08.30.11_Zucchini Tacos and Black Bean Soup

Yesterday was our One Year Anniversary and we are going to be celebrating this weekend with a trip to Charlottesville. For something special on the actual day we decided to just have a low-key night with wine and cheese on our rooftop before cooking one of our last vegetarian dinners. Our first date was at a Mexican restaurant called Surfside in Glover Park. I decided to make Zucchini Tacos and Black Bean Soup to somewhat recreate our first date. I was actually surprised with how many different things I needed to do for these recipes (lots of prep work) and I didn't even make the tomatillo salsa that the taco recipe recommended! When it was all said and done we had a sweet corn succotash, grilled zucchini tacos, and black bean soup.

I made the sweet corn succotash first since it could just sit and the flavors would just marry the longer it sat. It was easy enough. Just saute onion, garlic, jalapeno, and bell pepper for a few minutes before adding the corn. The recipe called for fresh corn but I had a can of corn on hand so I just drained it and used that instead. I also squeezed a little fresh lime into the mix to brighten the flavors a bit. After the succotash was made it was onto the black bean soup. This had to simmer for about 15 minutes so I figured I could grill up the zucchini and squash for the tacos once the soup was simmering.
I had originally found a recipe for black bean soup on a vegan blog and had bookmarked it without really looking at the ingredients. After reading it on Monday it had all kinds of things that I did not have so I decided to go back to trusty Rachael Ray and get an easier recipe with things I would most likely have at home or easily be able to find at the grocery store. Her recipe called for black beans, celery, onion, bell pepper, and a can of diced tomatoes, seasoned with bay leaves, cumin, coriander, S&P, and hot sauce cooked in vegetable stock. I decided to leave out the tomatoes for Phillip so I added a little extra stock to make up for the liquid that was lost by omitting the tomatoes. Other than a lot of prep this recipe was easy as Ray Ray's recipes always are. I'm not sure why she calls it a stoup though. I know she loves making stoups because she thinks she's clever for combing the words soup and stew but this was definitely more soup-like. If I were to make this again I would cut back on the celery. It seemed more like a Tex-Mex vegetable soup than an actual black bean soup like I wanted.

Black Bean Soup, Sweet Corn Succotash, and Grilled Zucchini and Squash for the Tacos
Once the soup was simmering I sliced up the zucchinis and squash into long planks. Having a mandolin would have made this much easier and the size of the planks more consistent. Obviously cutting them with a knife worked fine but my slices were inconsistent to say the least. After slicing all I had to do was brush each side with olive oil and season with S&P before throwing them on the grill pan. A couple of minutes later dinner was ready. I also put out salsa, cheese and lime wedges to top the tacos with. The zucchini tacos were delicious and I did not miss the meat at all. All the vegetables were super juicy so they were a little messy to eat but well worth it.

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