I want to say that this was a productive weekend, but it was more of a "rainy, stay-indoors" weekend. We managed to get out for a few hours on Saturday to take in the snake dens up at Narcisse. If I get around to processing my pictures from that I will post more of them here.
The last time we went there, only a few others braved the long drive to check out the phenomenon. This weekend, it appears that half of the city decided that it would make a nice weekend outing, and the dens were completely overrun. We arrived to find the parking lot full, with cars slowly circling for available spots, and others simply pulling off to park wherever they could find flat ground. atara was driving, and she decided to do a circuit of the lot before deciding if we should give up and park in the entryway, or even along the highway. On our first pass, we pulled up just after a car pulled out of the spot closest to the start of the trail. Sometimes luck actually smiles on us.
When we arrived, nobody had resorted to parking along the highway yet. As we were leaving, the line of cars parked along the side of the highway stretched at least a Kilometre, and a steady stream of new cars were pulling up to park as we drove past. I'm sure a few probably kicked themselves by the time they made the long trek to the parking lot and discovered that it was almost 1/4 empty by that point. It's funny how these things are self-feeding. The line on the highway started because the lot was full, but the line continued to grow because people saw it and assumed the lot was full. On the other hand, the lot was clearing out quickly because people were parking on the highway rather than in the lot.
It is not like a bit of extra exercise hurt anybody too badly.
I made another batch of black bean brownies on the weekend, and these turned out the best of any I have made to date. I have tweaked the recipe with each batch, trying to improve on things that did not work the way that I liked in the previous batch. The last batch was a little dry, partly because I overcooked them, but I thought they could use a little more liquid as well. I made four changes this time around.
First, I drained the beans but did not wash them, simply adding the balance of the bean juice to the brownie mix. Secondly, in spite of the recipe telling me not to, I added about a third of the chocolate chips to the food processor and pulverized them into the mix before stirring in the rest. Finally, I tasted it before it went into the pan, and adjusted the ingredients on the fly. I decided that it was a bit too savoury with the addition of the bean liquid, so I added the last of our liquid honey (about 2 tbsp). My thinking was that it would help offset the dryness of the previous batch, and add a touch of needed sweetness.
I am very pleased with the results.
This weekend also seemed like a good time to cook up a few work lunches. I bought one of those family-sized cans of baked beans when we were shopping last night, along with a package of all-beef wieners, and a large onion. There is an old family recipe that I have carried down with me over the years for making beans. Well, it's more like a framework than a recipe, but the idea is the same. The original recipe did not call for the addition of sliced mushrooms, and fresh hot peppers, but I felt that I needed to add my on touch to the mix.
My brother invented the original recipe back in the 70s, and I am sure that it is probably an acquired taste. Other than being high in fibre, I cannot think of too many things that are especially healthy about this recipe, so I don't make it very often any more. Still, it is the taste of comfort food to me. It brings back fond memories of standing over a warm stove on a cold, blustery January day, listening to sound of sliced wieners and onions sizzling in a pot blending with the patter of rain hammering on the window.
It recalls happy times of being in a climate that was not actively out to kill me for five months of the year.