Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Diane, I'm Going to Make a Soup

It just occurred to me that the great northern bean soup shares it's name with the Great Northern Hotel from the early 90's television show Twin Peaks.
Ben Horne owned the hotel, a central location in the show
So in the spirit of one of the most inventive, captivating, and outright creepy shows of all time, I will be writing this post in the style of FBI Special Agent Dale B. Cooper- lead investigator into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.
Diane, I'm planning on attempting to make dinner. Tell Sheriff Truman that I may be late to the station.
Diane, it's 4:45pm on December 13th. The sky is a mix of grey and white, and my light jacket is no match for the brisk wind. Remind me to pick up something heavier- Columbus is a lot colder than Twin Peaks this time of year. My search for the ingredients for a soup I want to make has led me to Aldi, although I'm not entirely sure what kind of soup I want to make. I dreamed about my time at the Great Northern Hotel, room 315 last night, and it has left with me a desire for something hearty, something...I don't know. The Great Northern Hotel....great...northern...beans! Diane, it's settled. I'm going to make a great northern bean soup. I will check back when I acquire the necessary parts.

Diane, it's now 5:30pm and I have secured what I need to make this soup. I will record my expenditures for future reporting:
Two cans of black beans: $0.59 each
Two cans of kidney beans: $0.59 each
Two bags uncooked great northern beans: $1.99 each
One pack value bacon: $2.49
Three white onions: $1
1/2 gallon milk: $1.59
I have the remainder of the food that I need back at the lab. Things like black pepper, onion salt and the like.
One thing that I couldn't pass up on was a slice of cherry pie. You know how much I love a good cherry pie. This was not one of them. I only hope whatever wild animal ends up eating it out of the trash enjoys it more than I did.

In happier days
Diane, it's 6:30pm and I am soaking the great northern beans in a large pot filled with water. I didn't realize that it would require this much time! Beans are fascinating things. Did you know that the plants are heliotropic? This means that the leaves tilt to face the sun, and then at night they fold up when it's dark. Absolutely fascinating.

Diane, it's now 9:45pm and the beans are still as hard as a rock. Further investigation shows that these need about 24 hours to soften them up to be ready to process into soup. I think it's time for me to turn in for the night- hopefully there are no Norwegians in the room next to me, as I have forgotten to pack earplugs. Diane, if you could, please have a pair overnighted to me.

Diane, i'ts 2:17am and I just had the strangest dream. I was on the shore of a lake, and there was something wrapped in clear plastic. I couldn't see what it was, so I began unraveling the figure. When I got all of the plastic off, I was looking at a much older version of myself, only I was covered in smashed up beans. It was the oddest thing.
And my coffee was solid

Diane, it's now 9:14am on Saturday the 14th, and I have had three cups of damn fine hot black coffee. Ah man, that hits the spot. Nothing like a great cup of black coffee. To my surprise, the beans have nearly doubled in size! They're a lot softer too, I would be willing to bet that they're ready to be cooked. To make the base, I need to have them soft so I can put them in the food processor. I will boil them until they're soft- i'd wager about 45 minutes. While those boil, I am going to start getting the onions and bacon ready.

Fire Walk With Me
Diane, remind me to see my doctor when I return. Bacon grease splatters can be incredibly painful. All things considered, getting hit with hot bacon grease is not as bad as I always thought it might be- as long as you can keep the fear from your mind. I guess you could say that about most anything in life. It's not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.

Diane, it's 10:08am, and I have finished slicing the onions with the food processor and cooking and chopping the bacon. I found some leftover green onions as well, and have diced those up. I've begun to cook the black beans and kidney beans on the stovetop. I think giving them a little more firm of a texture will complement the soup. I will now work on the base, assuming that the great northern beans are soft.

Heliotropic goodness

Success, Diane! The beans are soft and are ready to be processed. I've placed several ladles of beans into the food processor, as well as some milk. The consistency is now that of a very lumpy Cream of Wheat. Perhaps I will add some more milk. **whirring is heard in the background** Ah! Perfect.

Diane, it's now 11am and I have the great northern bean soup base completed. For posterity's sake, I will recount what I added, but forgive the lack of exact measurements.
-Finely ground black pepper
-Onion salt
-Onion powder
-Water (to get the right consistency)
At this point, it's time to add the beans that I have been cooking in a pan. They've got a nice "pop" to them, which I was hoping for. Now i'll mix in the onions and the bacon and about 1/3 cup of bacon grease and let this simmer for a couple of hours. The aroma of the soup is almost indescribable. I wish you could smell it, Diane.

Diane, it's 8:45pm, and I have just finished my second bowl of soup. I'm not entirely sure that I can move from my chair. I would say that my soup was a success. I think that I will continue to work on different kinds of soup. One never knows what wonderful variations they'll end up with. I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange. Until next time, Diane.
Very tasty.

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