Since my employer is having some difficulty, and I'm fighting off a cold, I decided it was time for some home remedies. My office is still working in spite of the shutdown, it just means we won't get paid 'til it's over. So that's awesome. It also means that I can't really take sick (or any other) leave: our choice is to go to work or request to be furloughed for the duration. This has been tempting, I admit, but aside from the political capital I'd burn at the office, it would also mean I'd be subject to Congress' largesse in terms of getting paid. At least now it's a question of when, not if.
Meanwhile, I've been really enjoying the Binging with Babish YouTube channel. It's a really well-put-together cooking show, with the theme usually being foods that appear in TV or movies. What got me hooked on this one is both the quality of the presentation and that he walks through even complicated things in a way that makes them seem simple. I haven't tried, say, puff pastry from scratch, but it seems doable after watching his video on Beef Wellington. He's since begun another "series" or whatever you want to call it, this one called Basics with Babish, that deals with more general things. So, for example, he has episodes on steak, cooking a chicken, that kind of thing. Then recently he did one on making your own chicken stock, along with chicken noodle soup.
So yesterday we put some more veggies and a pack of chicken wings on the shopping list. Then it was just a matter of breaking out a big pot, some lovely winter tunes, and get to cooking. The house smelled like dill and onion-related things for most of the day, and it was lovely.
We'll be making the soup part once the family's home from the park. After my taste test yesterday, I do think this stuff is going to be really good. It's nowhere close as cheap as buying it from the store, of course, but these things never are. Still, it's been a fun little project, and it actually makes a pretty good amount of stock for the price. The most expensive thing by far were the chicken wings (about $6), and then veggies (which are used in both the stock and the soup) were a few more. Herbs can be a tad pricey too, but all-in-all I didn't notice a particular increase in our grocery bill if we'd made some other meal instead of this.
I think I need to find a way to make this a cold-weather tradition.
That Basics With Babish sounds like a good one. I'm gonna watch that. Most cooking shows are just pretty eye-candy for my wife and I, because she is diet-restricted... no wheat, little dairy, no meats except for chicken and turkey... so cooking shows are pretty, but rarely practical for us. (I actually have my "sushi girlfriend" - with full permission of my wife, of course - who I go on "dates" with when I want to get sushi, and my wife makes other plans for dinner.)
This month, due to my Keto Diet, I am eating way more red meat, so my wife and I are generally standing next to each other in the kitchen... making completely separate meals.
On Sunday I attempted my first ever Pot Roast. And I did it in my Instant Pot. Due to Keto I had to get creative with the veggies (root veggies like potatoes are high-carb, so definitely a diet no-no), but wound up with a great, rich beef stew.
Browned the pot roast on all six sides in an iron skillet. Deglazed the pan afterwards with 2 cups of beef stock and chopped onions and garlic. Then put the roast and liquid into the Instant Pot for 30 mins on High Pressure.
After 30 mins, I de-pressurized the Instant Pot, added chopped veggies (more onion and garlic, celery, carrots, chopped bell peppers, and spices), and did another 30 minutes on High Pressure.
In the end, the roast was a little more done than I prefer. A little dry. Next time I'll do the second phase for 10-15 mins, maybe, since all I am doing at that point is making stew with the meat's juices.
So I shredded the meat with two forks, added it back to the stock/stew, and have a WONDERFUL beef stew that fits well into my diet.
NOM NOM NOM.