Cooking to a Hurricane or How Sandy Helped Clean the Pantry

by Anne Maxfield on November 1, 2012

Accidental Locavore Italian Sausage

Unlike so many friends and family, the Accidental Locavore survived the hurricane with power intact. Still, my pre and post-storm strategy to start cooking down the contents of the freezer remained in place Luckily, the local bodegas were still open, providing missing ingredients as well as a destination for the apartment-weary. So what did I decide to make in the face of impending disaster? Monday night, I made Frank’s favorite, pasta puttanesca. The freezer yielded some homemade Italian sausage, the fridge had olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and Parmesan. I used up some penne from the pantry and we had a great dinner while the winds howled outside.

Accidental Locavore Orange CauliflowerNext up? There was a roasted duck from Costco (of, as the French would say, un âge certain) that I was originally just going to heat up and serve with cauliflower, probably roasted. But an earlier search through the fridge, turned up a container of Thai red curry paste. Suddenly the duck looked more interesting as Thai red curry duck over jasmine rice (also in the freezer) and the cauliflower could hang out for another day or two. We ventured out to grab some pineapple and a red pepper (gotta love NYC!) and check out the local damage from Sandy. Lots of debris, tree branches and tons of leaves, but luckily, not much more than that.

Accidental Locavore Red CurryThe duck came together really well, I sautéed it to crisp up the skin (as it turns out an unnecessary step, since it was getting stewed in the curry ) then mixed the red curry paste with coconut milk, ginger, some lime leaves and fish sauce (all from my freezer and/or pantry). I added the duck, the pineapple and red pepper, let it cook together for a few minutes and topped with fresh basil and cilantro. This was a really quick and easy way to put together a dinner in minutes, so there maybe another Costco roast duck in my future…

Tonight, we’re off to our friend Zhu Zhu’s for beef burgundy. He’s been working on this almost longer than the storm and its aftermath, so we’re anticipating another great meal! And until the power comes on for our friends downtown, our shower is open and operating!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam Bilton November 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

Sounds like your house was the place to be during the hurricane.

dusty November 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

it was hilariously easy to spot you in the Thanksgiving parade — will you do it again? and your biography among the Toque judges is awesome!

joan November 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

the puttanesca’s ingredients suddenly seem like equally nifty ones for a pizza topping; gonna try it soon. but the real reason for this note is a thanks awfully for making it so easy to contact the red cross: something i’ve been seriously meaning to do, and putting off bec. of how and where. what a relief (no pun intended :>)

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