It’s just like crockpot Italian beef, only faster. I’m liking my Instapot cooker more and more. It’s the only way I make stock these days – just pile in the bones and odds and ends of celery and carrots and what-not with water and give it an hour on the timer and you’re golden.
Anyway back to the beef – sear a good chunk of that on sale chuck or what have you, cover it with some of your stock, add a couple of coarsely chopped onions, a handful of garlic, Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley), and a jar of pickled pepperoncini. The peppers are not as important as the juice. You can add some red pepper flake to spice it up. I set the timer for 75 minutes – it was easily shreddable when done,I baked some rolls to go with the beef. I’ve been using the reliable KA bun recipe for several years now. My hamburger buns usually turn out better looking than these hoagie type rolls but I’m working on that.Bonus Bea pic!
Ribeye is the canonical cheesesteak meat but I nearly always use flat iron steaks. This one was cut thin while semi-frozen and tossed in a bowl with onions, green peppers, and salt and pepper. It marinated for an hour or so – the onions started to wilt a little.That’s provolone starting to melt into the steak and veggies. I turned small stainless bowls upside down over the two piles to help it along.It worked pretty well. This is the closest I’ve come to this particular style of cheesesteak, I usually go with a cheese sauce poured over the meat in the bun, and I think I prefer that method although it is just a touch more trouble.
Breakfast pr0n! Not what we had for breakfast, actually. More a breakfast for lunch. I don’t eat breakfast and Mrs J contents herself with a bagel but we both love waffles. The bacon is thin sliced porchetta.I didn’t dump all the patio herbs, I wanted to see if they would come back in the spring. The chives are doing great but the sage next to it still looks dead. The bare twigs at the far right are rosemary that I am still hoping will show new growth but nothing yet.The front gardens are just barely showing some color – the scilla can be counted on for a touch of early blue. The day lilies are greening, as are the daffodils and sedum.More meatballs! I made several, there are two left. Not enough for a proper sammich but I guess I can do a couple of meatball sliders.These were out for a last rise before baking. I busied myself about making that breakfast-for-lunch while they were out and they really puffed up before I could get them into the oven.Here’s Ollie, watching me compose this post. He’s already made himself at home. He is fitting in rather well with no apparent animosities developing with any of the other cats.One of the shelter cats. The eyes in the original picture were highlighted by a stray beam that prompted me to play that up with a few tweaks.
I was hoping this pork shoulder would really take on a lot of the flavor of this mojo marinade when I vacuum sealed it in this pleated bag. Alas, the bag was a poor choice as it turned out.It looked good here, but it was just getting started. I set the temp at 175 and let it run all night. Alas, the bag developed a leak, I fault the high temp and the fact that the pleated bag meant that the sealer had to heat through 4 layers for a seal. I don’t know if a regular bag will hold but I am unlikely to test it at that temperature again. Maybe 160-165.At any rate the internal temp made it only to 165 and needed a boost if I was going to be able to pull it apart. I gave it a rub with my generic mixture and put it into a 400 oven for an hour and some.That worked very well, I didn’t wait for it to cool enough for a thorough pulling, instead chopping the big pieces up in a different pan with that heavy spatula/scraper.While the shoulder was in the oven these buns were prepared for baking and they went into the already hot oven as the meat was being choppedAll in all, the sous vide fiasco was disappointing but the shoulder wasn’t totally ruined. I was hoping to use the pork in a mostly authentic Cuban sammich. I’ve been told that the mojo pork is key for those. Sad!
I think ten is the sweet spot when baking the King Arthur bun recipe, not too big, not too small.Just the right size!Made some tuna salad today, we’ve been giving that bread slicing gadget a workout. Tuna salad on toast is another good way to use the tomatoes we have coming on strong. Probably going to boil down some more juice soon.We are starting to grow fond of leaf lettuce on sammiches, it doesn’t have the same crunch as iceberg but it does lay nice and flat and uniform.Gabe goes from 90 miles per hour to naptime in about 6 seconds flat.I have a better photo of the eggs in that nest I first posted about a week ago. We tried to get a video of the little bird flying from the nest but failed to get anything useful. I did get a little better look at the bird but just confirmed that it was a wee brown birdie. It might be a house finch but a tip from a commenter over at Balloon Juice pointed me toward the Chipping Sparrow – the wings of our bird are darker than the belly.Here’s another cold cuts and cheese sammich with a few sides.I’ll wrap with a picture from the archive. I’m tickled by the balancing act this dragonfly is putting on, and I think the colors are pretty.
My bun-fu is improving! It helped that I went with 12 instead of 16 like the last batch. I went with a different forming method after watching a few Youtubes to get a better idea of how to proceed. I rolled the dough flat in a roughly 6″ x 4″ rectangle, and then folded it like I was folding a letter to go into an envelope – top third down, bottom third up and over that. Pinch the seam and ends and lay them on the tray with a bout a 1/2″ gap between so they rise to touch.We grew mint is this pot last year, and left it out all winter. It lasted a long time before the cold weather burnt everything above dirt level. We noticed new growth so I gave it a haircut the other day. Mint is tough, we had mint growing wild in Mrs J’s flower garden and it took several years to eradicate. Last year she told me to plant that nursery seedling as far away from her dirt as I could.Kimchi! There is a Chinese buffet that we hit whenever we are close during meal time that has kimchi on their line. I usually get some, I like it a lot. I’ve made it before and had good luck but I made so much it was really getting sour before I could eat it all. Mrs J refused to help. This is one head of Napa cabbage, plus the carrots, daikon radish, and the rest. I adapted this recipe.I left it overnight, covered, in the big bowl on a counter to give the fermentation a start and then put it all in this gallon jar to finish in the fridge in the basement.
Random wildlife! This is a young buck that has dropped one of its antlers. They are shed every year but it’s rare to find them in the woods – they are quickly gnawed down by little woodland critters.One more – at first glance I thought that the bird standing behind the deer was a crow but a second look showed it to be a hawk:I’m no expert on bird ID but I think this may be a juvenile red shouldered hawk. I don’t know for sure why it is standing there at the pond but we often see wood ducks right there, either in the water or ashore looking for the corn Mrs J leaves down there.
I used the King Arthur bun recipe for these, the recipe is great but my bun-fu is still weak. I have another batch working right now, I’ll do it divided 12 ways rather than 16, most of the buns in this first batch are a bit skinny but I did manage to find a few that were just right.