, being careful not to puncture the clear sack (the thin albumen) surrounding the egg white.  Keeping the egg white (and of course yolk) intact, assisted by the vinegar, should allow you to produce a beautifully compact poached egg.  Now, lower your egg bowl over the hot water and  gently pour the egg into the pan.  Allow your egg to poach until all of the egg white has congealed and you can no longer see any transparency.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg directly to your stew.  Enjoy!


Swiss Chard, White Bean and Chorizo Stew

adapted from Smitten Kitchen


3/4 lb. chorizo sausage

1 large bunch chard ( kale, spinach or another green), cleaned thoroughly and ribs and stems removed

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup  chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup  chopped shallots, about 4 medium

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 cup dry white wine

2 15-ounce cans (or about 3 3/4 cups) white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

Heat 1Tbs. of oil in a large pot. Add chorizo and brown fully. Remove chorizo from pot to colander/sieve to drain of grease.

Wipe out pot to dry it, and heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. Add wine (scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pot) and cook it until the liquid has reduced by three-fourths. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add sausage, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chard and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.