I ate too much afternoon cheap candy, so now I’m tired. I make my own problems around here.
It’s my fifth Torontoversary and, while it’d make sense to espouse the city’s virtues, I don’t much feel like doing that at the moment. Doug Ford is butting his butthead into the city’s face and the resulting civic pink eye is making me feel less and less charitable by the day towards what’s become my home. I’m not happy that they’re trying to cut the city council in half to “save costs” (and also limit availibility of the remaining overwhelmed councillors). Of course Ford wants a smaller council that’s easier to bribe. Most of Toronto didn’t vote for the slimy shitstain, so what business does he have shredding our representation? I’m incredibly unhappy that he’s halting the Universal Basic Income pilot project, which could’ve served as valuable research for not only the province, but the world. I’m not surprised at this bullish, callous, short sighted behaviour from a brute/bully of the Ford lineage. It comes with the territory.
So instead of zeroing in on the machinations of someone who may come to make me hate the city I love, I want to talk about something I cherish: Food. I adore food. Next to words, food is my second favourite thing. This morning I read an article about Wagyu Beef. It was delightful. Aside from being outlandishly silly and humourously slanted, it also made me irresistably lustful for expensive meats. My mouth literally started watering as he wrote of the complex marbling and laden soft fat content. It affected me so much I frantically began shoving vegemite covered soda crackers into my urging maw to achieve some modicum of umami. Had a cow been within arm’s reach I would’ve bit it, fur and all.
A $250 steak is an unbelievable steak, the quality of which I’ve never experienced. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle food that rich. Of course I could literally digest it, but while I eat food a lot, it’s mostly not fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I love well cooked and expensive food. I treasure fine cuisine in the way many would a fragile newborn, squishy fontanel and all. Ordinarily I treat my mouth with all the delicacy of a woodchipper. I scoff food like I’ve been starved for months. I’ll gorge myself with no concern for posterity. When it comes to fancy dishes, every bite counts. I’ll fall back to a snail’s pace and focus on every little morsel. The texture, taste and cornucopia of flavours. It’s an enriching experience every time and, happens so rarely, that I doubt this will change. Expertly prepared dishes, for me, likely produce the same notions of divinity that church do for religious folk. I ascend as Scooby post Scooby Snack, gently floating back to earth as the lingering aftertaste gently dissipates. Goddamn I could go for a great steak right about now. Why don’t we have an office cow, goddammit?
We don’t have an office cow or even a home cow. My girlfriend and I do, however, have an instant pot. I hate to shill unnecessarily, but the product has been a level up for quality food with minimal effort. Look, it has a ton of functions. We use very few of them. We’re not gonna be making yoghurt or porridge in it any time soon. I doubt bone broth or rehydrating beans is high on our priority list. We’re basically using it as a fast slow cooker/quick all-in-one device that’s batting damn near 100. The only issues so far have been user error and their forfeits have been barely noticable. For all I know, a pressure cooker was good enough and the instant pot aspect of it is irrelevant. I’m not sure that, aside from steamed greens and fried eggs, we’ve cooked anything on the stove since we got it.
Instant pot recipes are everywhere. I’d say the only real downside to owning an instant pot is that we’re getting carpal tunnel from scrolling through the unnecessary preamble in these mommy blog recipes. Outside of that, it’s bliss. Most every recipe is some combination of cut shit up, put it in, seal it and you’ll have dinner plus eight leftover meals in an hour. Take last night’s pork shoulder. We’d bought shoulder because it was $4.30 for a 1.3 kilo chunk and we thought it was like every other pork roast. We had no idea that pork shoulder, because of its fatty content, is meant to be slow cooked for 4-8 hours until it breaks down to carnitas or something pulled. When it comes to dinner, we’re lazy as fuck. We don’t have that kind of time. Dinner for us is looking at what we have in the freezer, defrosting it in the microwave then throwing it on the stove or in the oven and praying we don’t contract salmonella. Sometimes if we’re feeling fancy we’ll defrost meat in the sink. We’re classy like that occasionally.
Last night’s pork shoulder went something like this: My girlfriend put the shoulder in the sink to defrost in the afternoon. I came home and cut it into three chunks. I rubbed seasoning into it. I mixed two tablespoons of soy sauce and brown sugar into a cup of chicken stock. I crushed some garlic and cut an onion. I turned the instant pot onto sauté and seared each side of the pork quickly. Then I threw everything into the pot, sealed it and turned it on for 90 minutes. I let the steam vent for ten minutes, then pulled out the pork. By this point it was practically falling apart on its own. I added some cornstarch and brown sugar to the liquid still in the pot and sauteéd it on high for the next half hour, stirring occasionally. I pulled the pork with two forks while I waited. So just over two hours for maybe eight portions of gorgeously pulled pork, slathered with rich gravy. An hour and a half of that time was just me watching Preacher on my computer. It’s unreal how easy it was, and the high quality of the end result.
Fuck I can’t wait to get home and eat some. Happy Torontoversary to me.