Friday, September 28, 2012

Fancy Freezing for a Better Winter

Last summer and fall, I went crazy chopping, blanching and freezing everything I couldn't use from my garden and CSA.  I even bought extra stuff at the Farmers' Market to put aside.  So all winter long, I had big frozen blocks of greens and beans and fruits that I could dump into whatever I was making and experience fresh and local out of season.  It worked really well for soups and stews and pies.  But not for much else.  One round of blanching is about all the cooking green beans can take and still have any kind of crunchy delight.  And to mix the veggies into anything but a pot of boiling something requires the added step of defrosting, and the problem of figuring out how to cut off just the amount that you need.  So, this year, I'm working with a better plan: freeze entire dishes premade with the lovely local fresh stuff.  I now have in my freezer single, double, and quadruple servings of:

carne molida (ground beef sauteed with onions, all kinds of peppers, tomatoes, salt and pepper),

roasted peppers and tomatoes (from Nigel Slater's Tender)

greek pie filling (ground meat sauteed with chopped swiss chard, onions, garlic, feta cheese, and oregano),

roasted spaghetti squash with Moroccan spices (from Ruth Reichl's first Gourmet cookbook),

provencal green beans (onions, tomatoes, and garlic sauteed for a good long time with green beans thrown in for the last 3-5 minutes)