Labor Day is Appropriately Named
My thoughts go out to those still without power, those who lost their homes, and those injured in Hurricane Issac. I know that many of our readers lost everything, and as information becomes available on things people can do to help them get back on their feet, we'll post it here.
We finally got power around 4:00 yesterday afternoon, after 5 long hot days. I was too tired to contemplate anything more complicated than a hot shower, hamburgers on the grill, and a blessedly cool long night's sleep. Today I'm plowing through mountains of laundry composed mainly of damp towels and sweaty clothes, and I'll swab out the refrigerator and freezer with a bleach solution before restocking it.
Last Monday I inventoried the contents of my pantry and freezer and put together a game plan for what to cook when, so that we lost as little food as possible. We live in a large apartment complex and there are five neighbors who eat at my table at least once a week; I knew there'd be more as word spread that we had hot food. I put a big pot of red beans on first thing Tuesday morning, expecting to be without power when we got up Wednesday morning. Thursday morning neighbors pooled bacon, sausage, eggs, and bread and we cooked for about 15 people. Thursday night we grilled chicken wings liberally seasoned with Creole spices, Friday night it was flank steak. By Saturday morning we were at "cook it or lose it" stage with the freezer. A chuck roast went into a Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven with some red wine, garlic, salt, and pepper. It simmered on the grill for 4 hours until it fell apart. I added 4 cups of red sauce I'd thawed out, simmered that for an hour, and served it over pasta. On the side, we had a seafood-stuffed boneless chicken, and I sautéed broccoli with lemon and garlic. I'm happy to say that very little went to waste, and, while we were hot and miserable, we were well fed.