duck-shaped pain


24 September 2002
Flattering the tortoise.

I made soup for dinner, to celebrate the first day of fall. It just felt like soup weather, once the season officially begun, even though it was 85 degrees here today.

Black Bean, Mustard Green, and Sausage Soup

(I've made soups similar to this before, but not with this particular mix of ingredients, and they also didn't end up this good.)

1 cup dried black beans, soaked in water overnight

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons butter

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

dash black pepper

dash dried red pepper

dash dried basil

dash dried oregano

1 lb. bulk spicy Italian sausage, formed into little half-inch-in-diameter sausage balls

2 cups mustard greens, washed and chopped

1/4 cup white wine (I used plonk Chardonnay [1] and the soup still turned out tasty, so don't go to any great expense, wine-wise)

2-3 fresh ripe tomatoes, diced

4 cups or 2 cans chicken broth

1/2 tablespoon chopped basil

1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

cheese of some sort, for garnish

1. Put the black beans in a large pot, along with the crushed garlic cloves and rosemary. Cover with water and heat until simmering. Reduce heat to low-ish and cook for about 50 minutes or until soft, adding more water if needed. Drain, and remove the garlic and rosemary. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the black pepper, red pepper, and dried basil and oregano. Stir. Add the little sausage balls, and brown them for about 5-6 minutes. Turn up the heat slightly. Add the mustard greens and white wine, stir and cook until the wine has reduced and the greens have wilted. Reduce heat back to medium-high.

3. Add the tomatoes, stir, and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the cooked black beans, and stir until everything is all mixed together. Add the chicken broth. Heat until just boiling, stirring occasionally. Once the soup boils slightly, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Five minutes or so before the soup is done, add the chopped basil and cilantro. Serve with cheese (Parmesan, asadero, whatever you have) on top. Eat with sourdough bread and any wine you may have left over. Enjoy.

I don't have to go to work today: what could be better than that? Some remodeling is being done on the office, plus a bunch of people are coming in from The Client for a meeting, which all adds up to there being no place for me to sit, were I to go in. I'm very pleased, as my main task at work lately has been rewriting people's resumes for this stupid marketing thing The Employer came up with.

One person in particular, one person who has always had problems following directions, gave me a resume that was unlike any other I've ever seen. I mean this in the worst, most frightening sense possible: the thing was a mess.

In the section where said person lists his unique qualifications, he lists, besides the usual geology/drilling stuff, "I have the ability to read the minds of drillers," and, "I am sensitive to the needs of the Desert Tortoise." I don't believe we've ever required any degree of tortoise sensitivity on the job, so why that statement is there is a good question. Reading drillers' minds would actually be a useful skill, since they're usually pretty baffling, but no one believes this guy can read his own damn mind, let alone someone else's.

Anyway. A day free from work. Too bad I have to read major parts of three books today instead.

[1] I used this despite my well-documented dislike of Chardonnay. It was leftover from an event the other day, and two unopened bottles were given to me to take home, and my feeling is that the presence of free wine trumps any aesthetic rules I may have about the stuff.

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