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*For this week's Fridgin' Out, Jud-san nosed around his mama's fridge, who lives in midtown Manhattan. Enjoy!

I spend a lot of time cooking at my mom’s kitchen. It is bigger and better equipped than mine. Plus, there’s a dishwasher. Mom tends to keep the fridge well stocked with staples like milk, juices, eggs, etc.

Top shelf, left to right: saran-wrapped bowl of black beans brazilian style, cranberry juice behind that, carrot juice, spicy peanut butter, brita, acai juice, congealed peanut oil, cream, milk, cider from Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Farmer's Market.

Middle shelf, left to right: eggs, roasted garlic in the jar, parmesan in the small container, white chocolate peanut butter (ooh la la), sauteed artichoke and bluefish in the bowls, mint jelly behind that, several jams, including Morphakis brand bitter orange marmalade.

My first desert island ingredient would be the egg – I could eat them a different way every day of the week.

This Spring I sautéed tons of baby artichokes and still have a few. All of my roasted peppers are gone now – they go quick. The roasted garlic is another homemade staple. We can never have enough hot sauces, chutneys, and cranberry preserves to go along with a simple roast chicken.

Bottom shelf, left to right: grated parm, lemon mayo, sundried tomatoes, lime juice, bubbly rose, asparagus water in the jar, leftover asparagus, jar of canned peaches, Fage yogurt, preserved lemons in the back, pitted olives. On far right is cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and greek butter (made from sheep's milk).

The preserved lemons are one of my favorites. I got the recipe from the back of the New York Times magazine almost ten years ago. They are a great addition to pasta, stews, and sautéed greens. For a party once, I pitted green olives, and then stuffed them with a piece of preserved lemon and a piece of anchovy. They were gone almost immediately.

Censored fridge door!:
Top shelf from left to right: Roland dijon mustard, olive paste, Maggi's seasoning, honey mustard, Soy Sauce, Harissa, cocktail sauce, Worchester sauce, hot sauce for fish - the bottle is in the shape of a shark, pumpkin seed oil, Thai Chili-Garlic sauce, Habanero sauce, Papaya Curry Sauce.

Bottom shelf left to right: vitamins, bbq sauce, coriander chutney, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 03, huge jars of capers, the house white.

For the past few years I’ve started making ingredients and buying condiments that will last for months. These full flavored ingredients can be added to simple proteins, vegetables, and starches to give them character and flavor I would be unable to find anywhere else but a home kitchen. And of course what proper household doesn’t have a bottle of chilled white wine on hand at all times?

Freezer: butter, phyllo dough, chili, veggies, frozen wheat cake wrappers called Tokyo Kawa Wantan (or something like that).

The freezer is a little boring now – I haven’t made any ice cream or such in awhile. But there’s always ice. And it’s nice to have some frozen stew (this time chili) to pop in the microwave.

Preserved Lemons
Adapted from Paula Wolfert

12 Lemons
1/4 cup (more if necessary) Kosher Salt
2 Bay leaves
2 Cardamom pods, crushed

Wash and scrub the lemons well under very warm water.
Squeeze the juice from 6 lemons
Cut the remaining 6 lemons into quarters, leaving one end uncut so the fruit remains intact.
Rub the insides and outsides of the lemons very generously with kosher salt.
Layer the lemons, bay leaves, cardamom, and remaining salt in a clean jar.
Pour lemon juice over salted lemons to cover – add more if necessary.
Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days.

Jud-san is a theater director who currently lives in Astoria, Queens. His upcoming play, Code Alpha will open at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, on May 31st.
Column: Fridgin Out


  • i’m definitely gonna save the asparagus h2o the next time i boil them. good call!!!

    kayoko on

  • update: Mom made asparagus soup with the “asparagus water” and Kayoko had the brilliant idea to use it for risotto.

    JUD-SAN on

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