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Little Bites: Soup-er!: It's fall and time to start eating warm stuff 

Cold weather brings out the soup.

It's officially fall my friends.

We've balanced our eggs during the autumnal equinox. We've awkwardly celebrated Columbus Day - pretending not to be happy to have a day off (on account of all that smallpox and pillaging stuff) even though we secretly are. We've allowed children to collect insane amounts of candy - of which we will eat about 70 percent, late at night after they're in bed.

And, we all got to see something else very special take place... Ben Burkel was finally right. It is cooling off here in the high desert, Nina.

I'm even starting to work on my cold-weather coat (which, oddly, is made of 10 pounds of my own body fat), and I officially turned on the heater in my house for the first time last week. And that's when I thought of soup.


Soup is truly one of my favorite things (to eat and to make), and I love when the weather gets cold because I suddenly feel justified in having it for dinner almost every night of the week. For me, soup is not just something you dump out of a can. Soup is an opportunity to be creative, allowing you to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. It's a chance to use some pretty marginal vegetables instead of tossing them. And, it's a way to make a delicious meal, even if the only food you have in your house is one old beer, some gold potatoes and a block of cheddar cheese. (Don't judge, you've been there, too.)

It's in this spirit of creativity, and of using things that I always seem to have a lot of for no apparent reason, that I offer you the following recipe for black bean & cilantro soup. It's just recipe out of the kajillions of soup recipes I have (totally accurate estimate), but it's one of my personal favorites.

Black Bean and Cilantro Soup

Ingredients:

2 cans of regular black beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 c celery, diced

1/4 c green onions, diced

1 jalapeno , diced (more if you like it spicy)

Hotsauce (recommended Cholula or Tapatio)

1/2 c cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 limes

Sour cream

Directions:

Sautee celery, onions and olive oil in a large pan. When soft, add the entire contents of the black beans ñ do not drain first.

Bring all contents to a boil ñ simmer for 10 minutes, adding water as needed to ensure contents are in plenty of liquid. (I just fill up one of the empty bean cans with water and add as necessary)

Pour all contents into a blender and blend until soup is smooth. Add the jalapeno and most of the cilantro into the blender, reserving a few tablespoons for a garnish, and blend again until cilantro is fully incorporated into the soup. At this point, use a spoon to test the thickness of the soup. If it is too thick, add more water to the mix and blend again.

Pour contents from blender back into pan, heat to simmering again. Add hot sauce to taste and salt and pepper as desired. Pour contents in bowl and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and remaining cilantro.

Serve and enjoy! (Yes, liking it is part of the directions...)

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