In a Cookin Mood


Sometimes I wander into the kitchen and make something that’s a little more demanding to assemble (note: I did say a *little* more).  So, in this still-wintry season, I was wanting some herb bread, and some black bean soup.  Neither of these are that difficult to prepare, but they do require something more than using the can opener or the microwave.  Wanna play?  Let’s start!

  The first thing is the Herb Bread.  I started with a basic recipe, a year or two ago, and experimented with it until I got it pert near bullet-proof!  Ok, here’s the scoop, as we bakers say::


Herb Bread



(By the way: turn on the oven-light while you are putting the dough together, this will warm up the oven just enough to be a handy place to let the dough rise. While you’re at it, spray 2 loaf pans with Pam, whatever, and put them into the oven to pre-warm)


 Combine the following 7 items in a mixing bowl, stir well and let sit for 10 minutes or so, until slightly foamy.

  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dry milk
  • 1 packet fast-rise yeast

10 Minutes up?  Ok, add approx 3 cups bread flour (use more if the dough seems sticky).

  Stir until well mixed, then dump the dough out onto a heavily floured surface and knead it (fold it in half, push it down, fold it in half, push it down, etc) for several minutes, adding more flour as required so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. 

Then, divide the dough in half, then drop one piece of dough into each of the 2 pre-warmed loaf pans. Put the dough/pans into the warm oven.

Let rise until doubled (maybe 1 hour, maybe 90 minutes – just check it now and then).  After the dough has approximately doubled in size, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes – you may have to do some trial runs to see what time works best for your oven/pan combination.

Remove from oven when nice and brown.


So, wanna make some Black Bean Soup?  Now *this* is gonna be easy, and it goes VERY well with the bread you just made!  I stole  borrowed  this recipe from Marian Allen’s blog   then made some embellishments.  See whatcha think!


Black Bean Soup (maybe with sausage)


  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/3 cup rice ( I like rice, so I use 1 full cup)
  • 3 – 4 cups water (if you like it thinner, use 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 can golden hominy, drained

Combine everything but hominy and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add hominy (plus desired embellishments, below) and heat through.


         Embellishments (optional, of course)


  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • I reg size can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can mushroom pieces
  • turkey smoked sausage, in bite-size pieces

All in all, you’ll wind up with a couple of tasty treats, without really wearing yourself out or feeling particularly challenged.

Bon Appetit! (French for DIG IN!)  The bread will be SUPER tasty, and the soup will also be great, and will stick to your ribs – you’ll want to make this soup again and again!




One response to “In a Cookin Mood

  1. That was surprisingly useful and has given me
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    Your web site seems incredibly smooth and mine is horrible
    to load. Thank you so much!

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