i woke up at 8am to use the bathroom and didn't fall back to sleep afterwards. instead, i surfed the web from bed, eventually waking up for good at 9:30am. every morning i play the waiting game to see when sandy will wake up and if she'll go to work. today she got up at 10am. i heard the electric kettle running and also the sound of backpack zippers closing, a good sign. after she finished using the bathroom, i heard her fussing around in the kitchen, which made me worried that maybe she wasn't leaving after all. but then she finally appeared in the living room all dressed and left by 10:10am. 90 hours later she was finally going back to work.
i contacted nest to get a professional installer to take a look at the cafe thermostat. they have a list of authorized local installers. instead of calling them, i had the option of choosing 3 and getting quotes from them online. i picked two of their top electricians (elite grade) and one based in watertown (victory installers) because it was nearby. victory contacted me first, asked for more details and photos. power IOT got in touch with me later in the afternoon, but it was an automated message to visit their website to get a quote and make a service call. i took a look but they seem expensive, so i'm hoping victory will get in touch with me again tomorrow to arrange an appointment.
at 11am i biked to market basket to pick up a package of corned beef. temperature had risen to the lower 40's but there was still a chill in the air as i put on my hat and gloves. the sun was out but a lot of puffy white clouds dotted the sky meant an okay but not great solar production day. i've never seen briskets for sale before but now they were everywhere, though of the vacuum-sealed corned variety. there were pricier cuts but i picked the cheapest one, a 4.81 lbs. freirich point cut selling for $1.69/lbs. ($8.13). i also grabbed a can of sauerkraut (75¢) and some rye bread ($2.50), figured i could make a rueben sandwich later tonight.
back at home, i removed the corned beef from the packaging and put it in the slow cooker. i have a rival SCV401 crock pot, which i found on the street a few years ago. it's only 4-quarts and the brisket took up so much space i wouldn't have be able to cook any additional vegetables (like traditional corned beef potatoes and cabbage). i filled up the rest of the dish with hot water until it just about covered the beef then i added the content of the spice packet. the portion was so small and weak (hardly any smells) i ended up adding a tablespoon of pickling spice to give it more flavor. i then set it on high and left it to slow cook the rest of the day.
i had more yogurt-granola-blueberry for lunch. in the late afternoon i got hungry again and had some pita bread with tzatziki along with a glass of homemade banana milk (one ripe banana + 1 cup of whole milk). the house smelled of fragrant corned beef.
at 3pm the slab of corned beef had shrunken into a floating ball of meat that was poking the slow cooker lid. i decided to flip it to cook the exposed side and added some more hot water. at 5pm the liquid was bubbling so much i turned the heat down to low. the beef also seemed to have softened up a bit as well, though it was still floating. out of curiosity i tasted a bit of the broth - i was expecting it to be salty, but it was actually kind of mild, a bit oily, but very spicy (hot spicy).
i continued turning the corned beef a few times during the course of the slow cook, to make sure all sides had time to submerge in the liquids. i also added some water whenever it looked like there wasn't enough. by 6:30pm the corned beef had started to sink once more, which i took as a sign that it had finally finished cooking. i finally stopped the slow cooker by 7pm, shortly after sandy came home.
i carefully lifted the corned beef into a serving dish with two large spoons. i tried a small piece that'd broken off. i was worried it'd be bland because i added so much water during the course of the slow cook, but the tender corned beef tasted plenty salty. i couldn't really taste any of the spices though, but the overall flavor was a savory saltiness, reminded me of some of the slow-cooked salted pork my parents sometimes make. there was also a noticeable oiliness to the beef, which came from all that reduced fat melted in the liquids. maybe a leaner flat cut would reduce the oiliness. i also wondered how much better the flavor would be if i corned a slab of raw brisket myself over a period of weeks then slow cooked it.
i tried cutting it across the grains but the fresh-cooked corned beef was so tender it basically broke apart. i decided to wait until it cooled before trying to cut it into individual slices. i did take a portion, broke it up into pieces, and put it on some rye bread for a sandwich. i had some sauerkraut but didn't use any because i wanted to taste the corned beef as is. while sandy was making dinner in the kitchen, i gave her some corned beef to try, and later gave her a larger piece for lunch tomorrow.
the leftover liquids smelled delicious, but there was a thick layer of oil floating on top, so i didn't dare taste it again. i left the liquids in the slow cooker bowl overnight, allowing the fat to congeal so i could remove it and save the remaining liquids.
even though it was cloudy today and the sky milky on occasions, we still managed to make 36.42kWh. 5kWh shy of the current record, but not bad. we've already made 353kWh this month, and we're not even 2 weeks into march yet.