1. I did something semi-impulsive today -- not 100% impulsive, mind you, but semi -- ha! On the spur of the moment, I decided to squeeze into the Sube and bolt up to the Wegman's Food Market in Columbia, MD, about twenty-five minutes away. I've been looking for a 7 x 11 inch Pyrex baking pan and for whole cumin seeds and for a mortar and pestle. I haven't had much luck here in Greenbelt, so, I thought, "Hmmm. I've heard that Wegman's Food Market has everything. I'll give it a go and do the regular shopping I want to do there also." I batted .666. I found the baking pan and the whole cumin seeds, but struck out looking for a mortar and pestle. I had a lot of fun, though, lollygagging around at Wegman's, strolling the aisles, looking at their products, not buying much, but just taking in as much of the joint as I could. It was a fun trip -- not nearly as overwhelming as my first trip to Wegman's last year. That time I went to the one at Woodmore just off the Beltway about fifteen minutes or so south of here. Remember?
2. On my way home from Wegman's, I took a detour and stopped at MOM's for a fresh baked loaf of Seven Grain Crunch bread from a Maryland bakery, Spring Mill Bread. Spring Mill has their own counter in the back of MOM's and their bread is superb. I looked for a mortar and pestle at MOM's. I struck out. (I'm wondering if I should just buy an electric spice grinder -- it's just that the noise bothers me. But the noise wouldn't last long. I think I'd like to try the mortar and pestle first. The search goes on -- before I order online.)
3. Before I went on my grocery shopping safari, I'd had a hankering for sweet potatoes and black beans and wondered if I might find a recipe for a salad. I couldn't find my Bean by Bean cookbook -- I found it later in the evening on the little table by our bed -- so I dove into Pinterest and sure enough I found a great recipe. I diced a red onion and a two pounds of sweet potatoes, covered them with olive oil, salted them, and, for the first time in my life, I put a sheet of parchment paper on a backing pan, and covered the paper with the onions and sweet potato. The parchment paper was a game changer. I loved how the vegetables came out of the oven roasted with no sticking to the pan. I will use parchment paper for the rest of my life! I mixed the roasted vegetables with a couple cans of black beans. While the vegetable roasted, I had made a dressing: olive oil, crushed garlic, fresh squeezed lime juice, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. I shook it up about nine hundred times and poured it over the sweet potatoes, onions, and beans, and then garnished it with roasted sesame seeds and a bunch of cilantro. The Deke and I loved this salad. If you'd like to check out the recipe, it's right here. (By the way, the recipe calls for pumpkin seeds -- we loved the sesame seeds I used as a substitute.)