Barrel & Beans

BarrelThe oak barrel from France finally arrived and is stashed down safely in the basement (but not before the cats got to inspect it and approve of it of course!). One less thing to worry about!

I discarded the original plan of brewing some beers in it before using it for its main purpose of fermenting tobacco because I don’t want to risk anything with the first batch of smoke-leafs – After having studied everything a little more carefully it seems complicated to keep it germ-free after there have been non-water liquids in the barrel. Maybe next year? My main focus when it comes to brewing stuff at home will be rice lagers, but more on that another time.

The tobacco has been growing great and I filmed them and put one video up on twitter and another on Instagram, for the curious. I’ve been starting to harden the first wave of 96 plants in preparation for moving them outside. A bit earlier than expected but the weather is preliminary looking awesome and I’m crossing my fingers it will go okay.

As companions for the tobacco plants, I’ve started Marigolds (this were started a while back) and beans. The flowers as security against bad insects and the beans as (hopeful) nitrogen fixers so the nutrient thirsty tobacco plants get some backup help. I’m hoping the marigolds will be in full bloom in under 3 weeks, adding a nice bright yellow color to the deck. It’s my first-time companion planting stuff this seriously so I hope there’s some lessons to learn in that department. Obviously, the beans are not food when they grow together with tobacco, I think the nicotine is contagious to its neighbors.

beans balcone
Left: I grew too many bean plants and had to put some as decorative plants for outside. Right: Marigold, about 20 days to flowering.

Speaking of beans, I picked up some black bean pasta when I was at the store to try it out and I wasn’t impressed one bit. They smelled a bit like wet dog when finished, hade a glue-past like consistency and taste.

I tried to salt and olive oil the pasta to see if it helped, but it really didn’t. At all. Looking

black beans pasta
Black Bean pasta: Looks awesome, tastes awful.

at the ingredient list and researching how bean pasta is made. It is surprisingly simple to make the flour as it turns out, basically; wet the beans, oven-dry the beans, blend them into powder. So, there has to be some way to make the black bean pasta tastier – Because black pasta looks badass and I want to eat it.

I’ll ask Mike over at The Stateless Cook for advice on the matter.

Have a terrific week!

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