Surviving Sandy: Foodie Style

We all know what happens when the imminent threat of a natural disaster is on its way. First we panic, turn on every weather channel known to cable, open multiple tabs on our browsers to follow copious storm trackers, have flashbacks of all those natural disaster movies (I’m looking at you Helen Hunt in Twister), and then… well, we hit the grocery store. If you are anything like me, my over-preparedness resulted in two glorious days of browsing recipes, cooking, and baking. I am a cynic by nature (no pun intended) but somehow found myself following the crowd and stalking up on so much food I could have had a neighborhood block party (or four). I felt a need to make- and eat – everything, as if the world actually was going to end tomorrow…

But alas, Sandy spared us some monumental destruction (thank you), except for the few pounds we may have added to the scale (white girl problems), but the forced hibernation was a welcome moment of peace amidst the madness. Something about the sound of heavy wind and rain inspired unplugging and putting hands, and minds, to use elsewhere.

I for one am a huge breakfast person. So staying indoors meant staying in pajamas a little longer, making more breakfast than usual, and planning that night’s lunch or dinner before I even finished my last sip of coffee. One of my favorite comfort foods, which brings me back home to Colombia, is the arepa. For those of you who have never had one, it is a corn-flour tortilla of sorts, similar to a Salvadorean pupusa, which is a vehicle for anything and everything you wish. From avocado and cheese (I go for mozarella or queso fresco), to bacon and other forms of cooked pork (shredded always best), an arepa is a versatile, delicious, comforting staple of Colombian cuisine. Using just cornmeal flour and water, the dough becomes dense and easy to mold, rounded out and grilled on a stovetop. My favorite toppings include butter, melted mozzarella, avocado, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

At the request of my other hibernating companions, I made a very simple pasta, but one that is packed with flavor and goes best with a full-bodied vin rouge. All you need: good white truffle oil. Bowtie pasta cooked al dente, drizzled with white truffle oil, a little butter, and plenty of salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. A first-class meal right at home. I toasted some pine nuts, and chopped some porcini mushrooms, then covered the whole mixture with more parmesan and some slices of proscuitto ham. Bam, Sandy. For late night snacks, a cheese plate accompanied by marcona almonds, fresh rasberries, fig biscotti and olives, accompanied the merlot to perfection. Every rainstorm needs some solid companions.

The We Love DC crew never seizes to impress me, making, baking, writing away through the storm. Below are some of the recipes, and food porn worthy pictures, of what they made, as well as other hibernation fare provided by our readers. Here’s to surviving Sandy, Foodie Style.

Chicken Pot Pie by Marissa

Marissa: Cold and rainy weather with gusty winds meant that I was craving something hot and in the realm of comfort food. I whipped up a chicken pot pie from America’s Test Kitchen and roasted up some beets for a salad with goat cheese. There was roasted eggplant for another salad, but frankly, most of that was consumed within moments of coming out of the oven. Whoops.

Katie: I made white wine and parsley shrimp over grains with smoked salt broccoli, and also healthy vegetarian nachos with greek yogurt instead of sour cream. White wine shrimp is one of the easiest things ever to make. Here’s the “recipe”, and it’s generally made from things you probably keep around the house:

You need:
- As many raw, thawed, tail-on shrimp as you want.
- A bottle of white wine, any kind
- garlic
- parsley, fresh or dry
- butter, salted
- salt and pepper
- rice or whole grains mix to put this whole shrimp concoction on top of

Directions:
Pour yourself a glass of wine. Get frying pan. Start with a glug of white wine in the bottom of the pan. Liquid should cover the bottom of the pan but not be too deep. (This is not going to be a very scientific endeavor, folks.) Add a teaspoon of garlic. Add a slab of salted butter. Drink more wine! Add fresh or dried parsley. Add salt and pepper. Reduce a bit, add in raw, shell-off shrimp. I buy mine in bulk at Whole Foods. If shrimp aren’t plump and pink by the time the wine is gone, add more wine. Flip shrimp to other side. Drink more wine. Remove shrimp and mixture from heat when shrimp are cooked. Slide shrimp and herbs out of pan over rice or grain mix. Drink more wine! Great job. You are good at cooking, you little chef you.

Katie’s parsley shrimp over grains

Tom and Tiffany Bridge: Bacon Maple Biscuits from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook are pretty much the bees’ knees. Bacon, Langdon Wood Bourbon Maple Syrup, a little creamery butter, and some biscuit makings, and you’ve got yourself an awesome breakfast. The hearty beef & barley soup that is a winter favorite is a perfect post-hurricane favorite. An onion, some carrots & celery, softened in a little olive oil, garlic and herbs, to which you add a package of sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, then a bay leaf, a can of tomatoes, and two quarts of beef stock.  Cut up some stew beef or a sirloin and put it in the pot once the stock heats a bit.  Let boil, then add half a cup of pearl barley and let simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the barley is soft. Want to add a super twist? A handful of fresh chopped dill to finish it.

And to accompany the food? Copious bottles of red red wine, but also a little recipe from Don.

Don made a Poebelack punch, using @booklessbev’s recipe
- 1 bottle of 750 ml makers
- 20 oz fresh lemon juice
- 20 oz simple syrup
- 20 oz apple cider
- 25 dashes apple bitters
- a few dashes absinthe

Though we didn’t have fresh lemon juice and just used lemonade for it and the syrup. Also did not have absinthe or apple bitters. But apparently this is like horseshoes and hand grenades and close enough does pretty good. If you’re not making it in punch format 750ml is 25oz. So it’s basically 1.25 parts bourbon, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup, 1 part apple cider, one dash apple bitters.

And some pictures from our readers, who obviously know a thing or two about comfort cooking:

Slow cooker Korean style pork spare ribs with homemade cucumber slaw, cilantro and a dash of Sriracha on small corn tortillas: Food Porn courtesy of Alex Reed

Eggplant Parmesan by Federika Burelli

Roasted pear chocolate chip scones by Christina Stockamore

Have any Sandy pics you want to share with us? Tweet @WeLoveDC or @FORKITDC using #makingsandy

While it was Georgetown that brought me here, it was the city that kept me here. I was born in Colombia but spent my teenage years in London, yet have never felt more at home than in the District. I believe the best way to get to know a place is through its cuisine, and plan my life around sharing good food with good people. Lover of lattes, bacon and bourbon. This is Why I Love DC .Follow me on Twitter or Email natalia(at)welovedc.com

4 thoughts on “Surviving Sandy: Foodie Style

  1. How is putting on pounds a “white girl problem” ?
    And how is this surviving the hurricane if you need power to cook these things?

  2. I can’t speak for anyone else but we cooked ahead of time and made chili, which could be reheated on a camp stove if we lost power before dinner (which we fortunately didn’t). The cocktail required no power.

  3. I always have a bag of masarepa in my house. Arepas are so easy, and you can improvise a topping out of just about anything.

    I made slow cooker vegetarian chili on Sunday that we’ve been eating for lunches. Monday night I made potato rosemary pizza and gingersnaps, and last night I made a coconut soba noddle soup with mustard greens and miso. Fearing the pre-hurricane crowds at the grocery store I didn’t go shopping beforehand and had to work with what I had. We never lose power (hooray for underground cables!) but I could have made this all on the grill if I had to.

  4. That all sounds amazing Caroline! If you have any pictures we’d love to see- tweet @welovedc #makingsandy… glad you are a fan of arepas as well :) they really go with anything (maybe even some of your leftover chili)