Sunday, March 23, 2008

Freezer Surprise

During this month it becomes necessary to use up everything that has been in the freezer up to now. This results in some truly interesting meals being produced. I've dubbed these meals "freezer surprise." Mostly these meals are perfectly edible if not terribly inspired, and they all do just fine if you pour on the ketchup or a load of brisket sauce.

Slices of potato kugel, baked in the oven and topped with ground turkey meat sauteed with pearl onions, green beans and the last of the frozen zucchini--see the reference to ketchup. The small remnants of pasta still left in five containers, broken to uniform size with a meat mallet, cooked and topped by finely chopped turkey hot dogs mixed with ground chicken, the remnants of what is left in the jar of garlic and some additional frozen zucchini that miraculously surfaced again--see the reference to brisket sauce.

What to do if what you find in the freezer is not enough to serve all the people you need to serve? Never fear. Cut into tiny bite-sized pieces, stick tooth picks into each piece, put some sauce in a small bowl for dipping, place on a tray and tell your family these are hors d'oeuvres. Complaining miraculously stops if you call them hors d'oeuvres. Cut up that cucumber you just found in the back of the fridge into chunks and add for variety. Same goes for those 6 baby carrots hiding in the veggie bin. If you really want to get exotic, put a tooth pick into some grapes and place on the tray.

Eggs and egg substitute are your best friends during this time. Whisk some spices into the egg substitute, dump in all the left over odds and ends of veggies from the freezer and from the veggie bin and bake for about 45 minutes. If you really want to get fancy, chop up the left over anything from shabbos and stir it into the mixture. (I do offer this warning--chopped gefilte fish and cauliflower in eggs is not a grouping made in heaven. Not even the sauce could save this one.) When questioned as to what you are serving, do not under any circumstances call the dish quiche. There seems to be a male gender problem with quiche. I have found that calling it "Xan yin Ma" in the Cantonese style seems to stop the conversation. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles if you still have any and you lend authenticity to the dish.

It's been my experience that the less you can tell what the dish is made out of the more chance that someone will eat it; therefore, chop, mince and grind everything. And until you've eaten chicken chow mein soup you haven't truly lived. Also, anything that has been chopped and ground can be mixed with cooked pasta and baked with sauce. The only thing necessary is to give the dish either a French or an Italian name. People will accept a lot of funny cooking if they think it is a foreign dish.

I will tell you one truly marvelous result of cooking freezer surprise three nights in a row. You just might get a phone call from your husband or your children in which they tell you that they know how hard you have been working to make Pesach and that they absolutely do not want you to have to add in cooking another weekday meal and they are at the pizza shop and did you want pizza or falafel or maybe some baked ziti? Or maybe you'd like some nice BBQ chicken from the local takeout store?

Just a little note, not so tongue in cheek: these kinds of meals are one of the best reasons for keeping a list of what you have in the freezer and using it up regularly. It avoids those "buried treasures" that surface pre-Pesach.


frumhouse said...

I actually think I have some strawberry ices from last Pesach in the back of my freezer. I'm scared to look back there.

Great recipe ideas - I think?!

Bas~Melech said...

And no fair posting five times in one day! (Or is it 6? I'm having difficulty keeping up...)

Anonymous said...

My boys used to call my freezer the Evil Empire before Pesach. I once served them hot dogs on hamburger buns with sweet lokshen kugel as a side dish. I'd run out of mustard already and wasn't going to open one that close to Pesach. My little one asked for the yellow stuff, so I took out what was left of a jar of apricot jam. He loved it! His wife cannot understand how anyone can put jam on hotdogs. It's one of those pre-pesach stories that make up our family tradition.

Anonymous said...

I tackled my freezer yesterday and it fought back. Amazing the stuff that lives in there that I don't even remember buying. Thank God for Pesach otherwise I would never go near that shelf on the top in the back.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at you ProfK. Thsi posting makes an excellent argument for why people should not buy a large freezer. Far fewer surprises that come out of the little freezer that comes with the fridge. What you call freezer surprise my mother used to call If you don't like it so don't eat meals.

Orthonomics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orthonomics said...

I'm guessing you do NOT sale chometz? The Rabbi of our kehillah has no problem with selling chometz. Since we do so, the full size freezer is the perfect place to keep such. When I'm ready to clean the freezer upstairs that is part of the refrigerator, I just need some little hands to start transporting.

ProfK said...

We do sell chometz. I need the room in the big freezer to empty anything from the upstairs and downstairs refrigerator freezers into. Those two freezers I make Pesachdik. So actually I'm cleaning out three freezers for Pesach--lots of strange meals possible.

Anonymous said...

I think my mom must be related to Allen's mom. That last week before Pesach her attitude is sort of Eat? fine. Don't eat? also fine. She doesn't get in the least upset then if one of us eats cold pizza for breakfast or cereal for dinner.