Freezer food

March 14th, 2009 by Dawn

Eat Local pizza; Marcella Hazan's Bolognese sauce

Hm, I’ve been slacking on the blogging front, haven’t I?  Life has gotten a bit crazy lately, but here I am again.  During crazy times, we often find ourselves digging around in our freezer on weeknights, looking for something that might make a quick and easy dinner.  Which got me to wondering, what do other people keep in their freezers?  I love it when I find a great recipe that’s perfect for making a big batch and freezing.  Here’s what you might find in our freezer:

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese sauce – It takes hours to cook Marcella’s Bolognese sauce, but it’s the perfect thing to have on the stove on a cool weekend afternoon.  With beef and pork (optional), milk, white wine, tomatoes, and a touch of nutmeg, it leaves you looking forward to Sunday dinner.  We make plenty of extra for our freezer.  Just defrost and heat, add a dab of butter to the sauce, mix in with your favorite pasta, and grate some parmigiano on top.

Tom Douglas’ fruit crisp topping – This stuff is perfect for a super-fast dessert.  I make a triple-batch and freeze it.  Then when I’ve got some lovely fruit – apples, peaches, cherries, whatever – I just cut it up, mix in a touch of sugar, throw it into a pie dish with some crisp topping, and pop it in the oven.  A large apple is perfect for one of our individual-sized Emile Henry pie dishes, and then the two of us can share a yummy apple crisp.

Tamales – These are newcomers to our freezer.  I wrote a couple months back about making tamales at our friend Kathy’s house.  Our freezer stash of tamales has dwindled, though, so we may need to make some more.

Bruce Aidells’ chicken and apple sausage – This homemade sausage is great both for breakfast and in savory recipes.  It’s juicy and better than anything I’ve bought in grocery stores.  It’s not too hard to make, actually, unless you want to stuff it into links which takes longer.  We just form it into patties for the freezer.  Bruce Aidells has a recipe for French toast stuffed with sautéed apples and some of this sausage, which is a great Sunday breakfast.

Jerry Traunfeld’s apple black bean soup – a great winter soup, especially during the time when apples are the only fruit available at our local farmer’s markets.  Jerry’s absolutely right in his intro paragraph which says that it makes a huge pot – one recipe is plenty for several meals.

Vij’s – You’ll always find a cooler in our car on our way over the border to Vancouver, so that we can bring back cryovaced packs of our favorite Indian food for our freezer.

Soup and rolls from Dahlia Bakery – Every few weekends, we’ll stop in for a morning fried egg sandwich (the gourmet version of a McMuffin), and if we get there late enough, the lunch items are just coming out of the kitchen.  We might grab a soup or two, which comes with one of their traditional rolls, and freeze it for a weekday lunch at work.

Fu Man Dumplings – You need to call ahead 24 hours in advance to pick up a bag of Fu Man dumplings to-go.  With some of their super-garlicky sauce, the dumplings make a yummy snack.

Eat Local – We’ve mentioned this place on Queen Anne on our blog before.  Now they’ve set up tent at the U-District Farmer’s Market each Saturday, which means that you might find their dinners in our freezer a little more frequently now, or maybe one of their cracker-bread pizzas, pictured above.  Just as the name of the store implies, everything is made using local ingredients, and is quite delicious.

So, what do you keep in your freezer?  Favorite recipes?  Trader Joe finds?  Food that you’ve always got to have on hand?

13 Responses to “Freezer food”

  1. Mizzy says:

    Those are some of my favorite foods shown in the pictures. LOL!

  2. Kye says:

    Dawn, I love your post! It made us look at what we have in our freezer….duck stock, fish stock, dark chicken stock, beef stock, dashi, half a lobe of foie gras, goat cheese discs (with lots of herbs and malba toasts coating, one of our favorite accompaniment to salad) and tamales. We have to star eating things in our freezer.

  3. Kairu says:

    I usually have dumplings, corn, peas, quiche, vodka, Girl Scout cookies, butter, and ice cream in the freezer, along with whatever Trader Joe’s thing looked interesting the last time I was there. (I like their mushroom turnovers). I try to keep homemade broth on hand, measured out in pints, as well as cookie dough pre-scooped and ready to defrost and bake. Generally, there are eggs, leftover rice, scallions, and ham/prosciutto/pancetta/bacon in the fridge, handy for a quick dinner on the run.

    I should try freezing sauces and soups. Strangely, I’ve never tried doing that.

  4. matt wright says:

    What fantastic stuff to have in the freezer. I tend to always have a couple of bags of chicken stock in the freezer, but then I tend to roast a chicken every couple of weeks at the moment. I normally have either salmon or mackerel (or both) in the fridge too. Mackerel is great, since it defrosts a bit quicker, being smaller. Like you guys, I normally find some ragu in there of various sorts too, or at least a tomato pasta sauce.

    Oh, and frozen peas, and some frozen fruit.

    I keep meaning to add some puff pastry in there too, but whenever I buy it, I always seem to use it instantly.

  5. Dawn says:

    Kye – the goat cheese disks sound like a great salad addition. I’m generally bored with salads unless then contain cheese. 🙂

    Kairu – the last time I put Girl Scout cookies in our freezer, I forgot about them way in the back, and they’ve since been banned from our tiny freezer. With your list, you remind me that there are so many things we could freeze instead of food going to waste!

    Matt – puff pastry! What a good idea for a “staple” to have on hand. What kinds of things do you tend to make with it most frequently? Any recipes on your blog?

  6. Kairu says:

    Dawn, I actually forget about my Girl Scout cookies, too. There are two boxes of Thin Mints of uncertain provenance lurking behind the peas, and I have to use them up soon. I think I’ll crush them and make chocolate ice cream with Thin Mint crumbles swirled in.

    I looked into the freezer just now, and a hunk of pork belly fell out (I haven’t decided what to do with it yet), followed by a bag of back fat that I haven’t gotten around to rendering into lard. I better do something with them before Heath calls me up again.

  7. Dawn says:

    We have a hunk of Mangalitsa pork belly, too! We’re still trying to decide how to cook it. It’s one of those things that’s so “precious” that we save it and save it for a special day and as a result never ever use it. We do that whenever we bring back goodies from our travels, too – we figure we can’t eat it right away since it will be impossible to get any more, and then we promptly forget about it.

  8. Kairu says:

    I want to red-braise it, Shanghainese-style, eat some as is, then make zhong zi, which are bundles of sticky rice filled with pork belly or any one of a variety of fillings, wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied with string. I’ve just never made them before, and when you’ve got $25-a-pound pork at stake, you don’t want to make any mistakes.

  9. matt wright says:

    dawn – well, you can use the puff pastry for a few things.. eccles cakes are one (on my blog – http://mattikaarts.com/blog/baking-recipes/eccles-cakes-the-classic-british-tea-cake/). These awesome little darlings are so easy (they have to be for me to make them) and taste great with a cup of tea.

    you can also make a respectable enough cornish pasty – which once you have the dough is a complete cinch to make. The dough should really be lard based, but I know people that use the puff..

  10. Dawn says:

    Oh yum, those eccles cakes look delicious! I definitely need to make those.

  11. Michael Bruchas says:

    I heard about your post last night @ Sukiyaki, and had been behind on my RSS reading. Great post!

    For the Mangalitsa you should ask Kye for her recipe from the Spanish Kitchen cookbook. Braised in Almond milk. They made it for a 2×2 wine event we had, and it was absolutely amazing. The milk simmers for something like 4+ hrs, and then you dip bites of pork belly into a shot glass of the milk.

    Our freezer:

    Leftover Caraway ice cream, old banana’s for Robin’s Banana Choco-chip bread she makes from time-to-time, usually several freezer bags of handmade pasta.. currently.we have Shanxi noodles, Olson’s beef tongue, A&J bones with marrow, puff pastry dough, ice cream maker bowl (takes up a lot of space), tablespoons of individually wrapped tomato paste, frozen cranberries from thxgiving, chilipeppers, buffalo ground beef patties, tortillas.

  12. Dawn says:

    Hi Michael! We do have that recipe – that’s a great idea. Kye gave it to me a couple months back and I’d forgotten about it.

    Maybe I have to get that banana bread recipe from Robin, if she’ll share it. I also have some old bananas in our freezer, with aspirations of doing something with them, but haven’t landed on any great recipes yet.

    It sounds like we should raid your freezer when we run out of options over here. What a great list.

  13. Michael Bruchas says:

    Robin is working on the banana recipe, and we will be sure to pass it along…she tells me that she just makes it from her head and mixes things together. I don’t know how she does this, but it turns out great every time.

    We’ll be curious to hear how the Mangalitsa turns out…

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