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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

Freezer inventory

This how we keep track of what's in the freezer.

The contents of my freezer, exposed. In this selection: apricots, sour cherries, blueberries, elderberries, cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce, roasted red pepper sauce, vegetarian lentil chili, ...

In addition to the chopped parsley and herbs, I have a whole bunch of other things in the freezer. Mostly vegetables from the summer when there were plenty, but also soups and other prepared foods made between the harvest and now. A magnetic white board helps us maintain an inventory of the freezer contents, so we make sure to use what we’ve frozen before the next summer and the opportunity to replenish comes around.

One of my unanticipated favourite freezer items this year is whole frozen tomatoes. I never considered freezing whole tomatoes before, but we were on vacation when many of them ripened – amateur gardener’s mistake – so my mother-in-law just put them in bags and popped them in the freezer. She figured we’d use them to make tomato sauce when we got back. Instead, we just kept them and have been using them whenever a recipe for a hot dish calls for fresh tomato. I refuse to buy fresh tomatoes in the winter for two reasons: I aim to eat what is in season (although I admit to making some exceptions) and the flavour just isn’t the same as when they are their peak, so why choose to eat something that tastes mediocre?

Having these frozen tomatoes on hand has unexpectedly opened the door to recipes I usually don’t make in the winter.  Also, I’m able to make some Asian recipes that combine tomatoes with other ingredients that aren’t in season when tomatoes are. A bonus is that the skins remove easily once the tomatoes are lightly thawed.

Recently we made penne with spicy sausage paprika sauce (I’ve had this recipe in my repertoire since I was a teenager. I’m pretty sure it was once published in Gourmet magazine’s “You asked for it” column and comes from Loews Hotel in Santa Monica), spaghetti puttanesca with cherry tomato sauce, a simple tomato and mango curry, and an absolutely stunning tomato and ginger soup*. The latter two recipes are from Vij’s cookbook; Vij’s is Vancouver’s renowned “inspired Indian” restaurant. On the frozen tomato cooking agenda is a Vietnamese tomato and pineapple soup. Can’t wait!

*When we made this recipe, we chose the curry leaf and ginger combination, i.e. we left out the coriander and garlic. We took the tomatoes out of the freezer and let them thaw a little before removing the skins, which slip off easily. Then we cut them into large chunks and put them in a food processor and processed them until they had a sorbet-like texture (essentially frozen, unconcentrated tomato puree). Finally we added them to the rest of the ingredients as per the recipe. The only other improvement I suggest on the original recipe, is to make it a day in advance and let it sit, chilled, overnight to allow the flavours to meld. The next day, pour the soup through a medium-meshed sieve to remove the small pieces of ginger, curry leaves and the tomato seeds. The result is a smooth soup that packs a punch of flavour!

[I have to add a note here. I’m new to blogging and am still trying to figure out the best way to do things. One of my questions is whether to integrate my recipes directly into my post or post them separately and link to them. Then, out of curiosity, I searched the dishes mentioned above. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find 3 out of 4 on the Internet already. However, I was somewhat dismayed that some didn’t provide the source, even though they were copied word for word. Having made this discovery, I’ve decided that I will link to the web, whenever a recipe is already available. For those recipes that aren’t, I will post them separately, including the source when applicable, and simply link to them.]

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