No Great Taste / ...and in other news

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Folks, I'm somewhat upset to report that I did not attend this year's annual Great Taste of Madison.

I thought about attending, almost to the point of fantasizing myself silly over it, but ultimately decided against it for a couple of reasons: there would likely be a ton of people that would eventually get on my nerves; the food is always sub-par (mix "tent" cooking + cranking out a ton of food and what would you expect?); the cost to attend would be a bit outrageous when weighed against the net experience; and, the weather was a bit chilly.

The news stations and newspapers covered the event in great detail and really made it sound like "the place to be," but at $5 for parking (minimum), plus $5/drink, plus an average of around $4/food item (most of which is deep-fried), it just didn't make sense. So, I stayed home for all of my meals this weekend, which is actually a good thing - I've been sticking to the diet really well and I've had zero cravings for anything bad. I credit the focus on low-glycemic load foods for my stability. :-)

I had to make a new batch of black beans today, and man, I can't get over how much I love these things. They don't look real good while cooking, though:

beans.jpg

But they taste absolutely amazing. Plus, they're easy to make and are really, really good for you. Here's the recipe:

16oz bag of Goya Black Beans
1 green pepper, cut into quarters
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp black pepper
4 Tbsp minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
A few pinches of kosher salt

1. Wash the beans carefully - I like to use a salad spinner; I put the beans in the basket, rinse them with a ton of water, and then spin them to shake out any particles.

2. In a large sealable plastic container (I have a 4-qt Lexan container), add all of the ingredients, and then fill with water until the water is about 1" above the height of the beans.

3. Place the beans in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Check them periodically and add water to keep the level at least 1" above the height of the beans. I usually have to top-off the water 2 times.

4. Transfer the entire contents of the plastic container to a large stainless steel pot or dutch oven.

5. Bring the beans to a boil and allow to boil for five (5) minutes, then reduce heat to a very slow simmer. Allow beans to simmer for about 2-hours. Keep water level just at "bean level" - I usually have to top-off with warm water once.

6. At the 2-hour mark, check on the beans - you don't want them to get mushy... they should be just ever-so-slightly firm. Remove them from the heat and strain them when they have an "al-dente" consistency. Pick out the bay leaves and any really large pieces of peppers and/or onions.

7. Enjoy. I usually eat .5c of cooked beans at dinner - I hit them with a little pepper for just a bit more "kick," but it's up to you as to whether or not you add any additional seasoning.


Aside from making beans and eating at home, I managed to take advantage of the weather by riding 200-miles this weekend and running a bunch.

odometer.jpg

Not bad for a 3-day weekend's worth of riding, eh? :-) True, it was chilly - especially in the early morning hours, but I know that fall/winter are coming so I'm trying to sneak in as much outdoor riding as possible.

I rode about 75 miles on Saturday - left at 7:00am (temperature = 49F, with a strong westerly wind) and got back in at about 10:45am. I rode 75 miles on Sunday - same deal (7:00am - 10:30am) but the temperature was nicer and there was less wind. And I finished things off with a gentle "cool-down" 50-mile ride today - left at about 9:30am and got back in at 12:45 or so.

Why a "cool-down" 50-miler? I ran a 10K race in Randolph today - the same race I ran last year on Labor Day - although my race absolutely stunk. I did too much riding and running on Sunday, so my legs weren't as rested or fresh as I would've liked for them to be. I think my finishing time was 52:13 - about an 8:30 mile pace... not great by any means.

As evidence of my tired legs, consider that my time for this race last year was just over 45-minutes... so, I was 7 minutes slower this year - ugh!!! I think I got 4th or 5th place, but there weren't as many participants this year, probably because it was raining cats-and-dogs (complete with countless lightning bolt strikes). I didn't get any photos from the event because of the rain (and I forgot my phone... that'll happen when you leave the house at 5:15am), but here's the customary race bib follow-up photo:

10k.jpg

They changed the race course this year - it was run nearly entirely in-town - Randolph is so small that we had to run two laps to hit the 6.2 mile mark... That's ok, though, as the race benefits the local humane society, and I'm always happy to help a group that supports animal welfare.

Let's see... what else took place this weekend? I saw the movie, The American with George Clooney. A lot of folks complained about the movie being "slow" and "boring" but I found it rather enjoyable. It had a definite "foreign" feel to it, and there were a lot of subtleties to it. If you're looking for an action-packed "shoot-em up" film, look elsewhere.

I saw the movie at the phenomenal Sundance 608 theater in Madison; man, I love that theater. All of the theaters are big, comfortable, feature excellent sound and picture, have reserved seating, and allow you to bring in food/drink (including beer if you so desire).

movie_screen.jpg

And lastly, the cats (Mack and Shiloh) have been especially rambunctious lately - they chase each other around all of the time, ambush one another, and have taken to biting each others' necks (nothing major - one of them will get a little too wild and the other will let out a yowl before they retreat to their respective corners for a breather). Here they are just a few minutes ago in one of their infamous neck-fights... and they're sitting about 10" from my head.

fight.jpg

It's back to work tomorrow - hope everyone out there had an enjoyable (and more exciting than mine) Labor Day Weekend.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on September 6, 2010 7:10 PM.

Hangin' out was the previous entry in this blog.

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