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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (11/19/10) ~

Culinary Q & A #2

It is an unusual Friday afternoon here at Melanie's Kitchen.  It is the end of November, the sun is shining, there is no breeze and the doors across the back of my house (the afternoon sun hits them) are wide open.  I'm planning to enjoy this afternoon, "the calm before the storm" so to speak, because as my close friend Faith so poignantly pointed out to me on Wednesday, "now it begins."  I knew exactly what she was talking about. 

Starting tomorrow, the grocery stores and mega-marts will be filled with people, everything from apples to zinfandel will start to disappear from the shelves and home cooks everywhere will begin planning the first of three big holiday celebrations:  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  Between my assistant Jeanne and my husband Joe, my food shopping is under control (except for those few last minute items that always crop up).  So where I am going with all of this?  Let's get back to my Wednesday conversation with Faith:

Faith has known me for at least twenty years and probably closer to twenty-five.  Before she was married with three children and more pets that I can count, she used to spend a lot of time with Joe and myself, including many of our Thanksgiving feasts.  But that isn't the only reason we don't get to see her as often as we'd like.  Being the crazed, driven, glutton-for-punishment person that she is, she decided to buy and restore a hotel in her hometown of Philipsburg, PA:  The Philips Hotel and 1921 Restaurant (  While chatting with me via her cell phone on Wednesday she was picking out fresh lobsters for The Philips once monthly Lobster Night.  Faith has always been one of my greatest advocates and supporters, and she presented Kitchen Encounters with a special request:

C.  Faith says:  Mel I just love your blog and I read it every morning like the newspaper.  I went out and bought a bread machine, made your brioche recipe and I LOVE IT!  I've watched you over the years, and you make everything you do look so easy, and I know it is because I've watched you do a lot of work in advance.  I'd like it if you would share "all that stuff" with the rest of us.  Would you please add a category to your blog... something that has to do with make-ahead and freeze?Fixed Freezer

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Faith,  I went to bed last night pondering your request (I do some of my best pondering at 3:00 AM)!

I realized that I really do take advantage of all of my freezer space to get a lot of my work done in advance (I also have 3 full-size freezers).  I spend a lot of my "off-time" making things that make great meals possible quickly! 

Here is a culinary tour of my kitchen freezer as of this morning:

On the top shelf of my freezer is beef, chicken, duck, lobster and veal stock.  Next shelf down is marinara sauce, chili sauce for hot dogs, chili and white chicken chili.  Next one down is meatballs and pumpkin puree.  The lowest shelf contains  two veal lasagnas, two beef and mushroom lasagnas, one casserole of chicken cacciatore and some homemade sausages.  On the door you'll find my peach preserves, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, apple-raisin chutney and rhubard-ginger chutney.  The drawers (except one that is the ice maker) are full of different types of homemade pasta, six homemade Sicilian-style pizzas and four small meatloaves!!!

When I look at the above, even I say, "geeze, you do a lot of work in advance!"  So, it is with great pleasure that as of today, Kitchen Enounters is announcing a new Category #22:

~ Alert!!! Can be Made Ahead and Frozen! ~

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010) 


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Thanks Mel, today's blog is wonderful in content, and personally touching. It's nice to have such a great friend. And a big thank you for the new category. If my guess is right, your followers will quickly love/appreciate it as much as I do!

Thanks, Faith

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