Friday, April 27, 2012

Cuban Style Rice and Beans & Nervous!

Today was day 5 on the patio.  They are about a day away from completion.   We did change a few things as they went so unfortunately some things have to be redone.  Hubby decided to add some lighting and I added the fire pit and an additional design in the main patio.  Our landscaper is GREAT... he just rolls with the punches!  LOVE HIM!  Here are some new pics.
Patio getting there!

Getting done!

Pne of the changes... going to add some design to the center

The border

The walkway 

close up of the design (will look like a rug)

Where the fire pit is going

I also am starting a few new projects... yes, I know... HOW.  I decided that instead of putting a garden in the back acreage I would put it inside the fence.  This helps with watering and harvesting.  We get most things from my BIL but its nice to have some things close.  So I found a cedar prefab raised bed unit that I am going to go buy and assemble.  I am going to fill it with some organic sweet peat so it should be pretty easy.  Then I had a designer come to the house today.  I have been at a total stumbling block with our bedroom.  Its been 2.5 years and I still can't figure out what I want. The gal that came is a friend of a friend.  Im hoping that she has some great ideas on how I can make it more comfy.  Fingers are crossed!!!

Tonights meal was TO DIE FOR.  I was watching TV the other week (which NEVER happens) and caught myself watching 3 hours of cooking shows (this is WHY it NEVER happens!).  I was watching America's Test Kitchen and they were doing a Cuban theme.... So I decided to try it.  I CANT STOP EATING IT!!!  So very good!  Here's the recipe!!

Cuban Style Rice & Beans

  •  Table salt
  • 1cup dried black beans , rinsed and picked over
  • 2cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
  • 2cups water
  • 2large green bell peppers , halved and seeded
  • 1large onion , halved at equator and peeled, root end left intact
  • 1head garlic , 5 medium cloves removed and minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons), remaining head halved at equator with skin left intact
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1 1/2cups long grain white rice
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 6ounces lean salt pork , cut into 1/4-inch dice (see note)
  • 1tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 4teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2medium scallions , sliced thin
  • 1lime , cut into 8 wedges
The mix

The beans after being cooked the 1st time
  • 1. Dissolve 1½ tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  • 2. In large Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid, stir together drained beans, broth, water, 1 pepper half, 1 onion half (with root end), halved garlic head, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until beans are just soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Using tongs, remove and discard pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Drain beans in colander set over large bowl, reserving 2½ cups bean cooking liquid. (If you don’t have enough bean cooking liquid, add water to equal 2½ cups.) Do not wash out Dutch oven.
  • 3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1½ minutes. Shake strainer vigorously to remove all excess water; set rice aside. Cut remaining peppers and onion into 2-inch pieces and process in food processor until broken into rough ¼-inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary; set vegetables aside.
  • 4. In now-empty Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil and salt pork over medium-low heat; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and rendered, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon oil, chopped peppers and onion, oregano, and cumin. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat, about 30 seconds.
  • 5. Stir in beans, reserved bean cooking liquid, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork and let rest, uncovered, 5 minutes. Serve, passing scallion and lime wedges separately.

    Tonight I am signing out early as I have to get up at the ass crack of dawn.  Tomorrow is the 10 miler.  I am VERY nervous but excited to move another challenge to my "done" list.  I will post pics after the race.  I am NOT concerned with time... my only goals are to jog the whole thing and to have fun.  I don't care if I'm LAST... I really don't.  Got my gear ready and fingers crossed!

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