Earlier this month, we were having a bit of a heat wave.  In fact, there were a few days when it was over 90 degrees.  So thankfully, it’s cooled down and is finally fall in DC.  So in the spirit of it being fall, I thought I’d share a fantastic soup recipe.

Actually, it’s not mine.  It’s Dave Lieberman’s recipe, another Food Network chef.  I saw his black bean soup recipe last year on his Good Deal with David Lieberman show and have made it several times.  I’ve gotten some good reviews and think it’s super easy to make.

I agree with his commentary that hickory smoked bacon gives it better flavor than standard (or turkey) bacon.  But the standard (or turkey) bacon works too.

The great thing about this recipe is that it has ingredients that are easily found in your local grocery store.  It’s healthy (minus the bacon).  I also don’t use cheese or sour cream (unless I have guests).

Finally, I make my own chicken broth.

Black Bean Soup

** UPDATE 1/5 — If you’re looking for the chocolat peanut butter cookies, here’s the recipe.** 

Back to Food TV.  I love TLC’s Take Home Chef.  It’s a great concept, but I haven’t seen him do an episode in DC yet.  I’ve seen a lot of episodes in California and a few in Chicago, Seattle, etc.  I’m holding out hope that either my friends or I will run into him when he does a show in DC.  Who wouldn’t love this show?     

For those who haven’t seen it, the premise is brilliant.  It’s about Curtis Stone, a professional trained (hot) chef, originally from Australia, who goes into random grocery stores and “picks up” a woman who is cooking for her family, friends, etc.  He buys all your groceries, makes dinner, and does your dishes.  He seems like such a cool guy.  Oh, and he buys you a gift before he goes home to make dinner!  Sometimes he buys you an ice cream maker, a wok, etc.  

How cool of a show is this?  I love it and can’t wait for the new season!    While Take Home Chef is running repeats, I had to find some new TV food shows.  So I found a couple of them on Discovery Health. 

I’ll talk about the show that has the cute host for now.  And, he’s local!  It’s Nathan Lyon and his show is called A Lyon in the Kitchen.  I just read his bio, which says he grew up in Arlington, VA and went to James Madison University. He was a contestant on The Next Food Network Star, a show I have never watched.  I prefer Top Chef.  But that’s a blog for another day.  Regardless, I caught this show and thought it was really good for a 4 reasons.  

  1. If you’re like me, my eyes glaze over when I see a long ingredients list and long paragraphs of instructions.  His recipes seem simple. 
  2. He cooks healthy and organic.  
  3. He emphasizes the importance of buying local. 
  4. He’s cute. 

So, let me know if you agree.  Again, I haven’t tried out his recipes, but I’m looking forward to testing them later this fall!   If you’ve tried them, let me know how it went (and send a photo) at whereindc [at] gmail dot com.  I promise to try them out later!

While I’m waiting to take photos of food, I figured I’d talk recipes and food TV. First, I do actually watch a lot of food TV.  I have a DVR though so I’m able to watch them when I want.  I will make the recipes too if the mood strikes.  And, I am planning on blogging to tell you if it’s really as easy as it seems on TV. 

On that note, let me tell you about a recipe that isn’t as easy as it seems.  I watch “Everyday Italian” with Giada De Laurentiis.  While normally, I would agree with the opinion of “don’t trust a skinny cook,” I have to admit she’s got some good stuff.   

So on a Saturday morning after hitting the Adams Morgan Farmers Market, I turned on the Food Network and caught her show.  She was making these Chocolate Almond Chocolate Clusters.   A seemingly simple recipe with few ingredients is actually easy, but a few words of caution (trust me, burnt caramel does not taste nor smell very tasty).   

  • Spray your mini muffin tin pans with an insane amount of non-stick cooking spray.  You will thank me later.
  • Caramel burns ridiculously fast so watch your mini muffin pans like a hawk.
  • As soon as your clusters are a little bit cooler, get them out of the pan.  You can reshape them quickly but then make sure to get them into your fridge (on a piece of wax paper or Teflex sheet – you know, the non-stick rubber type sheet for candy/chocolate).   
  • Make all your caramel clusters first, then melt your chocolate.  Otherwise, you may burn either the clusters or the chocolate.  
  • To be honest, I don’t like adding cream to my melted chocolate because it thins it out.  And in this recipe, I don’t think it needs to be thinned out.   
  •  I also prefer dark chocolate to milk.  Also, while I know some love it, I don’t like white chocolate and you’ll rarely ever see it in my house (unless I’m making peppermint bark during the holidays).  

The great thing about these little clusters is that they make a great dessert and they’re easy to share!  You should absolutely make these, just don’t forget my tips!