(Not my freezer.)
As keen as I am on fresh produce, you might thing that I eschew the use of a freezer, but au contraire, my friends. Au con-fucking-traire.
While I might frown on anyone whose idea of a good meal is one of those plastic trays of beef stroganoff with the amorphous “brownie,” I love my freezer and use it almost as much as my refrigerator.
There are myriad good uses for a freezer, but my love affair with the deep freeze began when I read somewhere that anything Swanson’s can freeze, you can freeze too. This may seem startling obvious at first, but there were a lot of leftovers that I had previously been loath to commit to the ice box – pasta, thai, indian, etc. But no longer. Now almost anything I make gets one portion thrown in the freezer for a future date when I’m feeling lazy or it’s too hot to get near the oven.
Now this isn’t perfect. Pasta can come out a little gummy, and the rice in dishes is never quite as good as it is fresh. But compare food you freeze to yourself to even the fancy organic frozen food brands that are out there. Better. Cheaper. Faster. Stronger.
And that’s not all your freezer is good for. Here’s 5 things you’ll always find in mine:
1. Stock – Whenever I have leftover bones or vegetable trimmings, I boil them and make stock to save for later.
2. Coffee – Coffee keeps pretty well anywhere, but I’ve found it keeps fresher longer in the freezer.
3. Bread – I have never eaten an entire loaf of sliced bread before it gets moldy, but the freezer is the perfect solution to this age-old problem. Frozen bread only takes an extra minute or two in the toaster. One caveat: If you’re freezing bread that’s not pre-sliced, slice it BEFORE you freeze. Cutting frozen bread is nearly impossible and a really great way to send yourself to the emergency room.
4. Peas – Unless you are buying fresh peas during their incredibly short season and shelling them yourself, frozen peas are the way to go. They are also an incredibly easy vegetable to incorporate into a meal – mix them into pasta dishes, add them to rice, use them in stir fries, or just boil them and toss them in butter.
5. Frozen dumplings – New York is filled with hole-in-the-wall chinese dumpling shops that will sell you a silly amount of dumplings for a song. Boil frozen dumplings, then pan fry and serve with a sauce made of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha.
One of these days, when I move out of my cramped apartment and into a real house, I think I’ll actually invest in a chest freezer. There are farmers today who will sell you a cow, slaughter and butcher it for you, and deliver it in well-labeled frozen pieces right to your door.
Not THAT’s what I call frozen food.