Talk about a game-changer! You, East Coasters, were the folks who helped clear grocery store shelves over the past few days. You were planning to bake at leisure, do some slow-cooking and hunker down with bowls of steaming chili. Now the Capital Weather Gang’s warning that due to expected high winds and heavy snowfall, “be prepared to lose power.”
Here’s an eight-point plan for the food supply you don’t want to waste:
■ Put ice in a cooler — either a block you can pick up in the remaining precip-free hours or by emptying the icemaker storage in your refrigerator freezer.
■ Speaking of the freezer, now’s a good time to look through it and reorganize according to what you may need to weather the storm. (Once you do lose power, you want to keep that freezer door shut as long as possible.) If you have a bagful of ingredients ready to make broth, get that going. Already frozen bags/containers of stocks and broths can be the first to fill your makeshift cooler-freezer.
■ Get a slow cooker going as soon as possible; choose a recipe or preparation that will use some of that fresh food. (See links below.)
■ Boil up a pound of pasta or rice or your favorite grain; it’ll be good to have on hand for building a bowl like the one Dorie Greenspan’s sending your way this weekend, in her Everyday Dorie column. Same goes for eggs; hard-cook four or six of them. Same goes for a couple of sweet potatoes; roast or boil a few.
■ Saute or oven-roast two batches of fresh, chunked vegetables that have been tossed with a light application of oil, salt and pepper; puree some of it for soup and save the rest for easy eating.
■ Toast or pan-grill a half dozen (or more!) pieces of unadorned bread; cool completely and store in an airtight container. They’ll be good for crostini, soup croutons (and soup! see Top recipes of the week, below) and sandwiches.
■ Brown up some of the ground meat you have on hand; it’ll be more immediately useful to you in its cooked state for a few days, or you can try freezing it right away if you think longer-term storage will be needed in your future.
■ If you have an outdoor grill that will be accessible in the snow, make sure you’ve got a full complement of charcoal or propane.
What other eat-down strategies work for you? Freezing zip-top bags of water? Fresh herb purees in ice cube trays? Share in the comments below. But first . . . .
Quick soups and comfort food filled the ranks of most-viewed Recipe Finder titles:
1. Zuppa Pavese (Poached Egg Soup). Simple, savory, humble food.
3. Toast Soup. Basic, with a French pedigree. A little bit of mustard and some pickle juice jazz it up.
5. Italian Spinach Salad Soup. Lorraine Wallace’s delightfully green bowls are topped with fresh crunch.
And for those of you sitting pretty with a generator on standby or in a neighborhood with underground power lines and good Pepco mojo, here’s a handful of recipes you’d be glad to make over a stay-in weekend:
Loaf it. The buzz around Dorie Greenspan’s Mediterranean Yogurt Cake reminded us of how easy and lovely these kinds of cakes and quickbreads are. Some of our Recipe Finder faves include Bay Leaf Pound Cake With Orange Glaze, Chocolate Spice Bread, Brown Sugar-Ginger Cake (pictured above).
Slow goes it. In the oven or your countertop plug-in appliances, try Slow-Cooker Chickpeas With Sunchokes and Chorizo, Mexican Turkey, Spicy Braised Eggplant With Prunes, Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese (pictured above).