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Old 11-27-2004, 12:13 PM   #1
 
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Lazy Food Prep

I am sure there have been times when you wanted to put a meal together quickly, without a whole lot of prep work. Why go through all the trouble of washing peeling your onions and garlic; washing your celery, seeding your peppers, peeling your carrots, etc.?

I know I don’t. When they are on sale, or freshly picked from the garden, I do my prep work. On a day when all I have to do to prepare supper is to heat up some left overs, I will sit in front of the tv and peel tons of garlic and a bag or two of onions [on a washable tv tray] while watching Discovery Home or Food Network. Then I go in the kitchen and wash them. I put whole garlic cloves in a zip lock freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. I cut my onions into quarters and put them in a zip lock freezer bag. Same thing with tomatoes, or I will take a bunch of fresh mushrooms, clean them, and freeze them also.

Other times, I will clean a whole bag or two of celery, and cut them into sticks. Into a freezer bag they go. I seed green or whatever kind of pepper I like, and freeze them in a freezer bag.

I will peel a bag or two of carrots, blanch them, and freeze them also, or pumpkin, or cabbage, or whatever.

Then, if I decide I want to make soup, or stew, or anything that needs any of these ingredients – they are right at hand, without an ounce of effort on my part.

I don’t even defrost them. I take out however much I need for the meal and return the rest to the freezer. If I have to chop or slice them, I just run a little warm water on the vegetables in a colander, and then chop or slice them. It does not matter if they are still a little frozen inside, or they are not crisp; if you are cooking with them.

Every other week or so, I try to do some prep work ahead of time. I even will grate oranges, or lemons and freeze that for recipes that I might want to use.

Today, I will peel and core and slice a basket of pears I received as a gift, to freeze for a dessert later on.

What are your lazy food prep hints?

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Old 11-27-2004, 02:22 PM   #2
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When I have meat to freeze I freeze the marinade with it. I do not have much ideas but I will be using some of yours :)
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Old 11-27-2004, 02:54 PM   #3
 
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Thanks! :D
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Old 11-27-2004, 10:24 PM   #4
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You're good Chocolate Chef!
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Old 11-27-2004, 10:33 PM   #5
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I make my own Sofrito about 3 times a year. This is a tremendous quantity I put in cup sized tupperware freezer containers.

Sofrito

25 aji dulce (Puerto Rican sweet peppers) seeds removed
1 bunch recaito (Puerto Rican cilantro) washed
1 head garlic, all cloves peeled and cleaned
1 bunch cilantro washed
1 bunch parsley washed
4 green peppers seeded chopped
4 red peppers seeded chopped
3 large white onions peeled chopped
1 large jar of olives with pimento
1 large jar of capers with liquid
Juice of 4 sour orange
3 tbs oregano

Blenderize all, adding water as needed to blenderize. Pour into large bowl, mix up well. Pour cupfuls into freezer containers.
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Old 11-27-2004, 10:43 PM   #6
 
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Good thoughts "chocolate chef"...here's a thought...

Your EVOO is on the shelf in the cupboard, and its got no issues with "keeping"...

Likewise, you can have a ton of garlic sitting downstairs in a long coiled "braid", that will likely last until next year...

You have, or can buy, parsley, sage, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaves ("laurel" as I was told in Rome this year...something I rest on, on occaision!)

Anyways, if you want to skin out your garlic while watching TV, you can douse it in olive oil and this "preserve it", while getting "flavoured olive oil" in the process...and of course the garlic is "usable" at any given place, time or opportunity, and if a bit "mushy", can still be minced or grated...adding the miniscule amount of EVOO that this carries to a "recipe" is pretty much ignorable to the bigger picture...

And so if you have the time, containers, shelf space and/or interest to take it one step further, you could pour off the EVOO into a new container with all those garlic juices, and add some herbs (if you didn't ant to add same herbs to the original container!)...best done with fresh herbs, BTW, IMOHO, but work it out for yourself, where you get "happy" with the results...if you, like me, are doing "menu planning" a week or so in advance, and "contemplating" "cooking technique" at the same time, then taking some garlic adultered EVOO, and letting it "sit" with some (fresh) herbs for a week or so can lead to some startling great results in various recipes...can get you an "edge", especially where you seem to understand that the "life" of "cayenne", for instance, in a jar of powdered product is "about 6 months", unless you mix it up with something...fairly immediately! A two year old container of "poultry seasoning" is deader than dog doo doo, in termsof aspiring to "flavouring anything"

And I love what you are writing about, in the idea of time saving measures and using "down time" to get "lightspeed", when you want and need it!

I'd eat at your table anyday!

Lifter
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Old 11-27-2004, 11:05 PM   #7
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I would exercise extreme caution when making garlic or herb flavored olive oils.

Herbs or garlic in oil is an ideal breeding ground for botulism-deadly to humans. Any flavored oils you make should be refrigerated and used witin 10 days to two weeks.
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Old 11-27-2004, 11:14 PM   #8
 
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HMMM!

And the stores sell so many of them...

And we should all understand what happens to EVOO in the fridge, let alone garlic...

While this has never poisoned me, I'll take Andy M.'s advice as a study...anyone else want in on this question?

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Old 11-27-2004, 11:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifter
HMMM!

And the stores sell so many of them...

Lifter
Yes, the stores sell commercially processed flavored oils that deal with the botulism issue. This is a process not readily available to the home cook.

I've seem several references to sites that support my statement. I'll try to find them and post here.
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Old 11-28-2004, 04:22 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifter
And I love what you are writing about, in the idea of time saving measures and using "down time" to get "lightspeed", when you want and need it!

I'd eat at your table anyday!
Lifter
Oh Lifter, you are a real sweetie and a cook/scholar!
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