and after all that, i got sick

I’m one of those people who gets sick after a stressful event. In college, I got sick on every visit home; for a while in Philly I was getting sick each weekend. I moved to New York, and the constant stress was such that I didn’t actually catch a cold until the week after I stopped working at my job. So after these past few weeks, in which I had a lot of fun but did a LOT, I’m now sick! And home on a Friday night, so I’m talking to you guys for the first time in ages.

First, I started the apartment hunt. Anyone who’s lived in New York knows that finding an apartment in this city is one of the most painful experiences you’ll ever have. In truth, my search was relatively easy . . . and I found the most gigantic apartment ever, at a supremely affordable price, and near to some new friends!

366.275 • ALL MINE! (by mintyfreshflavor)

Then, while packing up my life, Jocelyn_ came for a visit. She’s been a Flickr/email friend for two years, and she was my inspiration for starting the 365 self-portrait project. We played in the big city, of course.

366.280 • chicken hat + joce = fun times in nyc (by mintyfreshflavor)

The same day Joce left New York, I flew to Boston to visit with my closest bloggy friends. We email daily, but there’s just no match for hanging out for reals. And did you see the mittens Maritza made for me? Gorgeous. I’m carrying them around with me whenever I go out, but honestly it’s not cold enough. So I pet them on the subway.

mittens! (by mintyfreshflavor)

everybody jump! (by mintyfreshflavor)

And THEN, because I’m not greedy enough for knitterly goodness, I went to Rhinebeck! Anne-Marie chartered a bus for the Sit ‘n’ Knit New York group, so we all went for the day on Saturday. I got to see some bloggers I hadn’t seen since last Stitches, and, um, I bought more yarn. But you wouldn’t know it from the photos, because I only had eyes for the changing leaves. Just believe me, I was there.

exploding fall! (by mintyfreshflavor)

The end to all this fun was the actual move. I packed up my postage-stamp-sized apartment on the Upper East Side and the movers carted it all down to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I am loving it down here—it makes me think of South Philly, actually, and in so many ways it feels like home. Unpacking is . . . going slowly. And like I said, I’m now battling a gross head cold. But the apartment is cozy and big and just totally, totally awesome.

366.294 • small girl, big apartment (by mintyfreshflavor)

To make myself feel better, and also to christen the new kitchen (gas finally got turned on today), I made my favorite black bean soup. The original recipe is just a jumping off point for a lot of tasty variation—today I used 2 chipotle chiles in adobo instead of fresh jalapeno, and I didn’t have a tomato so I just left it out. It’s easily made vegetarian (in which case, I highly recommend a chipotle, so you get some smokiness, which I get a double-punch of with the bacon), but please, please don’t make it vegan: the cilantro-lime sour cream is the condiment that makes this soup.

the cilantro-lime milky way! (by mintyfreshflavor)

Here’s how I make it.

4-6 bacon slices, chopped (substitute some vegetable oil if making vegetarian)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery (a few ribs)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (half an onion)
3/4 cup finely chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
3/4 cup finely chopped leeks (one large leek)
2 or 3 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained (3 is preferable but I only had 2 tonight)
4-5 cups low-salt chicken broth (or veggie stock, of course, but both preferably homemade)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 jalapeño chili, minced or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo or heck, both!
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Additional chopped tomato

Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until brown but still soft, about 4 minutes. Add celery, onion, carrots, and leeks and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add beans, chicken broth, tomato, 1/2 cup cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapeño, vinegar, cumin and coriander. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer soup until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Puree with immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Mix sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice and 1/2 cup cilantro in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Place dollop of sour cream mixture atop soup. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and chopped tomato.

29 Responses to and after all that, i got sick

  1. Nell says:

    That soup looks delish! I’ll have to give it a shot.

    Glad you’ve had such a great time. Now you’ll have to recuperate in your big new apartment!

  2. Bee says:

    Get better soon! I moved twice in the last year and that isn’t always fun. I’m determined to stick to where I am, for the next year at least. I’m sure the apartment hunting didn’t help the cold but at least you have this lovely new apartment. It looks pretty cozy already.

    And it looks like you had fun at Rhinebeck. Living on the west coast and reading about Rhinebeck sort of sounds like the pilgrimage to Mecca.

  3. stacey says:

    Gosh, I hope you are feeling better! Your new apartment rocks and it looks as though you have some pretty awesome friends to help you party in there!

  4. Niki says:

    Thanks for the great bbean soup recipe. It is one of my most favorite meals, and I am always looking for a new way to make it. Congrats on the new apartment. It looks like it has a LOT of room for yarn!

  5. gleek says:

    you could get the smokiness for your soup (for vegetarians) from liquid smoke too which we have in abundance here :) so glad you moved to my new neighborhood! i’m sure we’ll see a lot of each other!

  6. Tam says:

    I love that jumpshot! hehe.

    Can’t imagine living in apartments in such a packed place, though I’ve imagined it would be fun to have “an apartment in New York”. We live about 2 hours from Melbourne (Australia) and everyone in our area has about 5 acres. You have to walk a few minutes to visit the neighbors. lol. Across the road is just a massive 50 acre paddock with a few sheds on it. Spacey.

    Would be fun to have an apartment, though!

  7. Chante says:

    I’m one of those people too except whenever I get too jittery I get sick. I’m just now getting over my Rhinebeck cold.

    I saw you up there but you were deep in conversation and I didn’t want to interrupt. Congrats on the new place even though we won’t have Manhattan in common anymore. Love the mittens too.

  8. Jocelyn says:

    I so enjoy dwelling on your life! six months? 180 degrees!!

    I would very much like a print of this picture, too. I showed it to Atkinson just today and she laughed and laughed. “THAT is what you guys were doing!?” ha!

  9. Grace says:

    You’re in Bay Ridge now?! That’s awesome. Welcome to the neighborhood! FYI, we have a knitting group that meets every wednesday night at the Starbucks on Bay Ridge Parkway (75th) and 3rd Ave. We’d love to meet you.

  10. julia says:

    I have no sympathy for your illness, now that I am selfish enough to demand you come out to SF RIGHT NOW and MAKE THAT SOUP FOR ME!!!!

    p.s. Just playin’. Sorry you’re sick!

  11. Num Num says:

    I *know* you’re going to feel better very soon, if only because the soup
    will clear your sinuses.
    But you’re happy! Haven’t heard you like this in too long a while.
    Here’s to Brooklyn and Bay Ridge and Many More Minty adventures.

  12. Trine says:

    I hope you get well soon! Head colds are the worst ones to kick, I feel. I’m like you – I get sick AFTER the crazy stressful stuff. I’d get sick after every major paper in senior high (or the equivalent of that here), I got sick after breakups or rocky patches in relationships, after every move (and we’ve moved a LOT), etc.

    These next three months will be very stressful for me (new job, exam project to write before Christmas plus exam in mid-January) so I’ll probably be sick for weeks when we hit February. :P I’ll remember that soup recipe, it looks like a good thing to have when you’re sick!

    Oh, and finally congrats on finding such a wonderful apartment. I moved into mine a month ago and haven’t unpacked all my stuff yet (I have a whole moving box full of yarn that I don’t know where to put) – it does take a lot of time. But it’s my own apartment, no more mum and dad telling me this and this, I do my own shopping and cleaning and cooking and it’s teh awesome. :D

    Hooray for happy times!

  13. Katie says:

    Hi! I just made this soup tonight for a group of family and friends and it got rave reviews, thanks for sharing! Along with the sour cream, we served it with a dollop of Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread, yum:-)

  14. Ana says:

    i know it’s a bit late, but congrats on the move (just found your blog via serious eats). you’ll love brooklyn, even if you don’t already. at least i hope so.

    this soup looks fantastic- and it’s finally cold enough for it. and mittens! i finished a pair of burgundy elbow-length fingerless gloves in nice bumpy, openwork pattern a few weeks ago, and i’m glad it’s finally time to wear them.

  15. tanya181 says:


    I got to your blog through ravelry. I was just wondering where you got that cooool chicken hat? I’m looking for x-mas gifts and I know a chicken-lover who would die over that hat.

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