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Cooking through the Chaos of Hurricane Sandy

Even during a superstorm, meals are a must. Here are some tips to craft a menu that will weather you through the storm.

Lights are out but we still have to eat. In all the turmoil that Hurricane Sandy brought our way, we could all relate to one thing… meals were a must. For some, this was and still is a huge hardship. That’s why our Cracked Olive Market nestled in with the fine folks of Holmdel Fire Company No 1 to offer hot coffee, comfort meals, charging stations and a connection to the community and outside world.

We hope we were able to bring a little consolation in light of the chaos. We thank the community for your patience while we were without power and Holmdel Fire Company for their generosity. 

If you were the lucky few with access to a generator and a gas oven, you were sitting pretty from the perspective of some.  But with a fridge/freezer full of defrosting food, and neighboring families taking up shelter in your home meal-making becomes an even bigger challenge.

Here are some tips to craft a menu that will weather you through the storm.

1.  Assemble a list of easy “one-dish” recipes like turkey chili, brisket, beef stew, chicken noodle soup. They provide an abundance of protein, make use of those defrosting freezer meats, cook easily on the stove top in one pot and enable a quick cleanup. A tasty vegetarian option is a hearty and nutrient-packed spinach and bean chili. Beans pack tons of fiber and protein to maintain your energy. Regardless of a storm, beans like cannellini and navy, are great in any diet. Fresh bread and rice or pasta from the pantry will compliment any of these meals.

If grilling is possible (keep that propane tank filled), cooking in foil is a great time-saver, locks in flavor and cleans up easily. In fact, with a little creativity, you can also bake from your grill. Consider a veggie-packed pizza with …ehem…jarred ragu…(shiver). Sorry. Aunt Roe spoiled us.

2.  Keep basic ingredients and supplies on hand. Staples like canned beans, onions, potatoes, olive oil, canned tuna, canned veggies, multi-grain crackers, high fiber cereal and evaporated milk, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits/veggies are great fundamentals for your pantry. You’ll want to rotate your pantry supply on occasion to be sure you have the best quality food possible. 

For a non-food pantry list, be sure to keep a manual can opener, garbage bags, napkins, paper cups/plates and plastic utensil available as a backup.

3.  Play it safe. Without power, your perishables will go bad quickly. Limit how often you open your refrigerator door and you may be able to keep everything cold for up to 3 hours. After that, move the fridge contents to a cooler packed with ice and maintain a temperature of below 40 degrees.

Contents of a half-full freezer will stay for 24 hours. A full freezer will stay 48 hours. When food reaches room temperature, you should not consume after one hour. Then bacteria will start to grow and it’s simply not worth it to take those chances. Food poisoning is not a pleasant experience.

#1 Rule: When in doubt, throw it out.

We hope this finds you warm and safe. We're thrilled to have power back at Cracked Olive where we're back to what we love... whipping up breakfast, lunch, catering and our new dinner menu for the good people of Holmdel and the surrounding area.

Please connect with us at www.facebook.com/crackedolivemarket

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Maureen @ Tom Sullivan November 13, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Enjoyed many warm meals with the outstanding two men, Dan and Denis at the firehouse. On our way to Cracked Olive to feast on another delicious lunch.

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