Since we went the "take only what we can jam in our car and in a few USPS boxes" way of moving, our house is rather bare. And by "rather," I mean "very." If we're talking about things we could use in our house, the list would be long - a bar stool (or four), pictures on the wall (we got rid of most of our frames and just kept the images), a dresser, a full-length mirror, etc, etc, etc.
And yet, I am happy to live without those things. Instead, what I dream about is kitchen items. Mainly, I've been thinking about serving dishes (my lovely in-laws sent me two very cool red and white serving bowls for my birthday (from England!) and yesterday I bought five serving dishes at the Crate and Barrel outlet).
I tend to steer away from kitchen appliances because I like to firmly believe that you don't need a lot of single-use tools to be a good cook. And yet, despite all my high-minded thoughts on the matter, I am really longing for several one-task tools. Oh, the humble pie, it burns going down.
I am really anxious to replace the food processor we left behind (a friend took it and I told her she was getting what she paid for, since the handle was nearly broken off, the contact button was supremely fidgety, and food gets stuck in the lid) and also my ice cream maker, which I managed to break just days before Ella's birth.
But even the desire to replace a kitchen tool I've had for years is not as embarrassing as the sudden rabid need to ADD a kitchen tool to my collection.
An immersion blender. I. . .didn't even know I needed one.
And then I made this black bean soup that changed my life. The first time I made it, I made a really small batch, thinking that we might not like it, and I just used my standard blender which wasn't so bad because the entire pot of soup fit in the blender.
But then the soup was so ridiculously delicious that I ended up being forced to make it again just a few days later when we had Brian and Ralphie and their girls over for dinner. And this time I had to blend it in my blender in three separate batches which was a gigantic pain and I thought wistfully about how great it would be if I could blend it RIGHT IN THE POT.
And then when we had a little soup buffet two weekends ago, I made it again.This time, I borrowed an immersion blender from Bart's cousins who live in the next building over from us and the angels sang. It was so easy. So effortless, so fast, so delightful. I may have shed a few tears when I returned it to them.
If you, like me, are a poor sad soul without an immersion blender, this soup is still worth making (Bart apparently raved so much about it after having the leftovers for lunch, that he had to email me to get the recipe so he could pass it along to his coworkers). It is THAT good. Make it, love it, wish for an immersion blender.
adapted from It's So Tasty Too
1 (16 oz.) package dried black beans
12-16 ounces bacon, chopped
3/4 cup roughly chopped celery
3/4 cup roughly chopped onion
3/4 cup roughly chopped carrots
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chili, minced, seeds removed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Place beans in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Let stand overnight. Drain and rinse well. Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until done, about 8 minutes. Do not drain drippings. Add beans and all other ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer soup until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
If you have an immersion blender, process until slightly chunky puree forms. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer soup to a blender and process until slightly chunky and pureed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
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