From North Carolina to Maine, most people on the East Coast encountered Hurricane Sandy, a truly significant event, these past two days. I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and starting to recover.
We’ve been without electrical power for over 24 hours, and will likely remain so into tomorrow mid-day. However, since we discovered almost 10 years ago that the power we receive from National Grid is quite unreliable, we do have a backup generator now. We can’t run it continuously, but it is available in the morning for showers and breakfast, and in the evening to recharge various devices while I prepare a Vegan Supper in the Wake of the Hurricane.
There were three parts to the dinner:
- young beets from the farmers’ market on Saturday, boiled simply and served atop some homegrown Russian Mix sprouts from Sproutpeople.org
- sauteed eggplant slices, topped with tomato sauce and arugula
- Ditali (small cylinders), a small pasta from Puglia, often used in soups, served with a woodsy vegetable mixture I created for this event
The beets and the eggplant were straightforward — you can figure that out. The only trick I would recommend is that — after sautéing the eggplant slices in olive oil — you dry them off, and top with a good can of chopped Italian-style tomatoes which have been cooked slowly in a bit more olive oil until the flavors are concentrated. I actually use a huge can (6 lbs. 6 ozs.) of Bertucci’s pizzeria tomato sauce, which you can buy in some of their restaurants if you ask the manager. We use it for pizza, give some to family, and use the rest in various dishes for the next week, like tonight.
The pasta dish was an experiment, a successful one in my opinion. There is a pasta maker in Puglia — Pastificio Marella — and I had half a package of the Ditali left over.
Drawing from what was in the refrigerator, I cut in small dice (1/4-inch):
- carrot (1 large or 2 small)
- turnips (2 small ones)
- kohlrabi (1)
- celery (2 stalks)
- cremini mushrooms (6-7)
- shiitake mushrooms (2-3)
These were sautéed in olive oil, with lemon thyme, salt and pepper. When they were done, I chopped up some arugula from the Hmong gardeners at the farmers’ market, and sauteed that, too, both to top the eggplant, and to add to the pasta.
Wine was also from Puglia, a 2009 Primonero from Li Veli, made from 85% Negroamaro and 15% Primitivo. Nice choice, fine winery, as I have written before.
Oh, I almost forget: when the power is out and I need to see around the house, I’ve been using a small, simple, battery-operated headlamp, a most-useful gift from a friend last year. Here’s what I look like with the headlamp on, shown reflected on my blank 27″ computer screen when the lights are out:
Which reminds me of the scene exactly one year ago, when we had a freak Halloween snowstorm — lots of heavy, wet snow — and of course, no power for days. We sent this iPhone spooky photo to the grandkids:
They said we were no scarier than usual. Tough audience!