mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Instant Pot

down the learning curve . . .

2nd time around. . .

2nd time around. . .

You know how frustrating it is and full of obstacles the first time you go somewhere and don’t know how to get there? Or trying out new equipment that doesn’t turn ON even though it seems like it should be a piece of cake by just pushing a button? Well, if you’ve been reading my posts about making bone broth, you’ll be able to see in this post that it’s all downhill the learning curve from here! YAY!

First of all, I got to take my first precious cargo of bone broth out of the freezer this morning and to my relief, the fat had all risen to the top and congealed into a waxy pod that was easily removed by sliding a knife around the container. Next, I was glad to see that underneath it, the broth was gelatinous just the way it’s supposed to be in order to be healthy. Finally, I warmed some up and drank it in the nice cup that C. gave me a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t as bland as I had feared and the taste was satisfying. I plan to have it when the spirit moves me throughout the day with a light supper tonight. That’s less than 500 calories which meets the quota to count as a mini-fasting day.

Then, I got the idea of doing fasting with the bone broth more often than twice a week. How about semi-fasting most days at breakfast and lunch, then eating a light high-protein supper with a salad or small serving of vegetables? Sound good? It did to me.

So I took out 3 lbs. of marrow bones and beef ribs from the learning-curve-1freezer this morning and put them into a big pan to roast for an hour and ten minutes at 425 degrees. Afterwards, I’ll cut up the carrots, celery, onion and start up the Instant Pot to 75 minutes.

When it’s done, I’ll have three more containers of rich bone broth to cool and put into the freezer. One difference I noticed is that yesterday, I manually vented the steam early since I was anxious to look at the broth. Today, I let it “cool down” on its own and the heating part went on for another hour. Lo and behold when I opened it up, strained the broth and poured it into the containers, it was much darker than the batch yesterday. Richer looking. I don’t know if the extra gestating time had to do with that but I’ll know more when I compare the taste too. In any case, I’m going to follow the slower regimen that I did today – and see how the next beef broth batch comes out. I also harvested all the cooked marrow and beef bits although I don’t have any idea what to do with it besides chucking it into the freezer and figuring it out later.

Then, I’ll be able to experiment with a) how hungry I feel; b) whether my body wants solid food or not; and c) how to balance the two out as the days go on the remainder of the week. If it feels manageable, I think I’ll try out the semi-fasting with bone broth for two meals awhile and see whether it makes an impact by Thanksgiving (about 11 weeks from now.) (This morning, I ate a few tamari almonds to slake any boredom that might hit with just the bone broth.)

It’s so interesting (to me at least) to observe and learn something new like this with new equipment to boot. The true “reveal” will occur when I see what this does to make me feel healthier and to lose some weight. Fingers crossed and results to come!

 

additional bone broth notes . . .

bone broth . . .

bone broth . . .

Okay, so I just opened up the Instant Pot and peered into the soup to see if it was cooked sufficiently. The beef was falling off the bone so I am now able to confirm that 75 minutes pressure cooked is long enough. There was a layer of fat on top when I took this photo.

I then began to rummage around the stock to see how the bones fared. And it suddenly struck me that bone marrow – such an English delicacy that antique marrow spoons were made to enjoy it – was still left in the bones! So I fished them all out and decided to harvest the beef and the marrow before discarding the bones. Unlike some broths made on the stove – like chicken – the beef was tender and not tough, and also still had some taste. I’m going to think about what to do with the harvested marrow and beef later on – and will freeze them for now.bone-broth-2

After the broth cools enough for me to pour it through a sieve, I’ll then divide it into quart soup containers and put them in the freezer – the fat should rise to the top to be skimmed off before heating it up and drinking it on my first mini-fast day. Cheers!

Postscript: Just realized that with all the hoopla and marketing for this “21-day diet that will change your life by mini-fasting 2X a week on homemade bone broth” that it’s ONLY SIX TIMES that one is drinking bone broth instead of eating during those three weeks!

So depending upon how much each serving you drink, 6 X a day, you’ll probably be making bone broth 3-4 times altogether. After the 21 day diet, I do plan to continue with more beef bones/ribs that I have in the freezer. Just wanted to give readers some sense of scale of this whole thing.

The biggest lesson learned of all that I experienced with all this activity is that the Instant Pot is an absolutely great cooking machine, once I figured out how to turn it ON using the manual button rather than pre-programmed ones!

It’s made of high quality material with a substantial stainless cooking pot. It’s quiet, it’s safe to use and it works FAST relatively speaking. I’m planning to try it out to make a veal ragu to serve with pappardelle noodles for a piano party we’re having in mid-October. And maybe Irish oatmeal in the mornings that usually takes half an hour on the stove when the weather gets colder.

“feast or famine diet” . . .?

a FIESTA of dahlias from Fivefork Farms this a.m. . .

a FIESTA of dahlias from Fivefork Farms this a.m. . .

dahlias, majestic in a favorite vase . . .

dahlias, majestic in a favorite vase . . .

So, if you read the last post, you’ll know that I’ve come across a 21 day diet that includes 2 days of fasting, drinking bone broth and eating regularly the rest of the time. I’ve refined this somewhat into what I call a “feast or famine” diet that includes:

  1. 2 days apart fasting – drinking juices and bone broth;
  2. 2 days of salad suppers – salads on a dinner plate with a serving of protein (teriyaki salmon, sliced steak, shrimp)
  3. 3 days left for foodie menus – pappardelle pasta with veal ragu, Peking duck, teriyaki chicken thighs on the grill, etc.
'famine' fixin's for beef bone broth. . .

‘famine’ fixin’s for beef bone broth. . .

Anyhow, I’m going to try it out, starting tomorrow when the Instant Pot arrives and I make up some bone broth to store in the freezer.

Starting Monday, September 12th, I’ll start the 21-day diet clock. And on October 3rd, I’ll weigh in (couldn’t resist the pun) and see where things stand.

Meanwhile, here are more photos of the beautiful dahlias at the end of summer – and the beginning of our weekend!

feast-or-famine-1

the ‘unseen hand of the Universe’ today. . .

 

a flexible glass tube flower vase "lost" and now "found" . . .

A friend from my college days wrote to me today that she didn’t understand how elements in my book, “Uncommon Hours” combined such concepts as transcendental values, the tarot, horoscopes and the “unseen hand of the Universe” as components of a consistent world or life-view. I, in turn, was baffled because it’s exactly how my life seems to perk along everyday.

For example, I spent quite a bit of time today in the local Bank of America office trying to sort out some accounting errors and to report fraudulent activity on my checking account. It took a long time because the Bank’s fraud department didn’t answer the phone even after an hour’s wait in the manager’s cubicle. After I went home to try the fraud line again, I returned to the bank to close out my account and open a new one. During this time, I had become friendly with the bank manager who helped me with these transactions. During our chitchat while waiting to connect with said fraud department, she told me about “Instant Pot” – an electric pressure cooker.  I was delighted to hear about it because I’ve used a manual pressure cooker to cook brown rice macrobiotically but had stopped doing it because it took too long. She was enthusiastic about this kitchen gadget that would cook rice, make stock and stews as a pressure cooker (meaning fast) and could also be used as a slow cooker. When I went home, I read about it on Amazon, saving it in my checkout box.

Later this evening, I watched a chamber music special called “Simple Gifts,” a “Live from Lincoln Center” program about artist-led performances at the Shaker community in Kentucky, held in an incredible tobacco barn that was magical in its appearance with daylight showing between the slats and superior performances of artist-led chamber music. I thought it was an interesting concept not to have a conductor, but for various musicians leading the rest of the ensemble themselves, depending on whether/when they had the lead melody including wind instruments. It’s such a simple and basic concept but I had not seen it performed with such a large ensemble. I was also impressed by the co-directors, a husband-wife musician team who played the piano and cello: Wu Han and David Finckel who are also directors of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center.

Directly after the special, the PBS station segued right into a healthy diet program featuring a Dr. KellyAnn somebody. She was a little grating so I turned it off but idly looked up her book online and read about her regimen to lose weight and turn your health around in 21 days because I had resolved to get in better shape just tonight after we had finished dinner. Her routine turned out to rely on two days of “fasting” and sipping homemade bone broth from beef bones or chicken bones, etc. simmering on the stove for six hours or so.

So if you’re still with me, of course, that brings my day full circle to the convo at the bank earlier where I learned about the Instant Pot which, (voila!,) is capable of making stock that takes hours on the stove in just a couple of hours in its electric pressure cooker mode. Get it? The unseen hand of the Universe, right?

But what about the horoscope part? I had read that Jupiter, a very powerful and positive planet, would enter G.’s birth sign today for the first time in twelve years, perhaps auguring good fortune. Lo and behold this afternoon, we received some good news from a Court ruling, giving us a small victory we had hoped for. Maybe we might even be turning the corner in this David vs. Goliath battle! See what I mean?

The opening question above also challenged the spiritual premise of my book and my first over-reaction was to ditch it, frustrated that yet another reader didn’t “get it” the way that I had intended. After today’s events though, I decided not to give up on it just because someone else could not imagine a life filled with so much serendipity and synchronicity.

Today has been a busy day and I feel the Universe has given me a good lesson (again!)  Hallelujah! This is the way my life goes along, just about every day. I’m not kidding. Is it just following your intuition? Seems like more than that to me, doesn’t it?

Thank you Helpers!

Note: I ordered the “Instant Pot” to make bone broth per the 21 day diet plan. Will buy ingredients today at Mekong, a Vietnamese market in town and make a first batch of bone broth after the pot arrives and I figure out how to do it. Stay tuned.