The Super Bowl is on TV.  I hate to admit it but I’m really not all that interested this year.  I’m not home for the first time in forever.  We used to fly home for my father’s birthday – which just happened to coincide with Super Bowl Sunday.  A big party at my sister Eileen’s house, lots of fun, food, laughter – and football pools.  No matter what, it was the one time of the year we knew we would all be together.   Pop’s no longer with us and because we’re flying home in a couple of months for my nieces wedding, we stayed east this year.  Right off the bat, I’m feeling the blah’s.

And there are two teams playing that I really could not care less about.  Okay.  Not totally true.  I don’t particularly want New Orleans to win, but I do want Indianapolis to lose.  I opened a hotel in Indianapolis circa 1988.  I pretty much dislike Indianapolis.  A lot.

So while others are having their football parties, I’m catching it peripherally.  It’s on in the corner of the computer and it’s on in the living room.

I decided to cook for the weather, not football tonight.  I soaked a pound of black  beans last night thinking I might make chili.  The chili morphed into a cassoulet of sorts.  Not a classic cassoulet by any means.  More just a homey slow-baked bean stew.

Kinda Cassoulet

  • 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb beef, cubed
  • 1 lb pork, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp herbs d’Provence
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 lb black beans, soaked over night and cooked
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Cook bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot until wilted. Add onions and garlic. Add meats and brown.

Add brandy and simmer until almost evaporated. Add tomato paste and heat through. Stir in beans with about 2 cups cooking liquid, tomatoes with juices, and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil.

Cover pot and transfer to preheated oven and bake 2 hours.

I was going to make some beer bread but  got sidetracked with a project I’m working on for a friend… so we had the last of the Pugliese I made last week.  It worked.

And every dinner needs dessert, right?!?  Well… we think so!

Victor made an Apple and Fig Coffee Cake.  Not a coffee cake in the traditional sense of the word, but a cake with a cup of coffee in it!

Apple Fig Coffee Cake

  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped figs
  • 2 medium apples
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Dissolve coffee in boiling water. Cool. Peel, core, and shred the apples.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Combine egg, apples, melted butter, and coffee. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just till moistened.

Put it into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 350°  for about an hour or until cake tests done.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

I did stop what I was doing to watch The Who.  Roger can’t hit those high notes anymore, but he does a pretty good job for being 66.  I was bummed that Pete Townsend didn’t destroy his guitar at the end.  Oh well.

And as long as I’m ranting… Wasn’t the Super Bowl – once upon a time – where they ran really cool, innovative commercials?  These things they’ve shown tonight are awful.