Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Dance while you cook...

I seem to be in the mood for soup these days. Not too surprising when it's cold and windy outside. This one is tasty served with corn tortillas and a lime-seasoned salad. (Those of you who read my last post know I'm really into limes.)

Once again, this recipe is from my latest, 15-Minute Vegetarian. Yes, it's really that easy. If you're not in a hurry, of course, you can make your own veggie stock and cook the beans from scratch. You can even make your own pumpkin puree, though I must confess I don't make time for that anymore. I've become a bit of a sucker for convenience -- but not at the expense of quality.

Not all canned beans are created equal, for instance. Shop around and try different brands. You'll find they vary a lot in taste and texture. I always buy organic and look for low-sodium (or "no salt added") versions of any canned or packaged foods. I like to control the sodium content, thank you very much.

Stock your cupboard with some quality convenience foods and you can make a healthy vegetarian meal in a snap of the fingers (or two). Come to think of it, put on some energetic Latin-inspired music while you're cooking (Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge? Los Lonely Boys?) to spice up your attitude as you spice up the soup.

After all, dancing's another way to keep warm...

Yield: 6 servings

2 cans (15 ounces, or 420 g. each) black beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon pure chili powder (the kind that's just ground chiles, without salt or anything else added)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups (.95 L) vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 ounces, or 420 g) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (15 g) minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the beans in a colander, rinse briefly, and set aside to drain well.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a stockpot and saute the onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth, black beans, and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat.

Stir in the pumpkin puree until well blended and simmer gently until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and serve. (With heated corn tortillas and a lime-infused salad, if so inspired.)


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