Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote Early, Vote Often

This has been a hectic work/life couple weeks, and I've been a bad blogger. While I really want to focus on food and families with this blog and leave the politics to my husband's blog, which pretty much speaks for both of us, I can't urge you strongly enough to get to the polls tomorrow. Mid-term elections are typically poorly attended and barely acknowledged, but this year the election is so important regardless of what side of the political fence you would prefer to pay your taxes on.

If you like where things are and you want them to continue, it's important for you to get out; your party is struggling right now. If you're unhappy with where things are and who currently controls the House and Senate, your vote can actually change things. Again, this blog is about food, but food is politics -- it's the basis of how we survive, and legislation affects things like what chemicals it can contain, how much of it we send to starving countries, and whether U.S. children in poorer families get school-funded nutritious hot meals before going to class. Food and politics are interwoven in the most basic way.

I'm expecting Phil and I will be huddled around the TV tomorrow night, watching the results come in. It's truly anyone's guess what's going to happen tomorrow; I was a bit cocky two years ago based on exit polls that said my candidate was going to win, and, well, he didn't. I'm taking nothing for granted Tuesday night.

Which means we're going to need some good, comforting, fall food to get us through the evening. I'm planning on Rachael Ray's Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup and some good bread. Possibly our last bottle of Cloud Nine Pinot Noir (a splurge for us at $18, but an amazing wine bargain).

I drank the Rachael Ray Kool-Aid five years ago while on maternity leave after I saw her make a chicken/tomato/cremini mushroom dish that was fabulous. Since then, as she's pumped out a book a week , become a bit of a parody of her bubbly self, and started featuring dishes like "Tailgate Nachos" topped with packaged cheese and cut-up hot dogs, I've been less enamored. Three different people have told me this recipe's great, though, so we're risking it. Don't let us down, Rachael; it's going to be a nail-biter of a night:

Rachael Ray's Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock (I'll probably use chicken stock)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream*
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt
Fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, and when it gets hot, add the onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans, and pumpkin. Stir to combine ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne, and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

* After knitting weekends, weekends in NY discovering new cocktails, this past weekend in Chicago to see King Tut (post to come), and Halloween, I'm feeling pretty bloated and Orson Welles-in-the-70s-like. I understand you can substitute fat-free evaporated milk for heavy cream, which much to Phil's chagrin, I'm going to do. Keep your fingers crossed it will still be as comforting.

Now get to those polls!


Blogger Teresa said...

Go with her early recipes--those are fine. The ones that came later are making me a little sick of her. I was cutting up hotdogs when I was 6 to put on stuff, I don't need a recipe for that!

And, aren't you thrilled that Indiana races are actually getting some press????

10:10 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

Hey C -- I made a good Farmer's Market soup this weekend that you'd really dig. It's Cilantro Soup, but basically it's vichyssoise with cilantro. So -- all presently available ingredients: potatoes, turnips, celery, onion, cilantro, vegetable broth (which I'll admit I didn't take the time to make and used canned, but I was throwing it together Sat. morning, so...), a little sherry, some cream. i added a little hot sauce to it because it needed a little brightening up, but all in all, a good, fairly easy dish. Dan loved it. I loved it. And, if you're entertaining vegetarians, a hearty, good dish. Or if you're just sitting around biting your nails over the elections, nice and comforting. :)

Spitzer for Governor!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Cindy K said...

Teresa, I LOVE that Indiana is actually on the map this year -- not just an assumed red state. Tuesday is going to be an interesting night!

Amy, that soup sounds amazing. Our farmer's market shut down two weekends ago (oh, how I miss the one in Brooklyn!), but I bet I could still buy local from some of the markets here. Must try this soup!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Lil' Bit Travels said...

I found your blog when my wife and I created ours. I have been using organic for some time since Heidi is allergic to wheat and milk we have found ourselves to be regulars at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor and even Trader Joes.
Well, we recently moved to the Republic of Georgia through a program with the ABA. I am working here rule of law intiatives for one year. Here in Georgia the remains of the Soviet system include huge greenhouses where they grow every kind of vegetable. This past weekend we went to the central market and found fresh cilantro, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, bananas, apples, and all kinds of other foods. Georgia has a rich history of great food that is fresh and organically grown. In a few weeks I will be posting some recipes I have collected; including a wonderful walnut sauce that is used on cucumber and tomatoes. The food here is exquisite and available all year round.
I am going to try some of your recipes since we have some much organic food available. Thank you for your posts.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Lil' Bit Travels said...

Thank you for your post on lil bit travels. When I posted my comment to you it was very early in the morning and I did not check everything I had written. First, some of my sentences are awful and I apologize. Second, heavy cream can be replaced with coconut milk if there are allergies to dairy products. Third, I thought our blog had more indications about our true identity, but alas it does not. You know me from Waterford. I am Matt Reger and my wife is Heidi. We have our 9 month old daughter (lit bit) with us. We moved from Bowling Green, Ohio to the Republic of Georgia in September and are both posting to the blog. We hope you enjoy our posts.

10:18 PM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

Our election night/nearly almost all Farmer's Market dinner: Osso buco. Got the veal, leeks, side o' Brussels sprouts, and garlic from the market this weekend. And you know what I learned? Osso buco is one easy dish to make. I'd never attemped it, but it's very close to being a one-pot dish.

We only have 2 more weeks of F. Market here, C, so we're not far behind you. Sigh.

12:57 PM  
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10:56 PM  

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