1. I kept getting distracted by different things as I tried to leave our apartment home this morning, but finally, about noon, I made my way to Panera in Beltsville and had my first bite to eat for the day: a cinnamon crunch bagel toasted with cream cheese. I dialed up Pandora on my phone, eased the buds into my ears, and, starting with Heart's "Crazy on You", let hits from around forty years ago play in my head on the "Let it Ride" station as I wrote thank you notes for Christmas and holiday gifts. Now I just need to get some stamps.
2. I don't know if I've every posted my favorite beans and rice recipe. You can look it up, here. I always keep cans of black beans on hand and always try to have red wine available for cooking and the rest of the ingredients are also staples in my pantry and this recipe is quick, easy, and is filled with complementing flavors of sweetness, vinegar, and heat. Tonight, I decided to add to the sweetness a bit and I peeled and chopped a sweet potato and fried in up and added it to the beans and this addition accomplished just what I wanted by giving the vinegar and the heat of Frank's Hot Sauce some sweet competition. And, by the way, any kind of rice works great.
3. So far our weather in Greenbelt has not been terribly cold -- nothing like the sub-zero temperatures in Kellogg or the crippling ice storms in Eugene --, but, all the same, it is fun to roll out some warming winter ale. Thursday night, the Deke and I purchased a six pack of Ninkasi's Sleigher and tonight we dove in. The Deke had never tasted it and it had been at least a couple of years for me. We both loved it. Unlike the hop forward IPAs, Sleigher comes on with toasted malt up front, making it feel, to me, like I'm drinking a subtly spiced, slightly sweet winter drink in beer form, and then the slight sweetness and darkness give way to a slightly hoppy finish, maybe just to remind the drinker that this is an Oregon beer. It costs a little more to buy this warming winter ale in Maryland, but I think I'll just be oblivious to the price and purchase some more Sleigher really soon -- and keep an eye out for Deschutes' winter beer, the fruity, cocoa-y, festive Jubelale. (While I'm on the subject, I've read a little about the latest release of Deschutes' The Abyss -- OMG! Will I find bottles here? I'm most curious to try either the Scotch or Brandy Barrel-Aged version . . . . and to drop deep into its dark and mysterious abyss.)