Desperation Dinner

This post is brought to you by hunger, desperation, a terrible Monday, and Rachael Ray.

Okay, so it isn’t actually brought to you by Rachael Ray. She doesn’t know me from Adam. Well, probably if Adam and I were side by side she could figure it out.  The point is, this post is in no way the fault of Ms. Ray.  Desperation and Monday, however…well, they know what they did.

My dreams aren’t huge, they’ve just been unattainable lately.  My plan was to hit up the grocery store and Costco Monday night after school.  That didn’t happen.  Not because I was working late, I left school a little after 4 PM.   I had to try to get home before dark beacause earlier in the day I’d cried the contact lense out of my right eye.  All the way home I had to make a constant choice between clarity and depth perception, looking like Popeye and not looking like Popeye.

Sigh.  No groceries means no dinner.  Here’s what I do when I’m hungry and there are no obvious solutions: I scan the pantry, fridge, and freezer and google what I find.  Today I found frozen sausages, pumpkin puree, and black beans.

Clearly and obviously the makings of a gourmet meal.  I googled “savory pumpkin meals.”  The Food Network popped up with a recipe for Pumpkin Blackbean Soup.  I know, right? Kismet.

Still, I was missing several ingredients.  No vegetable stock.  No onions.  No canned diced tomatoes. No curry powder.  Here’s what I did have:

But that didn’t go in the soup.  I ate them to keep my blood-sugar up while I made the weirdest dinner ever.

But these looked useful:

I grabbed these guys and a bottle of dark beer from the back porch and got to work.  Oh, the beer was to replace the vegetable stock I didn’t have.  Totally obvious solution, right? Totally.

I sliced up the sausages and browned them in a pot.

Then I added about half a bottle of beer.  Trust me when I say this substitution isn’t totally crazy.  There’s a chilli recipe I make that has half a bottle of beer in it and it’s delicious.  Since this little food adventure had black beans and the chilli had black beans and if I were eating a savory pumpkin dish I think I’d like to also be drinking a dark beer, it seemed like an ok match. 

After I dumped in the beer I dumped in the black beans.

And I dropped the top of the can into the pot.  It’s what the pros on the Food Network told me to do.  Adds a certain metalicism to the dish.

Then I dumped in the pumpkin because why on earth would you want to leave a perfectly respectable black bean and sausage mixture as-is?  It could have gone on a tortilla or something and what fun is that? No, it’s fall and I bought about four cans of pumpkin in the middle of October because I had big pumpkin-baking dreams and now they are the only edible things I have left.  Plus, Rachael Ray honestly did tell me that Pumpkin and Black Bean soup is something you can really make. Dump it in.

That looks gross. 

So, from here I added the cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne.  I didn’t measure, I just shook the bottles over the pot.  If I were in a lessened state of desperation I would have dumped a little in my palm first so I had some idea about how much spice was in my food. Then I swiped a couple glugs of milk from a roomie.  I stirred, tasted, added some cinnamon, teeny bit of ginger, and a little squeeze of agave nectar.

Then I danced for joy because that bowl was edible.  I ate it.  Morale instantly improved.  It tasted like a squash soup with a spicy edge and a Henry Weinhardt’s aftertaste.  This soup totally did the trick.  I was full and my blood sugar (and therefor my mood) were rising.

Is it kind of strange? Yes.  Did it provide an economical solution to my problem? Absolutely.  Am I taking the leftovers to school tomorrow for lunch? Probably not, it started to smell like a wet dog.