22 January 2009

Frozen food

We use our garage as a big icebox in the winter. It's attached to our house and the door is right off the kitchen. We regularly make soups, sauces, and rice, and there are always more big pots than will fit into our refrigerator. Some years ago I made a stand to hold coats, hats, and boots, but it's never served its original purpose; instead, it serves as an extended refrigerator shelf.
Our garage is semi-insulated, and even when the temperatures are cold, the garage usually stays quite a few degrees warmer than outside. Well, this winter has proved to be no exception -- the garage is still warmer than outside -- but many of the things we've put out there have frozen. It doesn't help that we've had a very cold winter, with temperatures regularly below 0°F, and a few days below -20°F.
Today we made country ribs with sauerkraut in the slow cooker, and my wife was a little disappointed with the result. I think the sauerkraut froze. I put the pot of sauerkraut out there last week; we had eaten from the batch a few times already, and there was still enough left for a good meal. But, the briny tang that usually accompanies our home-cured sauerkraut was absent from tonight's dish. Long, slow cooking always softens the flavors and texture of the cabbage, but this time the taste was even more neutral, though it carried some of the flavors of the fatty pork, onions, and apples with which it simmered all day long.
With it I drank a 2006 Fish label Selbach Riesling Kabinett, a lively wine with a petroleum-like nose, followed by a burst of crisp green apple and nice acidity. This is a second label wine for Selbach-Oster, and is reasonably priced at around $12.00.
I like the room that our garage gives us in the winter, but I have to be careful when the weather is cold enough to hurt sauerkraut.

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