Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year!!

I don't do resolutions, so don't expect to see a post about them here. You'll have to move on to someone else's blog for that.

Here's an update on the ongoing drama that is my life. First, Paul loves his new job. It's working out great. Benefits start after only one month on the job. I see new glasses, dental work, and routine medical stuff on our horizon, finally. I can find out how to handle the health issues that have kept me from working the past few years. I am going to have to find the "dreaded day job", as artistic types call the money work that puts a roof over their heads and food on the table so they can devote some time to their art. It's just too expensive here in CA to rent a place on one average income.

I hope to finally get a notebook computer sometime this year. I'm doing some part-time work from home for a friend. It's not a lot of money, but if I save it up, I should have enough for the machine I want before the year is up. And when I get that regular job, I can add some of that money to the PT income.

I'm still walking. I was up to 3 miles on the track. After Paul started his job, I started walking to a local shopping center for coffee. It's about 3-1/2 miles, total. It surprised me how easy the walk is. I'm thinking about walking a different direction to a coffe place that's 2 miles, one way. At least while I'm not working and have the time to do it. I don't know what my current weight loss is or my blood pressure. I started walking mainly hoping to lower the blood pressure, so we'll see, come February, whether I succeeded in that. The last time I was on a scale, which was a few weeks ago, I'd lost 33 pounds. Not bad for a person who wasn't trying to lose weight. I used Christmas gift money for much-needed new clothes. 4 sizes smaller. I'm happy with that and, while it would be great to keep losing, I'd be fine with maintaining for a while.

I didn't post for the last couple of weeks because of the super busy holidays. We had the regular stuff everyone does, plus four choirs between us to do rehearsals and concerts and stuff. It was great!! Then it was kind of a letdown because they all took a break. We needed the break, but I still missed it. It's all starting back up again this week and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to be singing in three groups this spring. The music looks like it will be challenging and fun.

Last, a recipe, sort of, to start the new year with. It's not a recipe as much as a technique. I've been experimenting with braising these days because all the cheap cuts of meat need long, slow cooking to be tender. And that's what's been on sale. I'm looking for really simple stuff, so I started experimenting with that pot roast recipe I posted a while back.

I got a large pork shoulder roast on sale a couple of weeks ago. I had them cut it into two smaller roasts. I decided to try to do one like Pork Carnitas and the other like BBQ Pulled Pork. So, I kept the idea of putting the roast on a bed of sliced onion and cooking it at 400ยบ F. I added one large can of enchilada sauce for the Carnitas and two regular-sized bottles of BBQ sauce for the Pulled Pork. Next time, I think I need to double the amount of enchilada sauce so there will be enough to spoon on the filled tortillas.

I cooked them on two different days using the same technique. I put them in for an hour. Then I turned the roast and spooned sauce over the top. I cooked them for another hour, turned and spooned sauce over. I stirred the sauce in the pan, too, so it wouldn't be as likely to burn. The last couple of hours, I did the turning, spooning, and stirring every half hour. Because I wanted shredded meat, I cooked them for a full four hours. If I'd wanted to slice it, I'd have only cooked them for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

To serve them, I used two forks to shred the meat. I put beans and cooked rice in the enchilada-flavored pork, but next time, I'm serving the rice separately. I thought the rice flavor covered up the pork flavor too much. I served the enchilada filling in whole wheat tortillas. I made sandwiches out of the BBQ Pulled Pork, using ciabatta rolls, rather than softer hoagy rolls. The BBQ sauce really soaks into the bread, so you need a hard roll or it will get soggy and hard to eat.

Both were excellent and better left over, as long-cooked dishes often are. Both of these are wonderful winter dishes. The oven keeps the kitchen toasty warm while you cook dinner. Mangia!!