Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Successfully Using What's in the Freezer

Here's the ultimate tightwad, no additional energy expended way of keeping your coffee warm on a cold winter day.

But what, you may ask, is your coffe mug sitting on?

The wood stove of course! A girl's got to keep her coffee hot. BTW all you tea drinkers, I've put my tea bag into a mug of water and heated that here as well.

I thought I'd take a few moments and give a run down on how my efforts to use what was in the freezer were going. Before getting started I have to confess, I bought onions, carrots and four tomatoes.

I'm really pleased with the fig spice cake and the healthy fig date cookies that I made. The recipes were simple and everyone liked them. I'm itching to try Chile's fig butter recipe. It was in Thursday's comments but just in case you missed it, here it is. (And go check out her blog, NOW!!) Thanks for the recipe Chile!

Chile's Fig Butter

1/2 pound ripe figs
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp each: allspice, cinnamon, cloves
2 tsp vanilla

Wash figs, de-stem and quarter.
Simmer in water until soft.
Puree in blender.
Return to saucepan, using additional 1/2 c water to rinse out blender and add to pan.
Stir in sugar and dry spices.
Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I loved the sweet and sour bean sprout recipe from the NY Times Natural Foods Cookbook. We ate it first as a side salad. The next night, I drained off the liquid, the sprouts leach water overnight like fresh cabbage in coleslaw, and used it to season some tvp. I served the tvp with the sprouts inside a crepe. It was easy and delicious. For family members who thought the combination of seasoned sprouts and seasoned tvp was too intense, I gave the option of using unseasoned sprouts.

Today I'm trying the broiled sprout patties. Overall, I'm thrilled with sprouting! It's easy to feel like you have a green thumb this way! If you haven't tried it, what are you waiting for??

The plethora of parsley in the freezer found its way into the vegetable broth recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. It lends a buttery flavor to the finished broth. Of course, I used the veggies I had and left out the ones I didn't. I also left the veggies in, mashed them with a potato masher and served this as a soup with rice. Then I used the leftovers in split pea soup. Both were excellent.

But there was still more parsley in the freezer, so I made tabbouleh. Hence the four out of season tomatoes I bought which I fear I'm going to eco-hell for buying. The recipe I used called for pouring boiling water over the bulgur and letting it sit 45 minutes before draining. I had never done this but it worked perfectly. That's an energy saving cooking method I intend to use again. (BTW, on a similar not, Chile's method of letting steel cut oats soak overnight and then cooking only briefly in the morning is so superior to the crock pot method I've used. You really must try it.)

The tabbouleh was delicious as well. I served it with Navajo Fry Bread topped with sprouts and homemade hummus from the Vegan Lunchbox Cookbook. Its a slightly milder recipe than others out there but my family loves it.

Now to dig a little deeper and see what else is lurking in the freezer...


Chile said...

Wow, Katie, thanks for all the praise and attention. *blushing* (I guess that makes me a Red Chile. hehe)

I've always done my tabouleh that way, but I usually only soak it for 30 minutes, covered. Here's another idea for you. Sprout wheat berries for a couple days, just until they have a little tail. They will then cook easier and make a tabouleh that's even better than bulgur!

I love doing the fridge/freezer/pantry clean-out combo recipes. They always turn out surprisingly good.

Jenna said...

Very nifty site - and I'm thrilled to know I'm not the only one freezer surfing at the moment. In just a few months I'll be standing off against a tide of produce. Hubby and I are attempting to freeze/can/dry at least 75% of our produce for the upcoming winter, and I have a feeling I'm gonna need the space!

I've got the page bookmarked now, as the recipes and site looks great. I'm trying to incorporate more veggies in our diet and I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for the great read.

Anonymous said...

Fig butter! YUM.