Yesterday I walked over to the Centerville Farmers market next to the train station. The Market has shrunk drastically, but there was one vendor selling the carrots and potatoes I wanted -- I bought two pounds of each. Later in the day, I went on errands, including the grocery store, where I bought garlic, two 10-ounce bags of sliced mushrooms, and a 4.6-pound corned beef brisket. No cabbage. I hate cabbage!
The instructions for that roast said that it would take about four hours in the oven, so I got started around noon. Following instructions, I put the brisket in a roasting pan, poured about 1 inch of water into the pan, and spread the spices that came with the brisket over the top. I put it into a 350-degree oven and ignored it for a while.
An hour later, on the top of the stove I started to work on the other part of the package: pea soup. I put the Arrowhead Mills green split peas in with two quarts of water and set it to boiling. I don't have some of the things that I've used in the past like soy sauce and cumin, because I've used up my supplies and I'm not buying any more as part of the draw-down of the household stuff, but I did add oregano and thyme and onion powder to the mix. While that was starting to boil, I cleaned and chopped the carrots and potatoes and set them aside.
Around this time, I peeled a bunch of garlic and tossed it into the covered roasting pan to go with the corned beef.
After the pea soup had simmered for an hour or so, I added the mushrooms and some of the chopped carrots and potatoes. The rest of the carrots and potatoes went into the roasting pan with the meat, which smelled wonderful.
Another thirty minutes of simmering and the soup was essentially done and the roast was nearing the end of its four hours. I poured the pea soup into the roasting pan with the brisket and left it for another twenty minutes or so at 375 degrees, then turned off the heat and let it cool for half an hour. The brisket was pretty much hidden by the soup, so cutting it apart was a little messy, but I managed to reduce the brisket to bite-size pieces and mix the whole thing together thoroughly. Sometime around 5 PM it was ready to eat.
How was it? Well, I ate three big bowls of it, which is too much and I'm a bad kid, but I liked it. The rest went into storage containers, some of which I am going to freeze because there's so much of this that I need it to keep. It's going to keep me in dinners for most of two weeks.
I expect that my next PG&E bill will show that I've tripled my usual monthly natural gas usage by this experiment in cooking. (I never have to turn on the heat here in this apartment, so I rarely use more than about 1 therm per month.)