Cook As Needed for Pain, Volume 2: Zucchini, Tomato, and Cannelini Soup

Hey, look everybody, I’m finally following through on something. Here’s Volume 2 of this thing I started working on over two-and-a-half years ago. Please hold your applause until the end.

I planned to stop by Bloomingfoods on my way home from work today and buy a couple of big ‘ol baking potatoes for dinner. Big ‘Ol Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Whatnot is a shared favorite meal of Mrs. Circlepit and myself. It’s super satisfying, super filling, super delicious, and super easy, and since my job and the general state of things are not-so-slowly killing me, both physically and mentally, I wanted dinner to be as easy as possible without ordering takeout or delivery.

After a drive across downtown that was significantly more dangerous and time-consuming than it should’ve been, I arrived in front of the co-op to find their tiny parking lot absolutely lousy with parked cars and people trying to park and people trying to pull out of spaces, and I don’t wanna paint with too broad of a brush here, but most of the people who shop at the co-op drive like dumbfucks and can’t park for shit. My only other option was parking on the street, but I won’t give the City of Bloomington a penny more than I absolutely have to, so I said “fuck that, I’ll figure out something else for dinner” and drove home, wherein I quickly devised a plan for a soup that I think will be delicious.

At first I was figuring on Veggie Chili, which is one of my favorite things to both cook and eat (and which will probably be featured within this feature some day), but I arrived home to discover that we didn’t have any hominy or any canned pinto beans, and as you may recall, I was looking for ease of preparation above all else, so I decided to put on Inlet by HUM and make a soup up as I went along, and now, some 55 minutes later, I have a batch of Zucchini, Tomato, and Cannelini Soup (ZTC Soup) simmering lightly on the stove.

Here’s the list of ingredients in this soup:

2 medium zucchini
2 small-ish carrots
about 1/4 of an onion
1 15 oz can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed (see Notes)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of leftover basmati rice
1 28 oz crushed tomato can’s worth of vegetable broth (see Notes)
1-2 tsp of lemon juice
dried thyme
dried basil
dried oregano
granulated garlic
granulated onion
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
2-ish Tbsp of olive oil

Notes:

  1. Cannelini beans are basically white kidney beans. I used them because it’s what I had in the pantry. I think this is my first time using them, and I’m pretty sure I bought the can just to try something different. You could certainly use Great Northern or navy beans instead, just be more gentle when stirring – those beans are especially tender li’l guys.
  2. I forgot to check the actual liquid volume of the can before I put it in recycyling. Regarding broth, I like Better Than Bullion brand No Chicken Base. I use that shit in so many things. It’s a galdern miracle of modern innovation. You can certainly make your own broth or stock. It’s very easy, but BTB is easier, and remember: I wanted this soup to be easy like Sunday morning.

I cut everything except the onion to roughly the same size as a cannelini bean, and I minced the onion. Mrs. Circle Pit doesn’t like the texture of onions, so if I wanna cook with them I have to either cut them small enough to essentially hide them or cut them large enough that she can see them and pick them out and give them to me.

I started out sauteeing the onions and carrots in the olive oil. After a couple-few minutes, I added the zucchini and let it all cook for about 5 minutes before adding all the seasonings. Another minute or so and in go the tomatoes and broth. I added the beans just before it began to simmer, brought ‘er to a full-ass boil, stirred well, and then lowered back down to a light simmer (just a few bubbles). It’s been barely simmering for almost two hours now, and I gotta tell you, friends, the flavor on this soup is real dang good.

This is the point where I added the beans. Look at allathem li’l bubbles.

I’m gonna put some rice in it right before serving it, because fuck it, why not? We’re all gonna die someday, might as well enjoy as much rice as possible before our numbers are up. Brown rice would be dope, but I happen to have some leftover basmati rice from last night’s pretty damn delicous Coconut Curried Vegetables with Chickpeas, which is another thing I love to cook and eat, and which may also make an appearance here one day.

I thought about putting some bulghur wheat in it, just for something different, but I decided to use up the rice instead. Bulghur wheat would probably be really fucking good in it, though. You should try that and tell me about it. Just add it before adding the liquid, and be prepared to probably have to add more liquid as it sits, because bulghur wheat is a thirsty li’l sumbitch.

Aw, hell, I haven’t even talked about HUM yet. HUM are a band from Champaign, Illinois. They’re amazing. They’re sometimes referred to as a “shoegaze” band, and they contain elements of that, but they’re more than that. I’ve read the term “space rock” as well, and that could work in a pinch, but it’s still not quite right. The best word I can think of to describe them is “HUM”. You’d probably recognize their song “Stars” if you heard it. It was an “alternative rock” hit in 1995, and was later used in a Cadillac commercial.

Anway, here’s “Stars”…

There are some incredible live performances of this song from the era, as well. You should watch all of them. Just never stop listening to HUM, basically.

They released three great albums from 1991-1995 (Filet Show, Electra 2000, and You’d Prefer an Astronaut), then one perfect album in 1998 (Downward is Heavenward), then they broke up, and I was sad. They’d reunite occasionally to play a show which would inevitably sell out before I even knew it was happening, but otherwise the members stayed busy with other projects. Then on June 23, 2020, they suprise-released a brand new album, Inlet, which defies all possible logic and comprehension by being even better than Downward is Heavenward. Their drummer died last year, so I don’t really know the current status of the band, but their current status in my heart is among my Top Ten All-Time Favorite Bands.

“Waves” is the first song off the album. It’s perfect. It’s all perfect. Inlet is a perfect album. Listen to it.
“In the Den” is the second song off the album. It’s perfect. It’s all perfect. Inlet is a perfect album. Listen to it.
“Desert Rambler” is the third song off the album. It’s perfect. You see where I’m going with this, right?

I seriously love everything about HUM. The vocals sound like they’re being broadcast from inside your very consciousness. The rhythm section is tighter than a hibernating frog’s butthole. The lyrics are always intelligent and poetic, and often profound. And perhaps most important to this guy right here, the riffs are so heavy you need a Tractomas TR 10×10 D100 to drive them around.

Actual footage of HUM riffs on their way to your brain. I love that “ABNORMAL” sign on the front.

It’s all just so goddamn heavy, and I don’t understand how everyone on Earth doesn’t love them.

ADDENDUM: It’s been nearly 24 hours since I started writing this. I had to stop last night, on account of eating some of that delicious soup we were talking about and then winding my brain down to eventually get ready for bed so I could wake up bright and early and feed the slavering masses. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike the concept of “jobs”? I’m lucky to have a job I enjoy, but man, jobs are for suckers. But that’s a discussion for another post.

I’m now listening to Shadows in the Deep by Unleashed (which fucking rules by the way) and proofreading/updating this thing. Here’s a fun dumb game: see if you can figure out which things I added today. Your prize is doing something on the toilet that doesn’t involve reading terrible news. Unless you consider learning about my love for Hum ‘n’ Beans to be a terrible thing. That would be weird though. Perhaps abnormal, even.

Speaking of abnormal, thanks for reading this the whole way through, ya weirdo. If you enjoyed it, why not tell a friend? If you hated it, why not tell a friend? If you don’t have any friends, you can tell me, I suppose.

And never be too gentle with me.

See ya next time, ya freakin weirdo.

2 thoughts on “Cook As Needed for Pain, Volume 2: Zucchini, Tomato, and Cannelini Soup

  1. I’m so sad that I’ve only just heard HUM for the first time today. I know I didn’t just forget, because if I heard Stars in 1995, I would have been all over them. I don’t know how in the hell I missed it, but thanks for posting about them. Also looking forward to giving that recipe a go.

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