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Prep Tricks

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

This thread mostly applies to the home gamers, who like myself, love to cook at home, and aren't doing professionally anymore. I'm not sure if these tricks would apply to a commercial kitchen, but some may, depending on the chef, I guess.

 

 

The last few years, I've been getting into different practices for prepping. I'd like to expand on some of these practices, as they apply to cooks and chefs at home, which is a different environment than a commercial kitchen.

 

The first thing I changed was chopping up onion and pepper beforehand and freezing them raw in a plastic container. Then whenever I need chopped onion and pepper, which is fairly common, they readily at hand.

 

A little while later, I added chopped celery to that which, if you're a food nerd like me, ended up being bery interesting.

 

A funny thing happens to celery when you freeze it. Being that it's so rich in moisture, I think the corpusels break when you freeze it. Then, when you thaw it, the celery softens up and gives up a bunch of the celery juice that was trapped inside it. So, when you make say tuna fish salad, you have chopped onion and celery at hand, and when you thaw the celery, it softens up, juices up, and you can add all this to you salad. Then, you don't have to add so much celery salt because you're already getting a bunch of celery juice from thawing the frozen celery.

 

 

 

If you look closely, you'll see on the right side of the monkey dish, a pool of celery juice.

 

I'll continue this thread on my laptop, my desktop needs a reboot.

 

Chow

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

All these prep changes came about because I wanted to raise the quality of what I was cooking, but I didn't really have the time prep on the fly. So, I looked for ways that would give me more and expanded options, that could be implemented on the fly, so to speak.

 

The next thing I want to bring up is garlic. Aaaah, sweet, wonderful garlic. What a joy garlic

brings to the kitchen. My wife, Terri, and I were in Costco awhile back, and Terri walked up to me with a bag of garlic. Hmmm. The garlic was all peeled and cleaned in a plastic bag. I don't think it was very expensive, around $5 or so I think. So, I thought, what the heck, let's try this out.

 

We picked it up and brought it home. I divied up the bag into plastic containers and took some and put into the food processor to chop up. After processing, I put the chopped garlic into a container and gave it a bath of EVOO. Shelf life of this seems to be upwards of two months. Maybe a little longer. What I have in the refrigerator is out two months right now and seems fine. I think the EVOO bath is keeping the air away from the chopped garlic and extending the shelf life.

 

Here's a pic of what it looks like coming out of the container.

 

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Here's a pic of it in the container. Unprocessed.

 

 

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One other benefit to doing garlic this way, you can still thaw a few cloves and slice them up for saute. They do give up some their firmness to the freezer, but I think this is far outweighed by the convenience of always having good solid garlic to add to your recipes.

 

The container of chopped is way better than your standard chopped garlic in a jar. I compared them side by side, being a food nerd and all, just had to check it out. The fresh processed is very different than the chopped in a jar you get at the store.

 

Chow,

Jimmy

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Another thing I like to do is to buy fresh herbs at your local market and come home and process them and freeze them.

 

Here's a couple pics:

 

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I bring home the fresh herbs, rinse them, process them, put them into ziplock bags, label them, and throw them in the freezer. Then, when you want to add mint to your iced tea pitcher, you have them readily at hand. Adding chives to you baked potato(or sour cream), you can do it in a jif.

 

Enhancing your options in the kitchen isn't all that hard if you use your imagination.

 

Chow,

Jimmy

post #4 of 5

I love the way your mind works...If you have it in bulk, process it and freeze it... In theory that works for me too...When im in the mood...So often, i cant be bothered and my well intentioned store of herbs etc. ends up as  a blob of goo in the base of the salad box. 

The next stage is a mess of bags and containers in the freezer that get forgotten about which is only discovered when its defrost time.

 

If you have a system for keeping track of your goodies, I'd be really glad to hear it.

 

Welcome to CT BTW look forward to hearing more from you

 

Bug

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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks bug.

In refrigerator, I use Debbie Meyer green bags. Slows things down a little.
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