During the week Daddy was visiting we took him to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, where we trekked through the strawberry fields and picked pint after pint. He carried little Weston on his shoulders most of that day. I'd never seen him happier.
Today is the second anniversary of my dad's death. I'm not great with dates - I forgot my own first wedding anniversary - and it's not like a number on the calendar is going to make me think of Daddy any more. I think about him all the time, every day, nearly every hour. But now that the day is coming to a close, I'm realizing that I do want to mark it in some way.
And so I'll share with you one of my dad's favorite recipes: my black bean soup. Daddy loved beans, any beans, all beans. My mom didn't make them at home because she doesn't particularly like them and she didn't particularly enjoy the effect they had on my father ("Beans, beans, good for your heart - the more you eat, the more you..." he'd chant with a grin). So when he came to visit, and sometimes when I went to their house in New York, I'd make black bean soup. In the last year of his life, when he was ill and eating became more chore than pleasure, I made bean soup, lentil soup, chili - all the things he loved - and packed them into small containers, with which I filled their freezer. Two years later, my mom still has a few servings of this soup left.
Bon appetit, Daddy. I miss you.
Black bean soup for Daddy
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 pound uncooked chorizo or andouille sausage, casings removed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt to taste
- 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)