Friday Freezer Frugality


Maybe I’m on a kick after my cash-saving advice a few weeks back, or maybe I’m just smarting from having to lay out big bucks for a new water heater, but a trip to the freezer today reminded me of another thing I do around the kitchen that saves time and prevents waste.

Since I lack the patience or energy to sit down and make my own chicken or beef stock like a good home cook, I’m constantly cracking open a can of the low-sodium broth for dishes.  Of course, the cans never give me exactly the amount that I need for a dish, so there is invariably some remaining.  When this happens, I’m off to the silicone ice tray (yes, it does put a goofy dice design in them) and create perfect one-ounce packages that I can use to augment when I don’t have enough or for when I only need a quarter cup or so.

You’ll notice that they’re kept in the Reynolds Handi-Vac freezer bags.  Gimmick?  Maybe.  But I got the vacuum for free from someone handing them out on the street corner after the product launched and I do find that my meat has less of that grey funkiness when I use the bags.   I like to think that, in this case, it prevents sublimation.  (And you thought you’d never use that stuff you learned in chemistry!)

Obviously, you can tell I love having these quick-cubes lying around in the freezer, but I need to make sure I don’t accidentally slip them into a drink!  Speaking of which, what better way to be frugal than to save the ten bills it would cost you for a martini at the bar and make one at home like I do most Fridays?  Find out how after the jump.

There’s nothing fancy about this recipe, but it’s a classic for a reason.  Why cover up good liquor with a crappy syrup mixer?

I hesitate to even call this a “recipe,” as it’s something that you can easily commit to memory and use to unwind by yourself or impress your friends without your nose in the bartender guide.  When you get home from work, or about ten minutes before you want to serve, put the martini glass and the shaker in the freezer.  For one martini, take out about four or five good sized ice cubes and crush the ice…not powder fine but not too course.  I don’t have an ice crusher, so I usually bang it out in my mortar and pestle.

Take out the shaker and put the ice in.  I don’t like my martini that dry, so I go with about three quarters of an ounce or a quick pour from the bottle of dry vermouth into the ice.  Shake it well a few times and pour the vermouth into the martini glass from the freezer, running the liquid around and pouring it out.  Then add two jiggers (3 oz total) of GOOD gin to the shaker.  This is not a place to cut corners, as your gin is front and center.  I’m a big fan of the Philadelphia-distilled Bluecoat Gin, but go with what you like.

Shake it about ten times vigorously, then pour it into the glass.  I keep a jar of pimento-stuffed olives in the fridge and I throw in a bunch.  If you’re looking to class it up a bit, pick up some olives stuffed with gorgonzola or feta cheese for some added zing.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend than to know you’ve saved a few bucks. Just don’t drop any chicken stock into your drink!

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