30 October 2012

Ready For a Hurricane? When In Doubt ... Cook!

I woke to the most unsettling news bites yesterday morning. As I booted up the computer to look at the latest radar images of this hurricane dubbed 'Frankenstorm', my husband was tuning into the local weather on the television. "Widespread power outages are expected", ..."urged to prepare for the worst", " take a picture of your immediate vicinity before and after ...when you can, send them to 9 News update", and more churned from the television.

Holy Smokes! This was being handled as a real 100 year storm! Already, the sky was literally grey-pink all over, which brings new meaning to the old weather adage, "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning ...". As the sun rose, we wondered, just what the next two days would bring. I prayed that everyone of my large extended family and all my friends up and down the Eastern Seaboard were safe and ready for this storm and that Hurricane Sandy calmed down quickly once she made landfall ... and then it was time to get the house ready and ourselves prepared for the worst!

We stocked the water, wood, and got the candles and flashlights and lanterns ready for action.  Then, we watched the wind pick up. The phone lines went dead midmorning, but power held. We used our sketchy cell phones to make garbled phone calls to family and friends and then, showered and got things cleaned up (just in case we couldn't for a couple days). Then, I cooked ... bread for sandwiches and a roasted chicken for a meal and soup stock. We boiled some eggs for an easy egg salad or green salad meal. That was it ... the plan was that meals would center around those three main ingredients over the next few days and we would eat what's in the fridge ( this, assuming a power outage made using things up necessary before they lose their integrity).

Last evening, the power flickered on and off, but held. We were able to watch in horror as NYC braced for record high tides and storm surge. I shot a fast FB message off to Kate in Brooklyn, hoping to hear from her. Sara called from Boston to say she was buttoned up tight and trying to salvage a chicken soup (epic noodle fail). She was safe and sound. Eric was incommunicado over in the wilds of Rindge where he has just moved ... I hope he didn't park his car under any trees! That remains to be seen, as I still haven't heard from him. We've made it through the night and still have power ... it's weirdly calm now with occasional bands of wind that pass through, but the rain has finally let up and things seem to be calming down.

Time to make some soup and contemplate just how lucky we have been! Chicken soup and matzo balls will be comforting today, as we clean up the property and carve a Halloween pumpkin. I keep hoping everyone else has been as fortunate as we have been ... the phones are still down. Small change compared to many others ...

24 October 2012

We Should Cocoa ... Pumpkin Eclairs!

These little devils have been on my culinary bucket list for a good while ! Eclairs are one of Silent Bob's favorite pastries. We oogle them whenever we go into a bakery of note and I always tell him that  I will learn how to make them for him! I'm so glad I screwed up my courage and tackled them! They weren't perfect - there was a bit too much salt in the choux and the eclair shells didn't stay as puffed as I would have liked, but they were fantastic for a beginner eclair maker ... me!

22 October 2012

Two Words ...

Ducks ... Row
Macintosh ? ... No
Empire ! ... Spice
Crimping ... Nice!
Crispy Topper ...

Show Stopper ...

18 October 2012

The Butcher's Sauce - Random Recipes

an ode to orange ... 

What's at 'the back of  beyond' in your cupboard  (or freezer, in my case) ? This month's Random Recipe challenge was to reach into the back of your pantry and bring out a box, can, bag, packet, what ever! Next, go to a cookbook and find a recipe that uses that 'forgotten' ingredient. Well, that's clever, Dom!

13 October 2012

Carrot Latkes ... Light Lunch or Appetizers

These little fried latkes give tradition such a tweek on the nose! They're sweet and crunchy on two fronts - from the carrot flesh and from the fast crisping that they get in a wee bit of fry oil. What a treat! I made them as a light lunch. With a dollop of Greek yogurt and a little mound of cilantro chutney, they were delicious little bites. So tasty and different!

11 October 2012

High Fiber Rye and Currant Bread - BYOB !

"Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all."                 
                                                                        - Nelson Mandela

I came upon this recipe on the Web a few weeks back and have been just waiting for a time when I was in the mood for a hearty ham and cheese sandwich ... that time is here. The recipe was originally called Molasses Fennel Rye Bread, however I changed a few things in the recipe - more yeast, currants instead of raisins, sugar in the yeast proof to 'push' the yeast a bit early on, less salt, less ginger, and some bread flour added to the white flour measure. Hence, I changed the name. I plan to bake a small ham tomorrow. It will be sliced and slathered with spicey whole grain mustard, layered with a nice Gouda and pressed between slices of this bread. A cold beer, a chilled dill pickle, a pile of chips on the side and I will be in heaven ... anticipation is half of life, folks!

09 October 2012

Corn and Crabmeat Chowder

The past weekend took us up the Connecticut River Valley to leaf peep and collect pumpkins and the last of the sweet corn to be found. Our drive out and about was a warm, humid affair. Dark clouds hovered and it threatened rain all day  - the weather was kind of spooky. It was like summer and fall were fighting over the space. Finally, last evening the rains passed through and a cool front has settled over New Hampshire. Looks like fall won the battle; we have a fire in the stove today to take the chill off and I have made a warm soup.

07 October 2012

Whole Wheat Scones with Cherries and Almonds

Oldest daughter Kate and her special friend came home for the weekend to admire the foliage, sleep late in a quiet country environment, and knosh well without eating out in restaurants. After stuffing them full of Sicilian Caponata, Chicken Piccata, salad, bread and plenty of wine on Friday evening, I thought we'd go light on Saturday breakfast ... coffee and a scone and then a nice walk about in the New England splendor!

Kate was duly impressed by my latest vintage find and it fit the theme of the weekend.

Longest Covered Bridge in the World

04 October 2012

Wild Mushroom Stew on Creamy Polenta

This meal has all the Fall colors ... golden polenta, deep red sauce, smoky brown mushrooms and stew vegetables, deep green kale, and crispy brown bread for dipping.

03 October 2012

Gluten-Free Pear Crisp

I bought myself a new flamewear pot this week and SB picked pears from the back yard tree. The pot is lovely to look at - the pears not so much. They taste spectacular though, not overly sweet but with just enough juice and sugar to be great for eating from the palm or putting in a salad or crisp. To boot, they have no pesticides on them at all. During the summer, we have picked/trapped the Japanese beetles  and snipped out a gross nest of tent caterpillars before the varmints could damage the tree. The deer haven't discovered them yet, either!  We've been rewarded with a few dozen little knobby pears. We've had them in spinach salad, but tonight we're having a dinner party and one of our guests needs gluten-free fare. It's pear crisp coming right up!