I have not forgotten about Part 3 of my “High Adventure Weekend” series. However, upon arriving home, we find South Florida in the “cone of terror” oops, I mean “cone of error” for Tropical Storm Fay, which may or may not become a hurricane before heading our way Monday or Tuesday.
Since I have spent the better part of the day restocking our hurricane food kit, I thought I’d share a few quick tips. I will not go into the greater basics of hurricane preparedness, if you live in a hurricane prone area, you know how to do that, but rather those aspects of preparing for GFCF meals without electricity.
I have two cookbooks I really like. My favorite is The Storm Gourmet by Daphne Nikolopoulos. This book includes a 14 day meal plan and a 5 day meal plan, complete with shopping lists, recipes, and menus. Another good one is Apocalypse Chow by Jon and Robin Robertson, which features vegetarian and vegan recipes. This book also has a great dose of humor, much appreciated when under hurricane watches or warnings! Both books take the approach that not having power does not sentence you to a life of peanut butter and chips (though the Prince would be happy with that for awhile!)
Here are some tips I have picked up from these books, and from my own experience:
As the storm approaches, cook something big and fabulous:
The day before or the day of the storm, cook a big ham, a roasted chicken, some wonderful chili, something that smells great, will lift your spirits, and will guarantee leftovers. Bake some GFCF cornbread, muffins, cupcakes or cookies and freeze them. As they thaw, you have ready-made comfort food.
Fruits and veggies to consider:
Apples and oranges last longer without refrigeration than say, peaches or bananas (but you could grab a few really green bananas.) Garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes do fine without refrigeration for a time. Lemons and limes keep well too and can be used to marinate or add a little zip to whatever you are making.
The spice of life:
Spices and herbs can really enhance meals prepared from canned or dry goods. Rather than buying them fresh-cut, when you are at Home Depot buying batteries, also pick up a few potted herbs for an indoor herb garden to get you through the storm.
Condiments and ethnic foods are king:
To enhance the flavor of canned or dry goods, condiments can come to the rescue! Dijon mustard, tamari sauce, mojo marinade, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, whatever your favorites are. Asian, Italian and Caribbean cuisine are especially inspirational when cooking quick and flavorful foods. Throw in capers, pitted Kalamata olives and you can turn even canned tuna into a gourmet delight!
Cook your favorite Tinkyada pasta ahead and store it in the fridge in zip-lock bags. When the power goes out, you can reheat it easily on a camp stove or grill and throw in your favorite protein (tuna, salmon, some of that leftover Ham or Chicken you cooked as the storm approached) or use some ready-made tomato pasta sauce, or pesto, or bruschetta.
Anything you can cook in a pot or a frying pan on the stove, you can cook on the grill: Things will keep in your fridge, if it is fairly full, for a day or two after the power goes out—if you keep the door shut. But you need to eat what is in your fridge first, of course, before you hit your stash of canned and dry goods. So take those veggies and meats and make a stew, make scrambled eggs for breakfast on the grill, throw in that left-over steak, invite your neighbors over for an impromptu al'fresco brunch! Pretend you are camping in an exotic foreign land. (Come to think of it, many people think South Florida IS an exotic foreign land!)
Alternatives to ice:
Take Capri-Sun juice packs and freeze them. You can use them in coolers as ice until they melt, then you can drink them!
Indulge in snackiness (yes, I am a Stephen Colbert fan!)
Lay in a good supply of trail mix, nuts, dried fruits, GFCF cereals, and yes, peanut butter, GFCF crackers, cookies and chips!
Splurge a little: get some great smoked salmon or caviar if you can find it and red wine does not need refrigeration! Tropical Source GFCF chocolate is a nice treat too.
Veggies in jars or cans, oh my! But in this situation it's ok: I know many people will balk at the idea of buying canned veggies. But take it from me, after Hurricane Wilma, many groceries in South Florida had no power and very limited shipments of fresh produce. I was thrilled to have canned peas, green beans, and corn on hand. Look for organic canned versions, get enough to last you a couple of weeks but no more, and remember, desperate times call for desperate measures. Hence, the reason "condiments are king!" Also, organic varieties do not last as long as those with preservatives, so at the end of hurricane season, eat up!
Finally, Chef Boyardee Beckons, but be strong and resist the dark side! Maybe it is just me, normally I would not even consider Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese or Chef Boyardee Ravioli, but when I am laying-in hurricane supplies, I must admit, the thought crosses my mind how much easier it would be. But then I remember I will be in a dark house during a loud storm and having my child suffer a food-infraction reaction, or hyperactivity due to the charms of dyes and preservatives under those circumstances, well, it's not a happy thought, so let's not go there. Think healthy and think of your love of food as a source of entertainment when the lights go out!
This concludes today's message from your Emergency Broadcasting System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-programming, after Fay has come and gone, that is.