Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Prepare Food and Drink When Tropical Storms are in Season

While the New York Metro area is preparing for the worst storm in what many are already referring to as a “once in a century,” stocking up on food and drink is primary. 

The good news is the storm will pass.

In the meantime, here are some suggestions to make sure the pantry is stocked appropriately and safeguard against loss of power and flooding:

  • Get to the local Greenmarket and secure fresh greens, fruits and herbs.  Salads, with fresh tomatoes, melons, peaches, figs, for example, will fuel energy naturally and keep well even if power goes out and refrigerators are shut down.  Just add extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
  • Pack ice into coolers so that in the event power is down for prolonged time, items from the refrigerator and freezer can be moved and stored safely.  Use the ice in cocktails…
  • Pre-pack picnic meals like sandwiches, cold soup and gazpacho, pesto chicken is delicious hot or cold. Cold pasta salads with pesto or fresh herbs – no mayo- is also a tasty cold alternative and will keep for quite awhile.
  • Cook eggs for easy and good-for-you hard-boiled eggs. Excellent with salads and sea salt, or just for a snack. And cooking beforehand gets them out of the fridge in case of power shut down.
  • Cut celery and carrot sticks and pack for high-energy food.
  • Prepare fresh popping corn and store in individual bags for desserts and snacks.  Offer spices and herbs such as garlic, cardamom and hot pepper flakes as seasoning, in addition to salt.
  • Consider cans of tuna and boxed milk.  (Have hand-powered can and bottle openers on hand.)
  • If power is off for many days and ice packed items do begin to spoil, compost only green items and fish. No dairy or meat.  Use the spent water for indoor plants.
  • Make coffee beforehand and store in thermos bottles.
  • Fill glass jars with drinking water.  Add mint to some bottles for refreshing treat.
  • Freeze water in containers for ice.
  • Freeze refrigerator items in freezer and keep door shut, even if power goes out. Move to ice-filled cooler if needed.
  • Besides fresh fruit for dessert, make creative confections of items seemingly “parked” in the refrigerator such as cheeses, butter, and fresh milk.
  • Make a couple of loaves of bread.  It’s easy.  Flour, egg, olive oil and salt.
  • Move planters and outdoor containers to garage or safe area where high winds will not topple the container and prevent smaller pots of becoming a projectile
  • Trim low dead tree branches
  • Cut herbs and store indoors before they become waterlogged.
  • Have plenty of wine -- a nice rose or Chenin Blanc is ideal for this time of year and the farm-fresh food.  Or grab a few bottles of champagne.  And beer will keep indefinitely-even if you need to move from the refrigerator to the cooler.
  • And have enough Johnny Walker Black on hand to help soothe those nerves while the winds wail. 

I posted this advice the Friday before Miss Irene hit the east coast on my NY Food & Drink column. 
And low and behold, it’s true that Great Minds Think Alike! 
Saturday, Chef Deborah Pittorini, chef and owner of Cuvee Bistro restaurant at the Greenporter Hotel emailed me with an Italian Feast menu link on her award-winning blog: The Seasoned Fork. 
Chef Deborah is a featured chef in my first book: Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook. Her recipes for the book are amazing – as is her story…

Chef Deborah prepared for the Miss Irene hurricane with well-seasoned and delicious food for good reason: Check it out here:

What a glamorous way to make it through a storm. 

Also, be sure to reserve a stay at The Greenporter Hotel and dine in the extraordinary restaurant: Cuvee Bistro.

It’s blissful….

Go now for end of summer harvest menus, North Fork vineyard tours and food, food, exciting food, prepared by Chef Deborah. 
Her culinary magic and distinctive cuisine showcases homegrown, local produce and fish and mollusks and cheeses and local wine pairings -- all harmonized to make you think you've been seated in a farm-fresh fantasy.  You have been. It's called Cuvee Bistro...


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