All the Way from Mexico, Black Bean Soup

GulfHola Baby! This was supposed to be coming to you last week from Cabo on the Tropic of Cancer! For a bit of geography click on this link and learn all about our tropics, latitudes, longitudes, and the likes. Exercise for the brain y’all. But the night before we were to travel, a little publicized Tropical Storm named Lydia hit the Baha Peninsula, washing out roads, closing the airport, knocking out electricity, and much more. I was ready to throw in the towel and just stay home; but not my fast thinking sister-in-law HHH. Within thirty minutes, she had us re-booked to the east coast of Mexico with stellar accommodations at The Iberostar.  PoolI was determined to do some testing of Mexican/Southwestern recipes with the Cabo Chef at Diamante. so I just switched gears and here I am sharing new knowledge with you good people from Playa del Carmen instead! Mucho to come! Yummy, Bold Flavors! Just attempting to put some well being into each and every day.

Soup Black Bean Soup I

3 Tbs olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 14 oz cans black beans, drained and divided
3 cups chicken broth
Juice of whole lime
1/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

For Garnish:
Avocado, cut into small pieces
Cilantro, chopped
Sour Cream
Lime slices

Heat oil over medium high heat in soup pot.
Add onion.
Sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add cumin, garlic, 2 cans of drained beans, and broth.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.
While soup is cooking, heat remaining 1 can beans in separate pot for 20 minutes, until tender.
Remove soup pot from heat.
Carefully blend with immersion blender until smooth and totally blended.*
Add lime juice, salt and pepper.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowl.
Spoon separate beans in center.
Top with dollop of sour cream, avocado pieces, cilantro, and lime.**

*You may also use a blender to blend soup in batches. Cover top with wet paper towel instead of blender top. This allows steam to escape.

**I squeeze a bit more lime juice in to each bowl after it is served and garnish side of bowl with additional lime slice.Palm Trees

Chocolate Lava Cakes

dessert-chocolate-lava-cakes-iBusiness Class with Turkish Airlines is kinda sweet. And on our return flight from Istanbul back to the Great USofA this past weekend, one of the sweets served was a warm chocolate cake. I knew better than to be tempted by that offer…but i will share this authentic offering! Back in the winter of 2007, the don and I took a wee respite at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. Whoa…that’s been a decade! They had just reopened after the devastation of Hurricane Wilma, and they were thrilled to have guests back in the hotel. As part of the major renovation, the Ritz added an all Viking Culinary Center. What a beautiful atmosphere in which to cook; added bonus, it overlooks the Caribbean Sea. That’s right. One of the courses I took with Chef Rory that week included this show stopper.  I was a bit afraid initially of my results, but it was perfection on a plate; and it has turned out perfectly in my home kitchen time and time again! Sharing the Love!

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
2 1/2 sticks butter
5 egg yolks
5 whole eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 425°.
In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter together over very low heat.
*Do not allow chocolate to get too hot.
Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, and sugar.
Pour warm chocolate into egg mixture.
While stirring chocolate mixture add sifted flour slowly to avoid lumps.
Spray 6 soufflé cups with cooking spray.
Pour mixture into cups and place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 3 minutes.

To serve:
Go around edges of soufflé cup with a knife to loosen the cake.
Invert on to a plate.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on side of cake.

Makes 6 mid-size ramekins, or 8 small ramekins.

dessert-chocolate-lava-cakes-iii