Wednesday, March 16, 2005

More Vegetarian Soup That Doesn't Suck (and some that does, too)

A picked up a can of black bean and vegetable soup for us at the local healthy, largely organic store (you know, the $8.99 per pound of organic ground beef store). It was horrid. Bland, mushy black beans, with bland, mushy vegetables. Since my favorite black bean soups involve bacon, sausage, or at the very least meat-based stock, I'm not the best person to look to for a tasty vegetarian black bean soup. I could probably, however, do better than that one.

Here is a vegetarian soup that tastes quite lovely:

Creamy Chick Pea and Spinach Soup

I think you could easily make it vegan by replacing the heavy cream with coconut milk, as long as you didn't use the reduced fat kind. It would mingle nicely with the middle Eastern spices.

Stupidly Easy and Delicious Brownies - In the Microwave!

The other day I was craving brownies, and I had ribs stewing in the oven. So, I looked on the internet for a recipe for microwave brownies. I skeptically tried the one I found, thinking "this could be awful," and to my surprise they were dense, chewy, rich, not heavy, and all around delightful. And stupidly easy to make:
  • Cream together 1 cup of sugar (I used berry sugar, since I had some) and 1/2 cup softened butter
  • Beat two eggs and a tsp of vanilla extract into the sugar mixture
  • Mix in 1/2 cup each of cocoa powder and white flour
Pour the brownie batter into a greased and sugared 8-9" round glass baking dish (every version of the recipe says round, so that's what I did). Microwave, uncovered, on 50% power for 8 minutes. Check the brownies and if they aren't quite done, give them another 2 minutes or so, still on 50% power. Let the brownies sit for a few minutes before digging in.
I'm sure you could add nuts, if you wanted to. You could ice the brownies, but they're so rich it would really be gilding the lily. In any case, eating them warm with vanilla bean ice cream is marvellous. And did I mention how easy they were to make?
Joys of Parenting (or, I Want a Spear of Destiny)

So, last night we went to see Constantine. I have never read the Hellblazer comic series; if I had, I'm sure I would have hated the movie. As it was, however, only having seen advertisements for the movie in Sandman comic books (please Hollywood, never make a Sandman movie!!), I got a huge kick out of it. Deathly pallid and thoroughly miserable Keanu Reeves fights demons, pisses off angels, and reluctantly aids the lovely Rachel Weiss in her quest to solve the mystery of her sister's death. Yes, Keanu remains one of the most monotone actors on the planet, but in this situation if you squint you can pretend he's just playing the role of the disaffected demon-slayer.

The movie involves an artifact called the Spear of Destiny, and begins with the claim "He who holds the Spear of Destiny controls the fate of the world" or something along those lines. Apparently the spear is what pierced Christ's side on the cross, and Hitler was obsessed with finding it, and so on. It's that sort of artifact. I think I want one.

Constantine is a violent, scary movie. There are nasty demon possessions, violent exorcisms, people's faces melting off, graphic wrist-slashing images, grotesque shape shifting, death-by-having-flies-pour-out-of-one's-mouth-nose-and-eyes . . . oh, and a man forcibly drowns a woman. On top of all the usual flamethrowers, guns, and bloody, vicious fist fights. But, hey, that didn't stop the people two rows up from us from bringing their little kids to the movie. The children looked to be about 7 and 5 years old. The younger one spent the movie in her mom's lap, hiding her face, and at some point she dozed off. I saw the father reassuring the older one a few times. There was no crying, or anything, but for God's sake!! Who takes their little children to a movie like that??? Sure, these kids have probably been inoculated by having watched violent television since birth, but still. It took effort on my part not to walk up and comment. Not that it would have done any good.

If only I'd had my Spear of Destiny . . .