Black Bean and Ham Soup, Sauteed Corn, Tomato Salad

I buy bone in hams whenever I find them marked down. The meat is great in sandwiches and much more economical than lunch meat, which also seems more processed and less meaty than ham to me. Ham is great in omelettes, Mac and Cheese, fried rice, and baked egg rolls also. But my favorite use of ham is in a pot of beans. 
I remove the meat from the bone and portion it into several freezer bags, then place the bone and some extra meat in a crock pot with a pound of beans, a few cloves of garlic, and a lot of water. This cooks until the beans are almost tender, at which point I add salt, sriracha, and chopped onion, cilantro, and green pepper (modify these to suit your tastes). Then I  let it cook in the crock pot until the beans are tender. 

I remove some of the beans to freeze for later use and turn what’s left in the crock pot into a soup. Since I had hopes Belle would eat this, I did not add peppers or onions to the beans earlier, and I made a small dish of chopped bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro seasoned with lemon juice and salt for Elvis and me to add to our soup. I also swirled a little more sriracha on top. We love that stuff. 

This soup would be great with cornbread but I had some ears from Lidl (15 cents each!) and tried Ina Garten’s Suteed Fresh Corn Recipe. It was awesome -simple and delicious. I used a small bowl inverted in a larger bowl to cut the corn. 

I also made a quick salad of tomatoes and basil from my garden, with the last of a cucumber from a farm stand, by just chopping all and adding salt and pepper, then letting it sit at room temperature at least fifteen minutes. 

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