Cooking through a "Frankenstorm'


I can never thank providence enough for givin me the common sense to prepare myself for the much touted Frankenstorm Sandy. Plenty of flashlights, spare batteries in bulk, Water, a back up sump pump for the basement, Firewood, the list could go on.. Nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for the terrifying experience of living through those six hours.  It sounded like a  full payload Boeing 747 was taking off for a transatlantic flight right in the backyard. Sure enough, the lights went out, and we were left  hunkering down in total darkness with a diabolical, howling wind screeching through the house. And yet, it stopped almost as suddenly as it started around midnight, almost as if the trees had no more strength to even flutter a leaf. All that could be heard was a proverbial sound of silence, equally eerie.


The next morning, the most visible evidence of the storm were the felled and leaning trees and the side of the house spattered with shreds of torn leaves hurled there by the wind. And in the middle of this havoc wreaked by nature, the rose bush in my backyard had this perfect bloom that had faced the brunt of the elements and survived practically unscathed.. What a positive motivation. It definitely kept me going through the next five cold days without power.

(the shredded leaves can be seen spattered in the background against the siding)
We were definitely one of the lucky households that still had access to hot water and a cooking stove, and it was a fabulous experience cobbling up new dishes in semi darkness. The brain definitely tends to compensate for the visual disadvantage by honing the senses of smell and sound. In terms of gadgets, the one that really came into full use was this Rosle manual multi chopper that substituted admirably for an electrically operated version. I had picked mine up from William Sonoma at Bridgewater, NJ (at a great sale price of $29.99) a couple of months ago. They have a similar one from another brand as well. Its also available from Amazon, just follow the link at the bottom of the page.



A couple of dishes that  I'll always associate with superstorm Sandy are a hot mug  of  Apple cider mulled with green tea and saffron, somewhat similar in flavor to a Kashmiri 'Kahwa'. Sipping it in front of a hot crackling fire was a wonderful balm for all the discomforts the lack of electricity brought.


Where there is a working fireplace, there's a great opportunity for roasting vegetables, so in went a couple of Sweet potatoes into the embers and voila!  Lunch on powerless Day 2  was a great salad of fire roasted smoky Sweet potatoes and crunchy Granny Smith apples with a pomegranate molasses and citrus dressing. So reminiscent of the street treat shakarkhand (sweet potato) chaat that New Delhi is famous for.   The spices.. a blend of toasted and powdered cumin,black pepper and a pinch of  sea salt. By the time we got power after five days, I was hallucinating about the potential of baking Naan on the sides of the fireplace.. but that's a blog post for another day!



Fire roasted Sweet potato and apple salad.

You need: ( makes 3  servings)

3 medium pink skinned sweet potatoes
1 large granny smith apple quartered and sliced thin
1 handful of pomegranate arils

For the dressing.
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon toasted and crushed cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pinch pimenton chile powder
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk together. Set aside
Roast the sweet potatoes with the skin over a grill until the surface chars. Allow to cool and carefully flake off the charred skin. Slice into 1/4 thick slices.

Combine the sweet potato with the sliced apples and the pomegranates. Drizzle over with the pomegranate molasses dressing and gently shake to combine. (the sweet potatoes can be very soft and may mush up). Divide up into 3 bowls, stick a toothpick (or a fancy cocktail fork) into the center and serve!


Bon appetit and have a great voting Tuesday!



Comments

  1. Sandy surely was rude to you Niv, but admire the way you were holding up by being positive and still cooking such amazing lunches. Not many could keep being positive in this disaster.
    Love Ash.

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  2. Nice write up..loved how the rose stood up against Sandy. And the recipe...brilliant as always.

    Aparna

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  3. Glad to see you made it through the storm ok. It seems your creativity and love for food helped carry you through.

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