Thursday, January 12, 2006

Weird Weather

So it's the 12th of January at the high for today reached 59°F (according to The Washington Post, but I think it might have been warmer) and tomorrow is predicted to hit 62°F. Actually, for much of the time since Christmas, it's been warmer than average, although a little front that pushed through last weekend chilled things enough (and stirred up enough winds) to get most of the rest of the leaves off our trees.

That meant that Sunday was our final raking for the year ... and just in time as today was supposed to be our last leaf pickup. (Of course, I also got an e-mail this evening from the city saying they're adding another round of pickups next week.) This means I now have to pick up all the acorns and other detritus that the vacuum truck didn't take, but it shouldn't be too bad.

With the weather being nice, Celeste and I headed out to the park this afternoon. I had her in the backpack and thought she was up for a longish hike along a tributary of the Anacostia, but she had a different idea. As soon as we got to the Northwest Branch, I asked her if she wanted to go downriver (toward the confluence with the Northeast Branch) or upriver (toward the confluence with Sligo Creek), and she kept saying "Nah." I'd start in one direction and she'd say "Nah. Nah. Nah!" and then turn around and head the other way to a new chorus of "Nah. Nah. Nah!" I stopped and asked her to point which way she wanted to go, and she pointed back toward the park ... and toward to little dogs that were being walked down the path.

We walked back to the park, passing the two dogs (one of whom barked back at Celeste), and headed toward the playground. Celeste spent well over an hour on the swings, ramp, slides, and just walking around. She also was watching very intently a boy a few years older than she is riding his bike around. (I've told her she can get a bike once she can say "bicycle" ... thus far, she just nods at the idea and doesn't try to say the word, but she does intently watch anyone — adult or child — who's on a two-wheeler.)

On an unrelated note, I just had a very nice tequila — Leyenda del Milagro Añejo, 100% agave, single barrel (18 months in oak). I used a splash as a condiment for my black beans and rice*, and enjoyed the rest neat with a twist of lime. Very rich, fairly subtle, all around pretty tasty. Tequila Jones disagrees with my assessment (PocoTequila.Com, by contrast, rates it as "Good to Very Good"), but maybe it was because I wasn't tasting it with other tequilas or maybe because my palate has more experience with whisky and wine than with tequila.

*This was just a quick dinner — sweat some onions, add two cans of black beans and two cans of tomatoes and spice with some aleppo pepper, lime, and salt then serve over rice — but I like the added bit of flavor the agave from an añejo tequila adds; Evelin doesn't like it so much, so I just add a splash at the table. This parallels a comment I left on Gone to Carolina last week saying that tequila was my "secret chili flavor enhancer." It's true: There's just something about the agave that works in southwestern-flavored bean dishes.

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patrick said...

Howdy Mr. Carter. That sounds like a fine recipie. Can I be a noob and ask what one does to "sweat" an onion? And what is aleppo pepper?

Hope your enjoying the balmy weather!

T. Carter said...

Hi Patrick ... It's quick and easy and tasty and requires little more than a can opener, which can be a lifesaver some days ... By "sweating" I basically meant to sauté until they release water and get limp (sort of translucnet, but before they start to brown/carmelize). Aleppo pepper has a nice flavor with a little heat/bite and a bit of smokiness balances with a little sweetness. It looks like you could use ancho peppers instead. I just have some dried powdered stuff from Penzey's.

patrick said...

Thanks for the tips. I have a couple dried anchos that I need to use, so I'll give it a go tomorrow. Cheers!

T. Carter said...

Enjoy and be sure to try it with a nice tequila!