I was driving home from a long overdue market trip this past weekend when, from the freeway, I noticed the evening fog settling over the Berkeley hills. The fog in the Bay Area is truly a sight to be seen. Having lived here for over three years now, I feel that I rarely even take the time to behold its greatness. It's a touch sad, really, because that fog, these cool summers that require layers of clothing and the occasional scarf, is a big part of why I knew that moving here was right for us. Summertime in LA had exhausted us after so many years, and the fog brought with it a fresh start.
Last week was HARD. I was certain Cheech had been possessed, and it was a nasty sight. By the weekend, the three of us were at each other's throats. I should have figured it out from the very start, but I realized today, after she refused to eat anything but a tortilla and some ice cream, that her last molar is well on its way. Teething has been such a tragic (not to mention, gross) process for this poor kid, and as rough as life feels right now, I have to admit I'm thrilled to never have to deal with this again. And that she never has to deal with this again. I miss my fun-loving, always-laughing, whack-job kid. I know she's still in there, and I know she'll come out soon.
This little family is finally healing after what was starting to feel like a never ending nightmare. We planned a small trip to the Russian River in a couple weeks, and I made some soup. Because when you're in the midst of a cold summer and your heart hurts, you need soup.
Black Bean and Sausage Soup
1/2 pound of bulk sausage (I used chicken)*
2 shallots, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
5 kale leaves, stems discarded and roughly chopped (you can also use spinach if you prefer)
1 tsp. cumin seed
3 cups of cooked black beans, still in their cooking liquid
4-5 medium heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups of chicken stock
1 extra heirloom tomato, chopped, or a handful of baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 perfectly ripe avocado
your favorite hot sauce
salt to taste
Heat up a small splash of olive oil in a stock pot and brown your sausage. Remove the cooked sausage and sauté your shallots just until they start to sweat. Add your garlic, kale, and cumin seed and sauté for another minute or two, until the garlic becomes fragrant (if your pan seems dry, you can add a touch more oil). Add your tomatoes, beans, chicken stock, and cooked sausage to the pot. Place the lid on, and keep the soup at a low simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some chopped avocado, tomatoes, and as much hot sauce as you'd like.
*In a perfect world, I would have used Mexican chorizo for this soup. However, Joe and I have discovered that with age comes the inability to properly and happily digest red meat and pork. And we buy and cook QUALITY grass-fed, ethically raised meats (our butcher receipts are obscene) so we know that that's not the problem. Anyway, I don't exactly need to get into a big old meat discussion here, but we are trying to cut back a bit on the foods that haven't entirely been agreeing with us.
P.S. As always, I am beyond thankful for your comments on my last post. I meant to reply to them, but I pretty much stopped doing anything that didn't involve attending to the monster version of Cheech. And thank you for never judging me. I know that there are a ton of parenting blogs and mama bloggers out there that like to make you feel like this shit is effortless, but it really is not. Every single day, even if it's a good day, presents a different challenge that at times, can feel insurmountable.