Monday, January 6, 2014

spicy black bean soup & salt and pepper biscuits

My son took his Gifted & Talented test on Sunday. The source of much anxiety for parents of the four-year-old set, this test is used to decide which children are allowed entrance into coveted, free school programs around the city.

The test is graded by percentile of the population taking the test. So, if your child gets a grade of 97%, they have gotten more questions right than 97% of the children who took the same test. To get 97% is to be offered a space in the few schools which have only children who have scored that high. To get 90% is to be offered a space in a G&T class, which resides in a school with general education classes.

Many people pay upwards of $2000 for preparation classes, getting their three and four year olds ready for the test. Some people do not prepare their kids for the test at all. We took the middle route. About two months ago we bought the sample test booklets and periodically had our son practice them. At the very least he would be familiar with how the questions were asked and what kind of questions to expect.

Half way into my son's test, my husband and I, along with many other parents, were waiting in the cafeteria where the test was being given, a woman came in and asked to speak with us. My son was refusing to finish the test. She wondered if we would mind trying to talk him into finishing... be continued.

This soup and these biscuits compliment each other like you wouldn't believe. The soup was not all that spicy so if you really like the heat I'd add some more red pepper flakes or some cayenne pepper. Try it - it's just what the doctor ordered on this cold winter nights.
Salt and Pepper Biscuits
Adapted from Joanne at Eats Well with Others
Yield: 8-10 biscuits
  • 3/4 cup full fat yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and 3 tbsp of the heavy cream. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the baking powder, salt, sugar, black pepper, and flours. Pulse together until combined.
  3. Add the chilled butter to the bowl and pulse until the butter is broken down into pea-sized chunks. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently stir in the yogurt/cream mixture. Knead until it turns into a ragged dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 3/4"-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits, re-rolling the scraps as needed.
  4. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the remaining heavy cream. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake until golden brown on the tops and bottoms, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Spicy Black Bean Soup
From Cookie and Kate

2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 4½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnishes: diced avocado, extra cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips…
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, celery and carrot and a light sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beans and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the broth is flavorful and the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth (beware the steam that escapes from the top of the blender, it’s very hot). Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir in the cilantro, vinegar/lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. Is it bad that I have distinct memories of taking that test? Fingers crossed that you convinced him to finish!! And I love your heart shaped version of these biscuits! Totally perfectly paired with this soup!