Jean, have you ever met my friend M? She has been living in Africa for the past two years and is returning home tomorrow – she’ll be staying at my place tomorrow night. I am very excited to see her, but there’s just one thing – she’s a vegetarian. I thought I would make her some black bean soup from the only vegetarian cookbook I own – Rebar. I assumed it would involve combining a bunch of vegetables and simmering. I was wrong… so wrong!
After reading through the ingredients for the soup, I realized I had them all except some peppers and what they call “rebarbeque sauce”. Oh no… the dreaded Recipe Within A Recipe. Of course from that recipe I was missing allspice berries, dark beer and chipotle peppers. I want to point out that I thought I had every spice one could buy in Edmonton. I have a full spice rack and many ziploc bags of spices.
I went to Superstore hoping they might have all these ingredients. They had the regular peppers, but nothing else. Their liquor store didn’t even have the beer I needed. So off to 34th Ave. I went to try to find some allspice berries.
I went to the Spice Centre because they always have the spices I’m looking for. I have yet to figure out how they organize their spices so I spent my usual 20 minutes looking for the allspice berries. When I was about to give up (or actually ask for help), I found them. This is what they look like:
After the Spice Centre, I went to Argyll Foods (corner of 99th St. and Argyll Rd.), which is a little convenience store that specializes in Latino products. They had the chipotles and an amazing assortment of Latino candy (next time we need a sugar fix we should go). I found the beer at Liquor Depot. After what seemed like hours, the soup was ready. I was too tired to take photos during the cooking.
Since my friend isn’t here until tomorrow, and I like meat, I added grilled halibut to my soup. I also added some chopped tomatoes and cilantro as a garnish. The soup was smoky, spicy and hearty. I liked how it tasted, but I wouldn’t make this soup again due to the long prep and cooking time.
On a side note: When I was at the Spice Centre I overheard the owner talking to another customer about flour – I could tell he LOVED the product. I went over and saw this:
Sun Prairie is located in Nanton, Alberta. The owner told me a naturopath recommended the flour to his wife 15 years ago as the healthiest flour available in Alberta. Back then they would drive to Nanton to buy it for themselves. Now they carry it in their store and insist it is the best flour around. I plan on using it to make many delicious loaves of bread.
Posted by King Crabby