At many workplaces it’s the time of year when the budget for the next year is cast. Targets are set. Charters are drawn for new initiatives. Conference rooms are full of debate over where to set the mark.
Having grown up in an environment where competition and achievement are highly valued, the concept of besting the best is second nature. I enjoy setting stretch goals and find myself challenging others where I believe the bar can rise a bit. However, there’s a concept known as sandbagging.
Sandbagging is where someone plays beneath their ability on purpose or where they don’t let on that they have it in the bag before they establish a target.
In an odd sort of way, prepping vegetables so that I’ll have them ready for winter recipes is my own private sandbagging. On a recent weekend, with ample CSA produce backed up, I fired up the oven and went to work roasting vegetables into forms fit for freezing. As I struggle with the back to schedule, I’m finding this is a handy shortcut to getting a meal on the table quickly.
Recently, I roasted beets, summer squash, tomatoes and butternut squash. Once they are finished, I allow them to cool and then place them in glass jars in the refrigerator. I’ve found that I have to cool the glass before placing it in the freezer as all glass is not created equal and some of it breaks. I’m also saving my family from any plastic leaching that occurs in the freezing or thawing process.
The beets are quartered into chunks that will be perfect to throw into salads or tarts. I ran the tomatoes through my vitamix and then put the sauce in jars. Later it will make a terrific pasta topper or resting place for slices of polenta. I also pureed the summer squash. It’s an easy addition to any soup or soup on it’s own. I also like it over pasta but as with most dishes, my palate needs this spiced up in order to be really pleasing.
I scooped out the butternut with all sorts of ideas like raviolis and terrines yet last week, pulled it out and served it dusted with a bit of sage and butter. No sense complicating it and it disappeared from the table quickly.
Freezing has been a method of food preservation ever since freezers became wildly available. Keeping foods frozen for a long period of time doesn’t compromise safety but it will affect taste – especially for meat, poultry or fish. With fruits and vegetables, we get a longer reprieve but it’s still a good idea to use everything within a year. It’s important to keep the freezer cold and remember that freezing doesn’t kill bacteria so cooking the food after freezing is necessary.
So I ask, is it sandbagging or is it a smart short cut? I’m going with the latter but wildly interested in other ways that you find to feed a family fast. Hints?