Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Deep Freeze Summer Challenge, or, How Green Is My Curry.

I've written about the state of my pantry and spice cupboard before but I've never mentioned my freezers. That would be because I am ASHAMED, people. Both of them (my small freezer in the basement and the freezer in my fridge) are so chock full of God-knows-what it truly is embarrassing. The freezer part of the fridge is also a hazard; it's pretty much guaranteed that something will fly out at you every time the door is opened. In our kitchen you've got to move fast to avoid falling leftovers. And every time I am hit by falling soup/broccoli/eggos I tell Scott we've got to start using up what ever the heck is in there. But we don't. So coming across The Deep Freeze Summer Challenge over at Mele Cotte last week was exactly what I needed to jump start my plan to clean out my freezers.

After rummaging past all the hot dogs (seriously Scott, stop buying hot dogs!) and frozen bread products (why do feel the need to freeze all the buns, bread and muffins that are going to go stale? what do I think I will ever do with them?) I came across two promising, heading towards freezer burned items. A bag of stir fry vegetables and a bag of rhubarb.

The guidelines for the challenge say that you can supplement your freezer items with seasonings/oils/milk/eggs as needed. So I stuck as close to that as I could.

Green Vegetable Curry

2 tb oil
1 tb ginger (mine was from the freezer)
2 lb frozen stir fry vegetables (ours was so good - squash, peas, bamboo, water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli)
1 1/2 tb green curry paste
1 can lite coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the ginger and cook for a few minutes until fragrant but not brown. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are heated through. Add the coconut milk and curry paste. 1 1/2 tb of curry makes a medium spicy dish. Stir well, lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

To answer my own question, my curry was the most beautiful pale green! I wish I had a better camera, this was a very pretty dish.

I did not serve this with rice, as I didn't have any in the freezer, but I will be making some rice for the leftovers.

Then I turned my attention to the rhubarb, in the freezer since last year when my boss gave it to me.

Stewed Rhubarb

4 cups of sliced rhubarb into a pot over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1 tb ginger, 3 tb sugar (I don't like my rhubarb very sweet) and a couple of shakes of Chinese 5 Spice Powder. Simmer gently until the rhubarb is softened and broken down.

This is so good on its own, but is also nice stirred into plain yogurt or served warm over ice cream.

I'm feeling better about the freezer situation; I've got some plans for other stuff in there now - there's pizza shells, tomato sauce, even some tofu! I'll be eating some good stuff. And as soon as Scott gets all those hot dogs eaten, he will too.


Anonymous said...

My freezer is stuffed too... STUFFED. With frozen veggies, egg whites, sorbet... oy! So I feel your pain and this post of yours is inspiring me to follow your lead.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Chris said...

Sara, This is wonderful! Thanks for participating. As I was reading, you reminded me of the ginger I froze....and forgot about! ha ha...
Thanks again!

Vincci said...

This challenge seems like such a good idea but it's harder for me to do because I have 3 roommates and no one is owning up to the stuff in the freezer! We have 4 opened, partially eaten bags of frozen corn, a couple frozen bananas, and some jars of tomato sauce (among other things that actually get used)! I would totally break into it if my roomies let me!

KJ said...

Hi Sara, I can relate. I have had my toes pounded by free falling packets of frozen mince, bacon, bananas more times than I can remember. I also agree with your sentiments on stewed rhubarb mixed into plain yoghurt. Very yummy.

Sara said...

Ari - knowing you, what ever you make from the freezer will be amazing!

Chris - thanks for the great event!

Vincci - what if you share what you make with them? maybe then they would be ok with it.

KJ - there is no pain like the pain of a squashed foot from something frozen! I think I'll be making lots of stewed rhubarb this summer.

Peabody said...

I have nothing good in my freezer. You did a great job of using up your stuff.

Deborah Dowd said...

Great post- you are much more creative than I! I just defrosted and cleaned out my freezer to find tons of bison and venison, so I guess you can look forward to some meat posts in the near future!

Judy said...

Great idea - I call it 'cooking with found ingredients'. I love grocery shopping, and often come home with things that go directly into the cupboard or freezer, where they sit for a few weeks/months. Every once in a while I go 'shopping' in my own kitchen and see what I can come up with!

The Cookbook Junkie said...

That sounds like my freezer. Saturday I bought a 'lock' for the freezer door since my 3 year has been reaching up and opening the freezer door and I was afraid he was going to get clocked by something. I've come close to getting my toes broken several times (flying ice packs are the worst!).

I'm always freezing leftover bread too. I use it in meatballs, for garlic bread and for sandwiches in a pinch but most of it gets thrown out when I run out of room in there.

Freya said...

Great entry! And you can freeze Green Chilli Paste if you make your own too! I love curry!

TNL said...

That curry does look pretty!


Anonymous said...

I can try making some curry with my frozen veg too!

Dolores said...

I'm loving the creativity that's coming out of this challenge. I need to try my hand myself -- my freezer looks pretty much like yours, without the hot dogs. :) Your curry looks great!

Sara said...

Peabody - what do you have in there?

Deborah - I don't like game meat, but I did have a wonderful bison chile once. It had cinnamon in it.

Judy - this is something I really need to do more often. I can't imagine what else I'll find in there.

CJ - you're right, ice packs ARE the worst. Thanks for the tip on using the bread for meatballs, I just found a recipe for meatballs in tomato mint sauce I want to play around with. That will be perfect!

F&P - We love curry too, although we don't have it very often! What's up with that?

Trupti - thank you, it really was.

TF - such an easy meal and so fast to put together! No cleaning and chopping veggies.

CC - thanks!

Lis said...

HAAHAHAHAHAAAA! Holy crap I NEVER thought I'd meet someone who also freezes the left over buns & bread before they go stale!!!!! And if you are really like me, you'll fakkin leave them in there until they are freezer burnt and inedible anyway! HAHA!!

I knew there were many reasons why I heart you so. =)


Lis said...

Okay I just wanted to let you know - today is my neighborhood's garbage pick up day. Today our garbage men will be hauling away about 10 lbs. of frozen bread, buns & bagels. After I read this post, I checked out the state of all the fakkin bread I had frozen and found 90% of it was freezer burnt anyway. God. Out it went and my freezer thanks you. heee!


Sara said...

Lis - good for you! That is what I need to do. I cleaned out my fridge last night, maybe the freezers should get it this weekend.