In a large saucepan over high heat, place the water and black beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat. In another large saucepan or stockpot, heat the olive oil or butter over medium low heat. Cook the onions until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, jalapeno and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic's aroma is released, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and their liquid and mix well. Pour in the vegetable stock. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, an additional 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender in batches and puree until smooth, pulsing the machine on and off until it begins to liquefy. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a generous tablespoonful of salsa fresca and crema, creme fraiche or sour cream.
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well, and serve. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than a day.
Whisk the cream and buttermilk together. Cover and set in a warm place for 8 hours. Crema may be kept in the refrigerator as long as a week.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved