I am not really into recipes, but since Anonymous has asked twice now, I felt obligated to ask Bing for her black bean soup recipe. She doesn't follow one, so this is what she told me.
Take about a cup of black turtle beans and/or black eyed peas. Soak them overnight in the fridge.
Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so. You want the beans tender but not mushy.
Saute a large purple onion in olive oil for ten minutes and add 6 cloves of garlic the last couple of minutes. Add some chopped peppers, carrots and celery and a shake of cayenne, salt and pepper.
Drain the beans, save the broth. Put everything together. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for another hour or so. Stir occasionally. Puree half the soup and return to the pot.
Stir in a cup of orange juice. Cook for another 15 minutes. All done.
I am a witness. It is delicious.
Now, on to more interesting stuff.
Since it is Valentine's Day, I thought I would relay the story of my amethyst ring. Bing got it for me recently. I am not into rings, always thought they were stupid. I always regarded them as um...sort of chains, marking me as belonging to someone. I never wanted one, never asked for one.
Bing wanted to get me one. She had already gotten me a Claddagh ring, the only one that I consented to wear. And obligingly, I wore it on my left hand with the heart pointing towards my wrist, symbolizing that I was "spoken for." Wasn't that plenty?
No, she kept pushing. She hates wearing any sort of jewelry, doesn't even wear a watch, uses her blackberry to tell the time. But, she couldn't help but notice that I liked wearing jewelry. I like dangly bracelets and have several rings, most of them what Liv's father, Tinton, calls witch rings since, in legend, they are said to be favored by witches. This is why one of his pet names for me is Samantha Stevens.
Bing also knows that I love rocks. Especially amethysts. I have always been drawn to amethysts, think they are gorgeous. Tinton tells me that amethysts are basically ornamental, not considered valuable at all. I just like them. I have several bowls of them, including one bowl that I keep under our bed since my parents always kept one under their bed, supposedly to draw wealth.
I like their deep purple color, their just plain prettiness.
So, Bing kept dragging me into jewelry stores to point out which rings that I thought were nice. I told her flat out that I would refuse to wear a diamond, not to even think of buying me a diamond. I think this relieved her a great deal...
I pointed out mother of pearl, rubies and citron. But, I liked the amethyst the best. The jewelers would always frown and say things like, "But, amethyst is so ordinary, really just sort of...showy."
I didn't care. It you like something, you just like it and do not owe anyone an explanation.
I got sick and all my rings became too big for my fingers. So, neither she nor I were sure of my ring size anymore and I refused to let her measure, saying that I really didn't see any need for her to buy me a ring.
I thought she let it go.
And then one day, I came home to find a little white box on the bed. The box held a lovely amethyst ring. It was triangle shaped and had three small mother of pearls surrounding it. It fit perfectly.
I asked her how she knew what size to get. She sheepishly admitted that she had measured my ring finger with string as I slept. I smiled at her tenacity.
And now I wear the ring on my middle finger of my left hand. Since, my fingers have shrunk even more and I now wear a very loose size four. My Claddagh is right next to it.
I have since looked up amethyst and found out that it is basically as Tinton says, a very common violet quartz. The Romans and Greeks believed that amethyst protected it's owner from drunkenness. In fact, in Greek, the work amethyst means "not drunken."
Amethyst is found in abundance in Brazil and South Korea. Ontario also has recently found a mother lode of it. My amethyst is a more rare type, less common, called deep russian.
I found out recently from my sisters, who are authorities on Catholicism, that very high ranking officials of the Roman Catholic Church wear amethysts.
So, I am in pretty decadent company.
As for me, I just like amethysts. No idea why. I am not particularly drawn to the color purple. Rubies are a far more mysterious, lovely stone. I just like the simplicity of amethysts. They are sort of like daisies in the flower world. Commonplace, very Doris Dayish, but just...nice and clean and pretty.
And it makes Bing happy to have me wear it. She claims that she would like to hold my hand up to everyone's faces when we are out.
This woman is MINE.
Well, I am. Hers. Well, as much as I will ever permit myself to belong to anyone.
And if she needs me to wear this ring, well, fine.
It is pretty. And I like it. It looks like me. It will go to Liv when I die, although she is more a fan of darker stones; she likes onyx and tiger's eye, blood red stones. Maybe there is some vampire in her. I dunno.
But, for me...give me the nice frothiness of amethyst.
What is your favorite stone?
And by the way, will you be my valentine?