Cooking until your spouse cries “Stop!”

Okay, he didn’t really yell “Stop!” He’s generally not the type to ever tell me what to do, but he did say I should “maybe ease up.” Seriously, we had the conversation you normally have with someone who’s partying too much or something. This was because I recently went on one of my biggest cooking binges yet. For about 2 weeks straight, I was cooking something, usually multiple things, every day. I found myself having to freeze food just to make room in the refrigerator for the next thing I decided to make. Currently, my refrigerator is stuffed completely.

I won’t go into everything I made as I’m pretty sure I cannot even remember everything, but there were some experiments I really enjoyed and learned from. I made yogurt using my instapot. I own the Instapot Duo, and so it does not have a yogurt button. However, after reading some other people’s experiences, I tried it out. I used the saute function to heat the milk. I used store bought yogurt as my base, as I already had some in the refrigerator and it had live cultures. Some people online were putting theirs into individual jars and then fermenting. I just left the whole batch in my pot. I was concerned about enough heat staying in if I used some of the methods I saw online, which mostly involved shutting the lid with the heated mixture and bundling it in towels. I ended up turning my warmer function on and setting it at 110 degrees. In the end, I have yogurt and it tastes pretty good. However, I have made an attempt to turn it into frozen yogurt, so we’ll see how that comes out.

I generally like to smoke pork, but I decided to see what my instapot could with a pork butt. After marinating it in a brine made with apple cider vinegar, water, molasses, and herbs de provence, I rubbed it with more herbs de province. I then seared it using the saute setting and then pressure cooked it for 90 minutes (15 min per pound). Then I broiled it using air fryer lid for another 5 minutes to get a nice browning on the top. It was a very tender, juicy pulled pork, and I made a hearty gravy from the drippings/liquid in the pot when it was done, using the saute function again. I’m going to experiment with a pork pot pie using the leftovers.

There was also baking. This was in part due to the fact that our heat went out for about 36 hours on the one of the coldest days this winter. I made a pumpkin pie, which I need to find out if was good from my neighbors, as I took the whole thing to them. I experimented with making my morning glory muffins in loaf form. It is just as good, but I would say cutting it into two smaller loafs would be better, as the slices are a bit too hefty and break in half easily when being transferred to a plate.

I made a cheese souffle. It was my first souffle ever. I don’t even think I’ve ever eaten one, much less made one. And it came out beautiful! I did purchase the bagette to eat with it, so I cheated a bit. I was weird and served it with shrimp de jong, which I could definitely improve on as well, but it was Valentine’s Day, and it was an old recipe my husband has loved since he was a kid.

My arrochini balls need a little work. I made just a plain white wine risotto, but I made my own ricotta cheese and mixed it with frozen cooked spinach. I then used classic panko Italian bread crumbs. I then fried them in the instapot air fryer. We topped them with a basic marinara sauce and some grated parmesan. I want to work on increasing the filling to rice ratio, and I want to punch up the filling. I think adding some salt, parmesan and egg to the filling mixture might punch it up. I also would try using plain breadcrumbs (available in plastic containers from my local grocer Harvest Time) and spicing them myself.

Trust me when I say this is just a sampling of the things I made. And we hadn’t even finished the various soups or the bieroks I’d made just prior to starting all these experiments. Somewhere in there, I even managed to air fry some chicken. It was a crazy spree, but a lot of good food and so much fun. However, for the last 5 days, I have been concentrating on finding ways to be creative with the things in the refrigerator so I don’t end up with a massive food waste problem!

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