Did you hear? Spring is coming! Woohoo! We were supposed to get snow last night and today (only a few inches) but the morning dawned bright and sunny and almost above freezing! Anyway, a few odds and ends today.
First: I just joined Netflix. We don't go to the movies and we only rent movies maybe once or twice a month. But for two movies at Blockbuster, its almost $10. So when I saw that Netfliz had a $9.99 plan, one movie at a time, unlimited for a month, I thought well, cheaper than Blockbuster and probably lots more movies and documentaries that I'd like to watch than are available at Blockbuster. Two weeks later and I'm a Netflix addict and eagerly awaiting the little red envelope in my mailbox. At home right now, the first disc of the multipart documentary "The Farmer's Wife" originally shown on PBS. But you know how you can never think of what you want when forced to choose? Well I just can't think of all those indie films or foreign films or missed PBS series when I'm scrolling through the choices. So what are some of your favorite films? Things that you think I would like. I want to keep the red enevelopes coming.
Second: I promised a few recipes to some people and have thrown in a few that I've made recently and have really, really liked.
I made French Lentil Soup
on Saturday. Yummy and suprisingly easy. And I served it with Farmgirl's Beyond Easy Beer Bread
. Whenever I've made beer bread in the past, it has always turned out semi-brick like. But this recipe resulted in a really nice loaf that was a close approximation of real bread. I added shredded sharp cheese, garlic, and cayenne pepper and it went really well with the soup.
I promised Jamie
this recipe for Fig Cake. This cake is the reason we lug back several jars of fig preserves from North Carolina every September. Yummy. And different.Frances’ Fig Cake
Preheat oven to 350°
Grease bundt pan and dust with flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
½ tsp. Nutmeg
½ tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups plain white flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. Baking soda, dissolved in 1 Tbs. Water
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup preserved figs, chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
In a medium bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy. Add sugar and beat until pale and thick. Add oil and beat another minute.
Sift together spices, salt and flour. Add to eggs alternately with buttermilk beating well after each addition.
Stir in soda, dissolved in water, vanilla, figs and nuts.
Pour into pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and then invert onto a rack and cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar if you want.
Recipe from The Backporch Restaurant Cookbook by Debbie Wells
And since I have this cookbook in my hands at the moment, I think I promised this black bean casserole recipe to Liz
about a year ago.Cuban Black Bean and Monterey Jack Cheese Casserole
2 cups dried black beans, picked over for rocks, covered completely with water, and soaked overnight
½ gallon water
1 tsp. Salt
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. Dried oregano
2 tsp. Dried thyme
2 tsp. Fresh minced garlic
1 ¼ cup water
½ cup white rice
2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 ½ cups onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. Fresh minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
¼ tsp. Salt or more to taste
2 dashes coarse black pepper
¼ tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
4 tsp. Ground cumin
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup blanched almonds
4 cups (about 1 pound) grated Monterey Jack Cheese
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
Drain soaking water from beans, rinse thoroughly and put in a heavy bottomed soup pot with ½ gallon water. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam that forms on top, then add salt, bay leaf, oregano, thyme and garlic. Cover and cook for about 2 hours until beans are soft and the liquid is thick. Stir often.
Bring 1 ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice and dash of salt, cover and lower heat. Cook until rice is soft and all water is absorbed. Set aside.
Heat 2 Tbs. Oil in large sauté pan. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Saute until soft.
When beans are done, add the cooked rice, peppers and onions, wine, broth, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, raisins, and almonds. Stir well to blend and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Correct salt if necessary.
Butter a deep 10 x 13 casserole dish and cover bottom and sides with the grated cheese, reserving ¾ cup for the top. Fill with the bean mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and reserved cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until top is crusty and beans are bubbling.
Approx. 6-8 servings.
Also from the Backporch Cookbook.
If you ever find yourself on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, you can't beat this restaurant. And do order the Blue Crab Beignets. To.Die.For.