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The Two Car Freezer

January 3, 2018

When the weather dips down below zero degrees, I’ve learned that my heater needs a heater.

This is winter in Albany. It’s what we signed up for when we moved here. There are crazy people in these parts who will jump in a freezing lake. I can’t even begin to comprehend that. I can barely get into a swimming pool if it is 70 degrees.

And it could be worse. It could be snowing buckets. There could be a 100 car pile-up on the highway like there was in Buffalo yesterday. The people who have it worst of all are the ones who live in an area unaccustomed to winter precipitation, and are dealing with the rare snowfall.

Watching snow plows try to clear the roads in Princeton was hilarious.

As much as I don’t enjoy being cold, I really really enjoy cold weather cooking. There is a reason why I don’t make giant pots of chicken stock, soups, or beans during the spring and summer. Actually, there are two.

The obvious answer is how much they heat up the house.

I’ve never understood summer canning or jam making. I suppose if I was completely drowning in fresh seasonal fruit and it was either lose all that deliciousness or suffer through a hot kitchen on a hot summer’s day, I would suck it up.

But in winter, those long braised, boiled, and simmered dishes are a godsend. Part of me wants to abandon the pressure cooker for the stock making, but the end product is just so much better using the Fagor.

Still, today I was reducing a blended batch of stock and second stock. When it was quite reduced, I gave my son a taste of the viscous golden liquid, and he beamed. Sometimes I’ll wish he was a more adventurous eater, but by golly that kid really does appreciate good food.

Part of me wants to keep making extra large batches of stock this week, just so I can spend a few more hours reducing it on Saturday.

You know, the day when the high temperature in Albany is projected to be zero. But, I digress.

The other reason I don’t make stock, soups, or beans during the non-winter months is because cooling them down is a chore. I’ve chilled down a batch of stock in a sink full of ice before, but that feels wasteful. I’ve wrapped my bowls in ice packs and shoved them in the kitchen refrigerator. However, our refrigerator is not just small, but also old. Plus during the summer, it’s often filled up with bounty from the CSA.

When winter rolls around, the problem of cooling down large quantities of hot liquids fades away. I can simply cover the bowls and put them out in the garage. Heck, I’ve even put stock pots out in the snow directly on the back deck.

One just has to be careful not to freeze one’s foods.

I was so into the stock and soup making yesterday that I ran out of large sized pots to soak a fresh batch of black beans. But that’s okay. I’m ready for another round. We have plenty of chicken carcasses saved up in the freezer. I could do this all winter.

Actually, that’s my plan.

Stock. Soups. Beans. And tea. I’m going to drink a lot of tea. And maybe a stew or two. I’ve got a nice fat chuck roast in the freezer that’s just waiting to come out. On top of that, the boy has put in a request for split pea soup.

What are other people cooking out there to enjoy this season?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2018 12:06 pm

    Youvarlakia, a Greek meatball soup laced with lemon and thickened with eggs, made with homemade stock cooled down in my garagerator. Pure comfort. Goes well with thick socks.

  2. albanylandlord permalink
    January 3, 2018 12:23 pm

    Your Black Beans recipe. Again.

  3. enough already! permalink
    January 3, 2018 7:42 pm

    POSOLE with pork shoulder

  4. Lauren Darman permalink
    January 10, 2018 4:07 pm

    Marinara sauce with meat – made with the odd bits of beef you throw in the freezer when you clean your meat, use some leftover holiday wine and simmer for a few hours = ragu! Also lentil soup, leftover ham and yam and can of butter bean soup. Brownies, perhaps a sour cream coffee cake. I agree – no jam making in July!

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