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Black Bean Soup

Monday, October 28, 2013
Black Bean Soup

It was a midsummer evening, last summer, the postcard from a trip to Costa Rica half an exile and half a vacation.
I remember that green like a proud hug in the midst of impossible roads, among a tangle of rocks and puddles, a bright and shiny emerald, nourished by a beneficial rain, on time every day at six o'clock.
I remember the guys on their bicycle and the couples holding into each other's arms, tight on the seat of damaged scooters; their lean bodies, tanned, dusted with love and smiling.
There was the chaos of the streets in downtown, and then the suburbs, violated by the arrogance of fast food chains, seduced by the illusion of a wealth coming from the north. Scattered everywhere biting your liver, there were Coke vending machines, and innocent-looking signs, mean and intrusive, almost an insult to the poverty of people.
I remember the villages, slow, quiet and sunny, those pueblos made only of temporary churches, outdoor schools and improbable soccer fields: a narrow and wet meadow and two poles as the goal.
There was Costa Rica going to the World Cup, the TVs turned on in the bars, two cold Imperial and happiness.
I remember the ripe fruit, sweet and seductive, bought on the corners of the streets along with the pure water of a young coconut that had fallen down.
The darkest nights began early in the jungle, on the highest hill lying on a bed of leaves.
I remember men and women who were different, who had escaped from our dizziness to chase a dream with no comfort.
I met a taxi driver and mechanic who had no shoes, an instant friend who they called El Che. He told me where are you going, why, where are you running, you people of the north? You're fool, deluded to believe you can buy our reality.
We split one jugo helado, and this spicy soup during an afternoon of solidarity.
Pura vida.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup
for 4 people

dried black beans 250 gr
white onion, large 1
garlic 2 cloves
carrot 1
red bell pepper 1
tomatoes 3
lime 1
vegetable bouillon cube 1
olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and allspice as needed
fresh cilantro, tomatoes and cucumber to serve as needed

Soak beans overnight for at least 8 hours.
Chop the onion and the garlic cloves, sauté them for a few minutes in a little olive oil, then add diced carrot and bell pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes, add the beans, drained and rinsed, spices (if using seeds, grind them fine), vegetable bouillon, salt and pepper. Cover with water, bring to boil and cook over medium heat for about two hours.
Half an hour before beans are ready, add the juice and zest of lime, and the tomatoes, peeled (dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then peel) and cut into pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Puree the soup with a blender only for a few seconds, so that it gets creamy but visible pieces still remain.
To serve, garnish with fresh diced tomato and cucumber, and chopped cilantro to taste.

Black Beans

Vegan Jam Tart with Spelt Flour

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Vegan Jam Tart

Living here day by day, you think it's the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything's changed. The thread's broken. What you came to find isn't there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time... many years... before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It's not possible. Right now you're blinder than I am.
~ Philippe Noiret, Cinema Paradiso

Always yours is that friendship, the new one and the eternal one of the past; yours is the taste of bread and the red color of autumn. Yours are the people who get older, the solitude of the forest, the gloom and silence of the night; still yours are the stones, the trails and the comfort of the moon; yours is the soft kindness of the meadows, the sunset and the darkness of those days.
And the words, withered between the cracks of indifferent walls, the frozen phrases, tired by now, the angry and unexploded thoughts, more and more faded with time.
Coming back makes everything a bit nicer; you blow the dust away and discover how much tenderness there was in the innocent dreams of distant dawns. Mornings are still cold, but beautiful in October; things, slow and always the same, speak a familiar language yet a different one.
Coming back you wonder how long it took you to figure it out, or if it's true that we've all changed a little.

Vegan Jam Tart

Vegan Jam Tart
with Spelt Flour

for a round baking pan of 9" diameter

spelt flour 250 gr
type O flour 210 gr
corn starch 50 gr
baking powder 12 gr
lemon 1
cane sugar 200 gr
olive oil 60 gr
rice bran oil 60 gr
rice milk 125 gr
salt 1 pinch
jam as needed
powdered sugar to serve as needed

In a bowl mix the flours with cornstarch, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Make a well in the center and add sugar, olive oil, rice oil and milk. Start mixing the ingredients with a fork, and then knead with your hands until you get a homogeneous ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Roll out 3/4 of the dough and place it in a round baking dish, greased with oil or lined with parchment paper. Prick the surface with a fork, then spread the jam over it (for me this one here, thankyouverymuch) and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the tart crust gets golden brown. Allow to cool, and if you like, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Vegan Jam Tart