"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Soup of the Week & The Dresden Files: Rules of Engagement

This hearty three-bean soup is very easy to fix.

Taco Bean Soup

1 lb pork sausage
1 lb ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
4 cups water
2 cans (16 oz/e) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz/e) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz/e) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14 1/2 oz/e) stewed tomatoes
2 cans (14 1/2 oz/e) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained.
1 jar (16 oz) chunky salsa
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced ripe olives - all optional

In a soup kettle, cook sausage & beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Stir in the water, beans, tomatoes, and salsa. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, and olives if desired.

The Dresden Files: Rules of Engagement

Another enjoyable episode, with some good plotting, a chance for Harry to showcase some more magical abilities, and some nice snide remarks from Bob. I'm liking Bob more as the show progresses--of course I'm also liking the show itself more as it progresses, so I suppose the two go hand-in-hand.

The hi-jinks get underway when Harry's new client, Nikki, walks in the door, wanting him to help her find her Aunt Frida's boyfriend, a Mr. Primko, who apparently high-tailed it with Aunt Frida's money. Searching for Primko, Harry finds a body that's been scorched to death by a hellion. Morgan, from the White Council, sticks his nose in, as he has some interest in the case, then Murphy arrives. They both seem convinced Harry had something to do with Primko's death.

Then Harry discovers that Nikki isn't Nikki at all, but a Caryn Harris, and she's being pursued by Sarota, a menacing sort who destroys Harry's wand and otherwise causes problems. I don't like him. Things gradually become clear as I discover that Primko was himself a hellion, a recruit of Sarota. Sarota makes hellions, one of whom is Caryn's boyfriend Matthew Jacobs, who's gone free agent as an unrestricted hellion. Sarota wants to get him back under control by getting hold of Jacobs' Chain of Sin, and has entered into a bargain with Morgan and the White Council in order to do so.

Then Harry finds out Jacobs isn't trying to go Hellion Free Agent to wreak destruction, but is actually trying to make himself mortal again, because he's truly in love with Caryn. Harry can't let go of the case, in spite of several opportunities to do just that (including Caryn firing him at one point), and against Bob's advice he cooks up a plan to help the star crossed lovers. In the end all is well, but Harry has double-crossed Sarota, who seems to be a pretty powerful figure in the world of Dark Magic. He's also double-crossed Morgan, ostensibly one of the good guys. And you know one or both of those things is going to come back and bite him in the ass sooner or later.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and it seems to me the show is largely going in the right direction. The plot had enough twists and turns that I actually had to pay a bit of attention. I liked the banter this week between Harry and Bob, and between Harry and Murphy. I didn't quite buy Harry's sudden devotion to the case, which seemed to be rooted in an attraction to Caryn that didn't quite make sense the way it was set up, and the ending was a bit pat, but overall a good installment of a show that seems to be beginning to find its footing.

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