Electric bill is one issue that I often ask people in this town. I find that no one is spared. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a condo, apartment, or a house. Your electric bill is going to be expensive! I once asked our maintenance guy…
“Hey, Jed… how’s your electric bill…?
“Really…? How expensive…?”
“Hmmm… just several months ago, it was $400!”
“Holy cow. Four hundred dollars!?”
“Yeap. And I don’t think we did anything different. I was shocked too… But we had to pay it…!”
People who come here, from other states, especially the military people assigned to Dyess AFB… also get a shock of their lifetime. Most people who stays in our complex move out in three to six months. They complain that the electric is too expensive, especially the ones living in a condo. Because the unit is upstairs and downstairs, with two air conditioning units running. What they don’t realize is that… it doesn’t matter where the live. The electric is going to be expensive. That’s just how it is here in Texas. And I’m sure some states are worst. We just didn’t expect the electric to be so expensive. Especially in a small town like this.
On occasions our electric bill would jump by $50 – $80 or more despite of not having anything changed on our power usage…
The temperature is coming down. In the high 50s at night, and high 70s during day. And I know it is much cooler in the East Coast. But here in West Texas… the temp is dragging. But, that’s alright. It’ll be cold soon enough. And we’ll all be wishing it’s summer again…
In our house… I guess it never matter whether it’s summer or not. When it comes to cooking, baking and roasting. I am free to do whatever I want in the kitchen, whenever. Our air conditioning system is turned on 24/7. Though I have been better. I try to be more organized on washing the laundry, lumping them more than I used to. To reduce the number of loads I have to wash… And mindful not to turn on more than two appliances at once. So the electric meter wont spike and raise our electric bill to ungodly amount. But still. Electricity is expensive here in West Texas. More expensive than when we were living in Las Vegas. Very disturbing at first. Who’d ever thought? We didn’t. But what can we do?
When we first got here, almost six years ago. We’ve tried other ways to save on electric. So we thought… if we use fans and water swamp cooler in every room, turned off the air conditioning, our electric bill would go down. It did just a little bit. And it wasn’t low enough to justify all the monies we spent on fans and swamp coolers. And really… buying swamp coolers and fans were just a waste of money. Though we tried it for a whole year. Living uncomfortably, especially during summer. The swamp coolers and fans weren’t enough to cool our condo – upstairs and downstairs. Just wasn’t enough…
So after a full year of having the air con turned off, with only swamp coolers and fans, my husband finally relented. I still remember when he did. We went to Fredericksburg for the weekend. A German town in Texas, about three hours drive from Abilene. When we got there, we checked into this nice motel. Nice and cool with the air conditioning running full blast. And as soon as we got in the room… Ramon and I passed out! Literally. It was sooo nice. The room was cold. And the beds were crisp and clean. It was perfect for sleeping. “Ahhhhhh… this is heaven.” I exclaimed to my husband.
We were supposed to look around to see what the town has to offer. But, Ramon and I did not want to go anywhere. We wanted to stay in the room and just sleep. Sleep comfortably… something we haven’t done in a year! We didn’t want to come home either. We just wanted to stay at that motel! Not wanting to go anywhere, out in the hot sun…
So when we got home. The first thing my husband did was turned our air condition back. We gave away those expensive, useless swamp coolers to Salvation army. And most of the fans to. Our condo have been 68°F degrees ever since. All summer long. And winters too. We’re spoiled. Totally spoiled. And we’re happy…
We learned that the electric company does whatever it wants. Our electric bill goes up for no apparent reason on our part. Even when nothing is changed on our power usage. It goes up and down. My husband just learned to pay the bills. He’d grumble once in a while. When the electric is over $300! But he knows that his wife and his son are happy. And if we’re happy, he’s happy. He’s a good husband and the best dad in the world…
I made this Spiced Rubbed Roasted Pork Loin (bone-in) the other day. I have made this before. I just didn’t have a nice picture to go with my post so I just filed it away. But this pork roast is much better than the last time I made it. Two things I’ve changed: One – I turned down the roasting temp to 325°F. Two – I brined the pork loin overnight before roasting it. With these changes, I made this roast from good to great! Awesome. Tasty. Yummy. Juicy! So I thought I’d share the recipe with you…
Use 1/4 cup of kosher salt per 1 quart or 4 cups of water.
In this case I used half a gallon of water with 1/2 cup kosher salt. Oh, before I forget… Please boil the water and let it cool before before adding kosher salt and aromatics.
I learned my lesson the hard way. I thought I could get away using a gallon size ziploc bag to brine the pork sirloin roast. It popped and dripped out the brining solution into the container I used. At least I was smart enough to place the ziplog in a container in case of incidents like this. So I ended up transferring the pork and brining it in this container.
So I had to transfer it into the container below…
Brine the pork over night in the refrigerator. By the time I got around to cooking the roast, 12 hours had elapsed. Which means this pork sat in the brining solution for 12 hours. Eight hours is fine too…
Transfer the pork into a heavy duty baking sheet lined with heavy strength aluminum foil.
I am using “salt pork render” that I’ve saved previously. You can also use bacon drippings…
Roast pork in the preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes.
Slow roast the pork at 325°F for 3 hours, basting every hour. Use the oil and butter combo, or salt pork of bacon drippings. Once this runs out… use the fat drippings on the pan.
Just to be sure… I inserted a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and it registered at 181.5°F. YES. The pork is definitely cooked. Roasted.
For the pork to be considered cooked and safe to eat, the meat must be at least 170°F.
Also… another tell – tell that the pork is cooked. If there are bones or a bone. If the bone is is extending or pushing out of the meat for at least half to an inch. It’s a good guess that the pork is done. Cooked and safe to eat.
I served this with Rosemary Red Roasted Potatoes…
Spiced Rubbed Roasted Pork
(Serves 4 – 6 people)
5 – 6 pounds pork sirloin roast – bone in
3 quarts or 12 cups water (boiled and cooled)
¾ cup kosher salt
1 tsp. whole pepper corns
1 large bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 springs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic – cracked
½ red onion – sliced
Place water in a large plastic container. Add salt and stir to dissolve. Add the herbs and aromatics in the brining solution – water and salt.
2 TBSPs. Kosher salt
½ TBSP. granulated garlic
2 tsps. Fennel seeds – crushed or ground
2 tsps. Cayenne pepper
2 tsps. Ground coriander
1½ tsps. Ground hot pepper
1 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. msg. (optional)
Combine kosher salt and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
3 TBSPs. cooking oil
3 TBSPs. melter butter
6 TBSPs. Bacon drippings
Remove the pork sirloin from the plastic wrapper and rinse under cold running water. Carefully lower pork into the brining solution with the aromatics. Making sure the pork is completely submerge.
Keep the pork in the brining solution over night. Or for at least 8 hours.
After pork has brined for 8 – 12 hours, discard the brine and aromatics. And rinse the pork under cold running water.
Line a heavy duty baking sheet with heavy strength aluminum foil. Line the baking sheet with three layers of paper towels. Place the rinsed pork. Grab more paper towels and pat dry the pork all over.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Generously sprinkle mixed salt and spices all over the pork, patting with your hand to adhere. Store the remaining uncontaminated spices in a glass jar for future use..
Using a pastry brush, brush oil/butter combination or bacon drippings all over the pork roast.
Roast pork in a preheated oven at 400°F, fatty side up, for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325°F and continue roasting for 3 ½ hours.
Carve meat across the grain and serve with Rosemary Red Roasted Potatoes.
You may serve the pork slices drizzled with brown gravy. Or with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side.
Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:
#1 – Brining the pork makes it juicy. It tastes great even the next day. Just place the roasted pork in a preheated oven at 250°F for about an hour. To make sure it is fully warmed.
# 2 – The spices makes this roasted pork well seasoned and spiced.
Rosemary Red Roasted Potatoes:
Serves 3 – 4 people
7 – 8 medium size red potatoes
1 TBSP. fresh chopped rosemary
3 TBSPs. olive oil
1 ½ to 2 tsps. kosher salt
½ – 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a heavy duty baking sheet with heavy strength aluminum foil. Set aside.
Scrub potatoes under cold running water.
Thinly slice off spots with skin imperfections. Otherwise, chop potatoes, with their skin on, into bite sizes.
Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary, kosher salt and black pepper.
Mix to coat potatoes with the seasonings.
Transfer potatoes to the lined baking pan. Spread them out into a single layer.
Roasted potatoes in the preheated oven at 425°F for 35 – 40 minutes.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!