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