i finally got around to replacing my front tire and tube. it was a relief to just get the tire out of the house so it doesn't stink up the place even more with its strong rubber smell. after shoveling a path through the snowy backyard, i worked in the basement. shockingly, the front tire is 10 years old. i didn't even replace it myself (10 years ago i probably wouldn't even know how), i took it down to my local bike shop, the one that used to be on somerville avenue (which is now fancy condos), and had a mechanic do it for me. it doesn't have the same treads like the new kenda 26x1.5 kwest tires i've been using for the past few years. it was long overdue for replacement, the tire was badly worn, cracks in the treads, and ripped up sidewalls. it's a miracle it held together as long as it did. also interesting to note that i rarely have any issues with my front tire, usually i get flats in the rear tire, and i've already replaced both the tube and tire a few times already in the back.
i replaced everything - new tire, new tube - as well as replacing the rim tape (this all started because a spoke managed to puncture my front tire tube through the old rim tape). instead of saving the old tube and tire, i tossed them out, using that folding trick to make them smaller so they'd fit more easily in the trash bin.
fixing my bike made me realized that my supply of harbor freight 5 mil medium nitrile gloves were running low. i went online to see how much they cost: $15 for a box of 100! they used to be just $3-4. harbor freight even addressed this issue, said the price of nitrile gloves are up because of low supplies and worldwide material shortage. they said once cost decrease they'll lower the price. i went onto amazon to see if i could score any better deals. i found some that were cheaper, but still about 4x more expensive. those also didn't specify the thickness, but i found out they were 3 mil, and i already have problems with occasional tearing with the 5 mil i currently have. i ended up ordering a box of 100 6 mil black nitrile gloves for $15.
for lunch i ate the last of my aldi everything bagel. i grilled some kielbasa in a pan and added some homemade sauerkraut (which reminds me: with st.patrick's day coming up, there's going to be big sale on cabbage, so i'll be making another fresh batch of sauerkraut).
as soon as i finished eating, my father called me asking to return the bunn coffee brewer ($270) we bought from amazon. just so happens i filed a return yesterday and already printed out a mailing label. the only thing was it had to be returned at an amazon locker hub, and the closest one was in central square, with no place to park. when my father arrived, i quickly taped up the box and attached the label before we headed down to central square. with my father waiting in the car, i carried the box to the amazon hub and returned it.
coming back, we stopped at the huron veterinary hospital so i can pick up some drug for hailey, before my father dropped me off at my place.
after using the bathroom (i'd actually wanted to go after i finished lunch, but because my father called me, i had to hold it), i went out again, riding the fixed bike to market basket to get some groceries. temperature today was in the 40's, there were a lot of melting, a lot of puddles, and a lot of pot holes.
i decided i wanted to make some instant pot boneless pork chops tonight, after finding a promising recipe online. i needed to get some liquid smoke but they didn't have any at market basket. i found it instead at star market, where i also got some clementines that were on sale.
they didn't pick up the trash this morning. i finally had to go online to check if there was a reason, and they said it was because of the president's day holiday last week, which affected this week, delaying trash pickup by a day. i don't quite get the logic, but as long as they didn't miss us by mistake, i wasn't too concerned. i actually didn't take out the trash last night because i didn't have much trash to throw out. i knew it was mostly my upstairs neighbor's trash, and it's not my job to take out their trash, so i didn't bother. seems like they noticed this morning and trashed out their trash, only to not have any trash pickup today. it'd seem like i'm some kind of trash day genius, but in actuality it was just serendipity.
around 6:30pm i realized i forgot to brine my pork chops so i had to do that. i wasn't going to wait 2 hours, and decided to start cooking at 7:30pm, but just preparing the equipment and ingredients took so long, it was nearly 8pm before the actual cooking started.
the dry rub seemed promising, but sautéeing the pork chops in the instant pot seemed like a weird idea. i've never been able to get a good sear, because the meats realize so much liquids i end up boiling rather than searing. still, the pork chops looked really delicious at that point. then it came time to pressure cook them with some chicken stock mixed with some worchestershire sauce and liquid smoke. the ingredients seemed delicious, but cooking the pork chops in liquid would just make them soggy and lose any built-in crispiness on the skin, what little there was.
i followed the recipe regardless, 7 minutes of high pressure cooking, followed by 12 minutes of natural release (which is a fancy way of saying, 'just wait'). i noticed because there wasn't a lot of liquid to begin with (just a cup of chicken stock), the instant pot came to pressure much faster, like about 10 minutes, maybe even less. normally because i have so much liquid in the inner pot, it takes over 20 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
while that was going on, i cooked a cup of rice in the rice cooker, and salted some smashed and chopped cucumbers and put it in the fridge to reduce. later i drained the cucumbers and mixed them with some sauce: rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sichuan hot oil, minced garlic, ground korean pepper.
when the pork chops finished cooking, the final result didn't look all that good. it looked like overcooked chicken, with spices on one side, and nothing on the other (the side that was submerged in chicken stock). when i cut them up they were rubbery on the outside but very tender and moist on the inside. it was almost falling apart, it reminded me of fish more than pork. as for that spice rub? honestly, i couldn't taste it, other than a sweetness from the brown sugar. most of that simply washed away in the chicken stock. i cut up 2 of the pork chops, saving the other 2 for tomorrow night. i added the smashed cucumbers and served them with half the cooked rice.
it was tasty, but to be honest, i think the pork chops would've been much better if i simply seared them in a pan on the stovetop, or if i was feeling lazy, use the foreman grill to cook them for a crispier crust. cooking them in the instant pot soaked in liquid just made them rubbery, even if they were still tender on the inside. boiling is not a proper way to prepare pork chops.
ironically, i did end up with enough trash that later in the evening i went outside to throw away the garbage. i also tossed a 10+ year old bottle of olive oil that i infused with some homegrown rosemary. i'd never used the olive oil, and when i opened the bottle to smell it, it was no surprise that the oil had gone rancid. i never used it because i read infusing olive oil like that might carry a risk of botulism. i also poured the leftover chicken stock from the instant pot into a jar and tossed it out as well.