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Month: March 2017

Best Ever Black Bean Soup – Palm Beach Post

Best Ever Black Bean Soup – Palm Beach Post

It’s cold today.  Florida cold. . . . 62 degrees with 20 mph winds.  Yes, I know we’re a little wimpy, but that’s cold for us.  So when I read the Palm Beach Post online today, I thought I would share their recipe for the Best Black Bean Soup.  This is hearty, filling and nutritious!

Stay warm!  (with special warm vibes for those of you who endure real cold and winter weather!)


Yield: 10 servings

Total time: About 2 hours

For the soup and garnishes:

1 small (7-oz.) can chipotle chilies in adobo (see note)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 onions, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup red wine

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

1 lb. dried black beans

2 quarts mild vegetable or chicken stock

1 Tbsp. oregano, preferably Mexican

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

Red wine vinegar, to taste

Sour cream or Mexican crema for garnish (optional)

Whole cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

For pickled onions:  1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced, freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes, salt.

1. Empty the can of chilies into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, scrape into a container and set aside. Put on a teakettle of water to boil and keep hot.

2. In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots, onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes.

3. Pour in wine and let simmer until pan is almost dry and vegetables are coated. Add jalapeños and cook, stirring, just until softened, 2 minutes. Push the vegetables out to the edges of the pot and dollop 2 teaspoons of chipotle purée in the center. Let fry for a minute and then stir together with the vegetables.

4. Add beans, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Stir, bring to a boil and let boil 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adding hot water as needed to keep the soup liquid and runny, not sludgy. Continue cooking until beans are just softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 hours. Add salt and pepper and keep cooking until beans are soft.

5. Meanwhile, make the pickled onions, if using: In a bowl, combine sliced onions, lime juice and a sprinkling of salt. Let soften at room temperature until crunchy and tart, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze dry in paper towels and refrigerate until ready to serve. If desired, chop coarsely before serving.

6. Adjust the texture of the soup: The goal is to combine whole beans, soft chunks and a velvety broth. Some beans release enough starch while cooking to produce a thick broth without puréeing. If soup seems thin, use an immersion blender or blender to purée a small amount of the beans until smooth, then stir back in. Continue until desired texture is reached, keeping in mind that the soup will continue to thicken as it sits.

7. Heat the soup through, taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, drops of red wine vinegar and dabs of chipotle purée.

8. Serve in deep bowls, garnishing each serving with a dollop of sour cream, a scattering of pickled onions and a flurry of cilantro leaves if you like.

Note: If chipotle chiles are unavailable, use 1 tablespoon each ground cumin and ground coriander. Add to vegetables at the same point in the recipe, in Step 3.

Recipe and pic from The Palm Beach Post.


Creamy Caramel Fruit Dip

Creamy Caramel Fruit Dip

So we’re eating more fruit and less sugar . . . but we still need to have a bit of fun!  Add this dip to your fresh fruit plate!  This is one of my all-time favorite treats.  I love fruit, but I love fruit dipped in creamy caramel fruit dip even more!  A girl has to have a treat once in a while and this delicious recipe helps to combine both worlds – delicious healthy fresh fruit with a yummy slightly decadent caramel dip.

This is great with reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat sour cream.  You can also use skim milk to cut calories.  I haven’t tried sugar-free pudding mix because I don’t care for the sugar-free mixes.  Let me know if you try it and like it!

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened,

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup cold milk

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix

Assorted fresh fruit

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.  Add the sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, milk and pudding mix, beating well after each ingredient.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.  Serve as a dip for fruit.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups – keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Weekend Heaven! Island French Toast

Weekend Heaven! Island French Toast

Restaurant-Quality French Toast without a lot of time or fuss.  This French Toast sits in the refrigerator overnight and is ready to pop in the oven when you wake up the next morning.  Most of you know I’m not a big morning person, so when I can find a delicious breakfast recipe where the preparation doesn’t need me to get up at the crack of dawn. . . . . well, it’s a winner!  It’s elegant enough to serve at a brunch and easy enough to have anytime!   I’ve also used this recipe with that yummy but often wasted bread that some restaurants slip into our take-out orders (okay, don’t you love take-out some nights?)  I always slice the bread and let it dry out a bit so it can soak up the egg mixture a little easier.  I know you will love this French Toast!

4 eggs

2/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut into 8 1-inch slices

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons orange peel

1/2 cup pecan pieces

Confectioners’ sugar

Warm maple syrup

Beat eggs, orange juice, milk, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla together.  Put bread with edges touching in a single layer in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Pour milk mixture over bread; cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.

The next morning – the bread has soaked up all of the egg mixture and is ready to bake

The next morning:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pour melted butter on a jelly roll pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle orange peel and pecans on butter.  Place bread on top and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with confectioners’ sugar and warm syrup.

Four servings.

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