Monthly Archives: March 2024

bowl of black bean cheese soup

Black Bean Cheese Soup

March 26, 2024

bowl of black bean cheese soup

There are many reasons why soup is the ultimate comfort food. You generally eat it slowly and thoughtfully, savoring its warmth and array of textures and flavors. Gobbling is not allowed.

My very treasured friend sent a hug this winter when I was under the weather and needed meals. Delicious creamy black bean chicken soup arrived just when I needed it, from Spoonful of Comfort.Together with the ice cream(s) stashed away in the freezer, this soup nourished me body and soul. Black Bean Cheese Soup is my homage to this bowl of tender loving care.

closeup of black bean cheese soup

Black bean soups are a favorite here at River City Good Eats, either as the star or in a supporting role. Beans, always a decent source of protein, add great texture. Versatility is the hallmark of beans, whether in Asian or Central American or Mediterranean cuisines.

Black Bean Cheese Soup is loaded with colorful vegetables. Mexican blend cheese melts well and pre-shredded gets the prize for convenience.

ingredients for black bean cheese soup

Soupmaking is at the same time comforting for the cook. Preparation of soup requires chopping, simmering and pureeing, all zen calming activities. Comfort food made with care tastes better. You know your recipients appreciate the effort!angled bowl black bean cheese soup

Four words are like music to ailing (or well!) loved ones : “I’ll make you soup”.

Black Bean Cheese Soup

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes four hearty servings, six smaller


1 cup sweet onion, small dice
1 cup bell pepper, any color, small dice
one large stalk celery, small dice
one large carrot, small dice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons all purpose gluten free or regular wheat flour
1 teaspoon chile powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cumin seed
couple shakes ground chipotle if you like heat
1 large garlic clove, zested on microplane grater
1 cup milk
3 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounce shredded Mexican blend cheese or colby jack
optional garnishes : cilantro leaves, sliced avocado


  1. Stir together chopped vegetables, olive oil, kosher salt and white pepper in heavy two quart saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. When mixture begins to sizzle, turn heat to medium (adjust so no browning) and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir 10 seconds.
  4. Cumin, cumin seed, chile powder, garlic and chipotle (if using) go in next.
  5. After 10 seconds of stirring, gradually add milk, then stock (add gradually so you don’t seize up the starch granules of the flour – this is important).
  6. Pour in the black beans.
  7. Bring mixture to gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10 minutes to develop flavor,.
  8. Adjust seasoning, add cheese and stir well until melted.
  9. Soup will thicken on standing and is, like most soups, better the next day!
  10. Garnish as desired with cilantro and avocado.


sour cream chocolate chip muffins

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins

March 12, 2024

sour cream chocolate chip muffins

Muffins are little cakes. As in, I would like to enjoy a little cake without the fuss of actually making a cake. Standard muffin tins have space for twelve little cakes, perfect for sharing.

I was hungry for a small single serving treat. All ingredients, including semi-sweet chocolate chips and full fat sour cream (which gives a nice tender crumb to baked goods), were in my kitchen. Most certainly, happiness is found in a good chocolate chip cookie. Then again, cake was my stated goal and tiny cakes at that.

tin of baked sour cream chocolate chip muffins

twelve little cakes, for sharing

Now I needed willing tasters to give honest feedback for a new recipe.

Three tries later, these fragrant muffins emerged from the oven and were ready for giving away. Not all, of course, since I am the most senior Official Taster.

closeup of sour cream chocolate chip muffins

great straight from the oven with melting chocolate throughout the tender cake

Baking is a science. Getting the right types of sugar and leavening are keys to browning and rise. Light brown sugar gives a caramel touch. Baking powder and baking soda combine nicely with the acid of sour cream. One extra egg and a small amount of milk keep this batter soft and tender.

Trial and error can be the bane of bakers everywhere. Fortunately, sometimes the mistake batches fulfill your sweet tooth, too. Check my freezer for the remnants of the first two rounds.

Thanks to all tasters for their valuable thoughts!

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins


2 cups all purpose gluten free flour – I like King Arthur Measure for Measure*
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup neutral oil like canola (can also use melted and cooled butter)
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
two large eggs at room temperature
1 ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* can also use regular all purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray (can also use paper cups to line tin).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt.
  4. In larger mixing bowl, whisk together both sugars with oil or melted butter.
  5. Pour in sour cream, milk and vanilla, mixing well.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well.
  7. Dump dry ingredients into the bowl, followed by the chocolate chips.
  8. Allow chips to get coated with flour before mixing all with spatula until no flour streaks remain, but avoid overmixing which can make batter tough.
  9. Letting chips get coated with flour ensures even distribution and no sinking into the muffins.
  10. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  11. Make sure oven temperature is accurate; for me, 22 minutes at 350 was perfect.
  12. Tip out muffins onto cooling rack and enjoy right away or up to 3 days if covered well once cooled.
  13. If muffins have been frozen, consider a brief trip in the microwave (10-12 seconds) to soften the texture once you defrost them.