Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipes in the absence of cooking

So I'm currently in the process of cleaning out my freezer in preparation for the August-September cooking blitz. I have one of those big, stand-alone freezers (the smallest I could get, but it's still about the same size as my fridge). And I'm trying to be as much a locavore as possible - this translates into massive amounts of cooking and freezing tomatoes, corn, apples and so on in the late summer early fall so that I still have tasty, local veggies to eat in January. Now, tomatoes aren't quite as good when frozen as the water in them freezes and separates from the tomato flesh, but I still think it's better than the tasteless tomatoes at the big box grocery store in January. And let me tell you, defrosted fresh corn cooked in butter and salt and pepper is absolutely fantastic in February!

Last September, my freezer was stuffed solid with clam-stuffed tomatoes, apple sauce, elderberry-apple crumble, corn, stuffed peppers, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, vodka tomato sauce, chili, and probably some other things I'm not remembering. Now, I'm down to my last container of tomato sauce, some ricotta spinach quiche (not quite as good defrosted, probably won't do that again), salmon burgers (I've learned I don't like adobo chilis), some frozen cranberries, frozen girl scout cookies, and frozen meat and shrimp. What I have in there is looking pretty forlorn, waiting for me to fill it up again.

I love emptying out the freezer, makes me feel a sense of accomplishment on a par with defrosting it, which I did a couple weeks ago. Just as much as I love filling it up and then working on the puzzle of how to fit everything in there. Having my own frozen dinners makes life so much easier when I have a weekend like this last one, where I was out of town and had no time to cook. But given how little is actually in there, it also makes it harder to just grab food and go for my lunches. Or rather, I'm left with the food I've been avoiding for months (like those pesky salmon burgers).

On arriving home last night, it was starting to rain, so I really didn't feel like going grocery shopping. So I was happily jumping with joy when I found that I did, in fact, have a red pepper in the fridge and the bread in the cupboard hadn't molded yet. So I defrosted some pork and cooked it in my current favorite pork method: dusted with salt, pepper, powdered ginger, and red pepper flakes. Then I toasted the bread and spread it with orange cardamom goat cheese and sliced up the red pepper. Mmm mmm!

For the rest of the week: ratatouille currently defrosting, and there's always those salmon burgers, and some quiche.

4 comments:

Charlotte said...

You are a cooking savant. Will you please move to my house? The pay sucks and I have some awfully whiney roommates but you can use my kettlebell for free:)

Lethological Gourmet said...

LMAO! You know, that kettlebell is very tempting...Hopefully I'll be just as gung-ho about cooking once I have a family, I can only hope....must be hard to HAVE to cook, and for a lot of different palates too!

I just took out the tomato vodka sauce that I made last year and had some for dinner last night on pasta. Well, I think I cooked it last September, so I totally forgot what was in it. And I had this whole debate with myself about whether I should defrost and cook some chicken sausage to go with it, to have some protein. And fatigue won out, so I just made pasta. Well, it turns out there was chicken sausage in the sauce already! That was quite a shocker when I bit into it...

the Bag Lady said...

Sheesh - I can one-up Charlotte - you can come to my house and cook IN my (substitute) kettlebell!! :)

Do you do any canning? That's also a great way to preserve the "taste of summer" - I make and can salsa, pizza sauce, pickles, relishes, jams and jellies. I also can whole tomatoes, or crush them, add Italian spices, then use them as a pasta sauce. Take up less space in the freezer, but you need a large storage area... just sayin'...
I'm going to try canning some meat this year. Maybe.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Bag Lady, I haven't tried canning yet. It kind of scares me, the idea that if I don't do it right there's botulism and all that. But I suppose there are risks with anything. What kind of equipment do you need for canning?

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