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Pot Roast in an Instant Pot

So, when we downsized from our house in South Tampa to Channelside (another story for another post), we purged a LOT of things.  A couple of the things that I got rid of were the crock pot and the pressure cooker.  Each of those things I used a few times each month of so.  As we did not have a lot of room to store things, they did not make the cut for necessary things.  However, now that we have lived here for about 9 months, I really miss both of those things.    So, we have been looking at getting a crock pot, and stumbled across the Instant Pot.  At risk of this sounding like an advertisement, we love this thing!  It is a combination pressure cooker and crock pot.  IMG_3324

IMG_3310So, the first thing that I decided to make was a pot roast.  I took some  carrots, onions and potatoes and roughly chopped them.  As the pot has a metal insert, not a ceramic one, it can be used to brown the ingredients…

Like the roast…  IMG_3313IMG_3314

 

 

 

 

 

and the carrots and onions….

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IMG_3325So, add some salt and pepper, put the roast back in, and cover the roast with the potatoes, carrots and onions, pour a couple of cups of stock over it all, and your ready to go.

50 minutes later with the pressure cooker, you have pot roast!

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Pulled Pork with Root Beer Sauce

Bring meat to a Super Bowl party and everyone will love you for it.  Bring good pulled pork and you won’t have to worry about brining leftovers home because it will gone before the 3rd quarter!  This dish served as a nice break from all the chips, dip, bad interceptions, turnovers and snack foods.

Side note:  I love this recipe because it allowed me time to recover from a party I attended the previous day while the meat cooked in the crock pot.

I wish I have a good picture for this recipe but it was blurry and not good enough to include!

This is a modified version of a recipe by Better Homes and Garden.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3 lbs pork sirloin roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • tablespoon cooking oil
  • medium onions, cut in thin wedges
  • cup root beer (DO NOT USE DIET)
  • tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 large cloves)

Sauce

  • cups root beer (four 12-ounce bottles or cans)
  • 2  (12oz) bottled chili sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 8 -10 hamburger buns, split (toasted, if desired)
  1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut roast to fit into a 3-1/2- to 5-quart crockery cooker.  Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes. In a large skillet sear meat to a nice brown on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Transfer meat to cooker. Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic.IMG_6061_2
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.  Most modern slow-cookers run hotter and will actually take only 6-7 hours on low.
  3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a large saucepan combine the 6 cups of root beer and the chili sauce and ground red pepper (if desired). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 1hour or until mixture is reduced to 4 cups.
  4. Transfer roast to a cutting board or serving platter. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds.  Using a sieve, remove onions and garlic from cooking juices and discard.  Mix the juices and set aside 1/4 C of juice, discard the rest. Wipe the edges of the crockery.
  5. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds and place the meat back in the crockpot. Add 2 cups of root beer sauce and the 1/4 C of juice.  Mix the meat, juice and sauce with a pair of tongs, cover and leave the crockpot on warm or low to keep the meat hot.
  6. Place the left over 2 cups of sauce on a small bowl.  Serve pulled pork on the buns and drizzle with extra sauce if desired.Makes 8- 10 servings.

Note:

  • You can make half of the sauce recipe, mix it in with the meat, and omit the extra sauce altogether, but who doesn’t love extra sauce?
  • You can make the sauce quicker by dividing it in two and placing the sauce in two  12 inch skillets with decent sized walls.  If you do this, you can divide the time in half to 30 minutes).

Farmers Cheese

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

I have been interested in making cheese for a little while now after visiting a farmer’s market in Saint Paul, MN a few years ago.  This dairy farmer was selling his cheeses and I was intrigued about making it.  Now, a few years later, and I found myself with a few days off and time to spare, so I decided to try my hand at making cheese.  I did not want to use rennet (I have not been able to find it locally, and when the urge to make something strikes I generally do not have time to order online…), so I researched rennet free cheese.  In farmers cheese, you use lemon juice to cause the milk to curdle.

So you basically take a gallon of whole milk (Skim milk just gives you less curds, and who likes skim milk anyway, except for frothing for lattes) and bring it to 190 degrees (medium heat), stirring to keep from burning.

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

At this point you  pull the pot off of the heat and pour in the juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup), stir this in and leave it alone for 10 minutes.  Seriously, just leave it alone!  I decided that I wanted to have a bit more taste, so I added fresh rosemary leaves at this point.  You pour this into a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and allow it to strain all of the whey out.  After most of the whey has drained off, you can gather the cheese cloth together and squeeze the rest out.

At this point, you are left with just curds, which can be salted and kneaded to mix.

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

I was concerned about there being too much salt, so held back to just a pinch.  However, when I served it, I had to salt it to bring out the flavor.  This was really good on crackers.  I would not suggest using anything sweet with this, as it does not have enough “tang” to counteract the sweetness, but it complements salty items very nicely!

A tip:

Do not use “ultra pasteurized” anything.  This prevents any curds from forming and you will just have wasted a gallon of milk and a lemon.

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Wasting Lemons is sad

 

When I find non-ultrapasteurized goats milk, I will make something with that!  If so, I will keep you updated.

 

Preserved Lemons

So I am trying something that I have been leery of in the past – preserving lemons. IMG_0001_2 There is a very funny article at jenmenke.com that explains my trepidation with making these. However, I had a bunch of Meyer lemons languishing in the refrigerator, a box of kosher salt, and a few days off from work.  To me that equals experimentation day.

1/20/15

So, I scrubbed the lemons and removed the last bit of the stem that was left on each.  IMG_0003I then put a couple of handfuls of salt in the bottom of my current favorite canning jar.  Then I Took each lemon and cut it into quarters, but not cutting all the way through, leaving it to open up into connected quarters.  Sprinkling salt into the quarters, I pressed them as best I could into the jar, compacting them as I went.  I also added salt to each layer of lemons that I placed into the jar.   I was surprised at how many fit into the jar!IMG_0004I am, apparently, supposed to leave these on my countertop for 7-ish days then keep them indefinitely in the refrigerator.  We will see!  I will post updates as myIMG_0007_2 experiment goes on.