Monday, June 28, 2010

Project Freezer & Baking for a Friend

Now is the time of year when the farmer's market really gets busy. I can always tell because in the winter it takes me 30 seconds to find a parking spot... but right about mid-June, it's a whole different ball game. There are cherries, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and the early veggies of summer - zucchini, green beans, even corn is coming this week. So, a girl's mind turns to the freezer. I need to start freezing up huge bags of strawberries and blueberries and peaches and corn... so that I can eat smoothies and summery flavors all winter long.

Unfortunately for me, my freezer is still jam-packed with autumn's bounty. I've got a problem! So, this week, I am on a serious mission to make way for summery goodness in that puny little freezer of ours. Out with the old and in with the new...

First up, a delicious dinner: Black Bean & Barley Chili (from 500 Vegan Recipes), Roasted Butternut Squash, and garlicky kale. This utilized: 1 butternut squash from the garage (last fall's harvest), 1 big bag of blanched kale from the freezer, 1 big jar of canned tomatoes from last summer, & 1 zucchini from our summer garden. We both really loved this chili, and the addition of barley in the chili was a great idea... chewy and substantial and a great balance to the spicy flavors.

Chipotle, Seitan & Potato Tacos from Viva Vegan. YUM! These were a great dinner... the marinade that the seitan and potatoes are cooked with was working some serious magic on my tastebuds. I will most definitely make these again, though next time I'll probably splurge and make or buy some salsa to go along with them. This delicious meal was also a real bonanza from the freezer: chipotle peppers, frozen seitan, & frozen corn tortillas. Very nice!

I have two primary problems in my freezer: frozen pumpkin/butternut squash, and frozen persimmon. I have a lot of both of these things. There are plenty of appealing pumpkin recipes out there in the world... but not quite so many for persimmon. My clever friend Sophia figured out that you can cook down persimmon (slowly, on very low heat, for a long time) until it loses a lot of its moisture, and then use it in recipes that call for pumpkin. So, with her glorious suggestion, I made these amazing Persimmon Bagels (originally Pumpkin Bagels from 500 Vegan Recipes). These are SO GOOD. It was my first time making bagels, and they turned out just perfectly, and I am so stoked to have such a yummy way to make use of persimmon puree.

I also put some pumpkin and persimmon to use with these goodies: Pumpkin Molasses Power Bars (with 1/2 pumpkin and half persimmon) from 500 Vegan Recipes, and a big batch of 8 HUGE scones (recipe from swell zine) - I subbed in Butternut Squash for the sweet potato, and ended up with these amazing Butternut-Cranberry scones. You can't really tell here, but that Pumpkin Molasses Power Bar is about 2.5-3 inches across... those scones are some serious monsters of yumminess. I could have made them smaller, but where's the fun in that? As an added bonus, I also got to use up 2 cups of frozen cranberries from my poor, overused freezer in the scones. Of course, for the record, it should be noted that I now have a freezer filled with a giant bag of scones and another giant bag of bagels, but somehow I don't think it will take me too long to make my way through those goodies!

The Persimmon-Pumpkin Power Bars were packed up nicely and tucked into a ziplock bag for a care package...

... along with some Peanut Butter Crackers (500 Vegan Recipes). These Peanut Butter Crackers were hard to part with... It was my first time making crackers and they were quick, easy, and very tasty. Now that I have opened the door to the wonderful world of cracker making, there will be no turning back!

... & finally some Double Chocolate Almond Cookies (a favorite from Vive Le Vegan), for a friend in need of some love from afar. Godspeed little package!

... now I'm off to hunt down more uses for frozen pumpkin, persimmon, seitan, and so on!


  1. everything looks so awesome! and the bagels, omg, perfection! i was planning on being scholarly and reading tonight, but i think i may make bagels instead (ie practice bagel scholarship?).

  2. fabulous...everything looks amazanly delicious.


  3. Yay care package! I love those crackers from 500 vegan recipes. They are pretty addictive. I recently found some canned black gonna make the chili!

  4. Anonymous3:57 AM

    Those tacos sound delicious. I really need to get my hands on a copy of Viva Vegan! Your baked goods look lovely. I love that chocolate cookie recipe. Whoever is receiving that care package will be super happy!

  5. I love the labels you put on your freezer bags! Especially with what cookbook the recipe is from. I end up with 'mystery' things in my freezer!

  6. Oh man, everything looks so good! I need to get better about freezing things.

  7. Anonymous5:37 PM

    I am SO jealous of your frozen persimmons! I love persimmons more than just about anything...they are so good. Now I am craving them, lol. It will be a long few months before they are in season again... :-)


  8. Aw I love those peanut butter cookies, so adorable!

    That reminds me... I have tons of frozen pumpkin too...

    I like your blog! We should swap links!

  9. Oh my, the tacos look so yummy! and those have to be the cutest care packages! :-)

  10. Please come and bake for me!!! Wow, it all looks amazing. :)


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