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I'm a pack rat. I save things, in case I might need it some day. I like to have a full pantry and a full freezer. I don't like to throw things out.
It's not my fault, though. It's genetic. My father was a pack rat.
He loved working with wood in his spare time; building book cases, small tables, corner shelves…. His garage was always filled with scraps of wood; bits of this and that. In order to get into the car on 'his' side one had to carefully walk on the pile of boards. My mother's 'side' was kept clear.
The only big fight I remember my parents having was when my mother decided to clean my father's garage.
In retrospect I can't believe she had the audacity to do it, but she did. And I don't remember HOW she did it. She didn't drive, and we didn't have a second car. We kids were in school so we couldn't bear witness to the deed. I just remember getting home from school and seeing an immaculate garage: the floor clean, tools neatly hung up on the walls, my father's workbench tidied up, and not a scrap of precious wood anywhere.
Frankly, I'm surprised both parents survived the incident. My father was surely at risk of heart failure from the incredible anger he felt at having all of his stored wood summarily dispatched to who knows where, not to mention being devastated from having his sanctuary so violated. My mother, well, 'nuff said on why SHE was at risk…
To be fair, she had been asking him to 'straighten it out' for, oh, I don't know, 5 years? 10 years?
My father was a laid back, gentle soul who didn't let little things like climbing over boards to get in the car bother him. And he would spend hours in his garage creating useful and beautiful things out of his 'scraps'.
My mother was a 'no nonsense, a place for everything and everything in it's place sort'; all unnecessary or unused items quickly disposed of, either to charity or the dump.
I feel both of them, at odds in me: my desire for a neat, orderly house warring with the urge to keep it 'in case I might need it/have use for it' someday.
So, I guess I'm a neat pack rat.
One of the things that happens every year, chez moi, is that I carefully fill my freezer with courgette, pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, herbs, etc. all summer and fall. By the end of the season my vegetable freezer is full to bursting with the summer's bounty.
Then I don't use it. I save it.
To be fair, it's nice to take a break; to buy local winter vegetables; cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sunchokes; things I don't grow.
Now it's February, time to start working seriously on the freezer. Everything always gets eaten before it's time to start filling it again. It usually stands empty for all of June. But mon mari has been, er, reminding me…
Courgette (zucchini) is one of the most freezer friendly (after tomatoes) vegetables I grow.
To use as a vegetable: simply shred it and pop it into freezer bags: 1 1/2 cups frozen yields 1 cup usable. (It releases a lot of water on thawing.)
To use I toss into soups, stir-fries, casseroles or just quickly sauté with shallots or onions.
I also freeze it for soup: cut it into chunks and heat it with a bit of chicken or vegetable stock, just until boiling. Cool and freeze in 2 cup containers.
I used to think that there was nothing worthy in zucchini; no health benefits at all; probably because everyone was always trying to get rid of them. I mean, If they were good for you people would eat them, right? Rather than leave them on the neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night?
I was wrong (Whew, glad I got that over for the year- my annual mistake)
The lovely green monster is loaded with vitamins, especially the B's, and minerals, even iron!
So: it's easy to grow, easy to freeze and healthy to boot! Let's hear it for Courgette!! And summer!
This Weekend Herb Blogging, the fantastic event founded by Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen, is being hosted by my friend Ulrike, of Kuchenlatein. Visit her blog on Monday for veggie-centric recipes from around the world.
Courgette (Zucchini) Soup
2 cups chopped zucchini, un-peeled (or one container of frozen-for-soup)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
1 tsp thyme
2 tbs (1 oz, 30 ml) Crème fraiche or Greek yogurt for garnish
Chop onion and zucchini. In medium saucepan sauté onion in butter until transparent. Add zucchini, thyme and just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Puree solids, adding enough of the stock to get the consistency for the soup that you like – we like it thick. Serve, either hot or cold, with a dollop of crème fraiche in the center (draw a knife through it to make fancy patterns if you are feeling creative).
Summer: For chilled soup make at least 2 hours or up to 1 day in advance. Garnish with freshly snipped chives or a dollop of homemade pesto.
Winter: Serve hot, garnished with some freshly ground pepper……. Not necessary to wield a
3 foot tall pepper grinder at the table, however.
Computer tip of the day: (a bit of unsolicited, unpaid for, information) If you like music while you're on the computer, have you tried Radio 365? I found this about a year ago, when the actual radio station I was listening to discovered I was in France and cut me off. It's free and they have about a gazillion 'stations' that play whatever you want… I've had it on my computer for over a year with no problems.
Back to the food… Don't forget: Monday, Kuchenlatein.
Oh, and my father? Six months later his garage was comfortably back to normal; his tools strewn about where he could find them; a pile of lumber slowly growing along one wall. My mother never cleaned it again.
Détente was established.