Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Cook In A Hurricane

The Dining Room: Battery powered lanterns from our wedding got an encore performance, along with no drip candles from Trader Joe's (They worked perfectly), as well as soy and beeswax candles from the market.
So you may have heard we had a wee storm last week. It rocked the house, this time from above and not below, and wiped out power for our little nest as well as those of hundreds of thousands of others. In a week when it means you're lucky if you can only complain about having no power I thought it would be nice to join Rachel in going on a bit about how we dealt with this problem, generator free, on the culinary side.

Matt cooks up a storm using a head lamp to light his way.

We lost power mid-day Saturday. The end of one table became lighting central with candles, flashlights, lighters and batteries all together. That first night was scary, but the no power part was rather fun. (That wore off before too long.) To start we pulled some fish from the freezer and pan fried it. Having e a gas stove we can still cook without power. We have the electricity free cooking thing down as our 30 some year old stove has always required manual lighting of the burners and pilot light. Post rain a pan, or pot set on the grill can work as well.

Trying to focus on using up perishables we boiled corn, and stuffed poblano peppers with some left over 're-fried' lentils and rice. A few rounds of cards, several crashing trees, and a wary nights sleep later we were due for a good cup of joe.

Older than our oven, this stove top percolator was a thrift store find twenty years ago... (Thanks mom!) I highly recommend Investing in such an item, or a French Press if morning coffee means anything to you. For the percolator, just add water, filter, and grounds (we had pre-ground our bag of coffee!) turn heat to high until water boils. Adjust to medium low and watch the water perk through the clear cap atop the lid to check the color. In about fifteen minutes your coffee is done. Obviously a French Press is more efficient in terms of time and fuel and there is no risk of messy boil over when your out talking over the neighbor's fallen trees.

Dinner number two: From the grill.
The sun was shining, the air was cool and we took advantage of it all to grill some chicken rescued from the freezer. We added left over pesto and tomatoes grilled on aluminum foil. The green beans were picked that day from our garden.

Egg in Pepper
I'll write more on these soon, but basically you just cut a pepper in half lengthwise, add some cheese and herbs if you like and place on the grill. Immediately top each half with a raw egg and grill until the eggs are cooked to your liking. We had these with with hash brown potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and re-fried black beans with peppers, garlic and onions.
Now if all of this seem a little to rosy, it is. We were lucky. Still, our third meal was our limit. Once work hours began and I didn't see the house in daylight for five days straight. all semblance of order and most certainly fun was lost along with a good deal of spoiled food.
The best lesson from each of these little hiccups in life is the value of community. Neighbors coming out to help, offering each other labor, food, a hot shower or a cup of coffee. Many thanks to our neighbors who offered us a spare generator, (though we weren't quick enough) cook stoves, lanterns, rides when both of our cars broke down mid-week, and help putting them back together. Many thanks also to the friends and family who sheltered us for all those nights later in the week when we needed to step out of the dark! Its wonderful to know you're all there.


  1. I have a feeling Micah will be eating some "egg peppers" this weekend! Those pics are great!

  2. It is always nice to know who your people are! Thanks for checking in on me through the madness. xo

  3. Egg peppers seem like pure genius, love this! Will be trying that soon... and makes me think what else can we cook an egg in? mmmm

  4. Nice work! You show RVA how to do a hurricane in style!