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