Butter, cayenne, rosemary, brown sugar. This is the combo that defines ‘use #24′ for ice cube trays. In my mind anyway. I haven’t listed, in order, the first 23 or the following 26. But if I were to make a list, this little combined foursome would be on it.
I am in heaven every time I find a new use for ice cube trays—and increase my freezer smarts. I think the freezer has gotten a bit of a bad wrap: associated with frozen food (‘far from the farm’, over-processed food), freezer burn and frozen packages of god-knows-what-that-is from four years ago… Huh. No wonder it has gotten a bad wrap.
BUT in my life, my freezer is my friend—the kind I would squeeze-hug if I could (though I am not a fan of shivering). The freezer rocks my culinary world. It is tantamount to my well-functioning kitchen.
So every time I hear someone’s trick for freezing-pesto-in-ice cube trays, or fresh squeezed lemon juice or just-chopped herbs… I have a rather-large grin frozen on my face. Another good freezer idea? Count me in. My own bread crumbs, little ‘ice cubes’ of leftover wine (for ragus, sauces), even Parmesan rinds to later flavor a soup. There are countless brilliant little ways to use your freezer—one ice cube (okay, or one Ziploc bag LOVE THEM!) at a time.
There are things I love: using my freezer, learning everything I can about food, trying new recipes that my family might adore… and roasting vegetables. To name a few. We adore roasted vegetables; the flavor, ease, timing… and usually I just lube vegetables in olive oil and give them a good sprinkling of kosher salt and coarse pepper. But my absolute new favorite combination to toss vegetables with is ‘ice cube tray use #24′: a pre-made frozen cube of this particular compound butter. Its especially good with sweet potatoes.
I freeze—in ice cube trays—a mix of the butter (3 T) with finely chopped rosemary (1-2 T), a dash of cayenne and large pinch of salt plus a dose of brown sugar (2-3 tsp). So when I chop up the parsnips and carrots or want to give my green beans a good sizzle-in-the-pan, I just grab a ‘cube.’
Makes me so happy… it sends chills down my spine.
More freezer smarts:
- freezing pesto in cubes (from Talk of Tomatoes Archives)
- make-ahead Parmesan Gougeres from The Italian Dish
- Tuscan Ragu freezes well… and unfreezes in the time it takes for your pasta to boil. Fantastic tips and recipe from Over a Tuscan Stove
- Saving leftover herbs from The Ktchn
- tomato sauce — a delicious, lovingly made base for countless recipes (from Talk of Tomato Archives); store in ice cube size or Ziploc bag portions.