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Food to Weather Storms By

After living on the coast of Florida for almost four decades, I’ve become all too familiar with the threats of tropical storms and hurricanes  I’ve learned to always take them seriously.   The wrath of Mother Nature can be fast and furious, and she can change her mind on a dime!   Another thing I’ve learned is that when faced with the probability of being housebound for several days, it’s a good idea to have the pantry and fridge stocked up with plenty of hearty, homey comfort foods to soothe the restless natives.

In light of the impending descent of Hurricane Sandy, I thought now would be a good time to share some of the tried and true recipes that I count on when I’m freaking out over being “in the cone”.   Over the years, each of these dishes has made an appearance at Chez SGCC during hurricane season.  Some are meant to simmer a long time, thus taking your mind off of the raging storm outside, while making your house smell and feel all cozy and safe.  Some can be eaten either hot or cold, in case the electricity goes out.   Some are simply meant to be “feel good food” that are so delish you will forget about the howling winds swirling all around you.  And, all are meant to give you the sustenance and fortitude to ride things out.

For all of you who are in Sandy’s path, I wish you well and pray for your safety.  Hunker down and stay strong!  This, too, shall pass. 

Dorie’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bread [1] is made with healthy whole wheat flour, rolled oats and juicy bits of dried fruit.  It’s tender, cushiony,  lightly spiced crumb surrounded by a crunchy shell of cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts makes it a perfect way to start your day.

This Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Challah [2] involves a lot of waiting time, but it’s worth it.  Besides, it’s not like you’re going anywhere for a while, anyway.   And, the heady  aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven will make you forget all about that silly, old Sandy!

Roasting a combination of beef marrow bones, oxtail and short ribs before simmering them into stock is what makes this Beef Barley Soup [3] so rich and hearty.  This recipe makes a huge pot of soup that should be enough to feed your family for a couple of nights.

The “wedding” in Italian Wedding Soup [4] has nothing to do with actual weddings.  Rather, it refers to the soup’s harmonious “marriage” of flavors.  With the addition of fluffy  mini meatballs, spinach, and pasta, it’s a great one pot meal.

Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf [5] is a staple in our house, no matter what the weather.  Caramelized onions and lots of other tasty stuff are mixed with ground turkey for a super moist and flavorful loaf.  Plus, this recipe makes a honkin’ big meatloaf, which means there will be plenty of leftovers for sandwiches the next day…and maybe, even the next.

Oven Baked Corn Flake Chicken [6] is one of my ultimate comfort foods.  It’s the dish that my mother used to make for every family picnic when I was growing up.  It’s also what she used to pack in the car for us to munch on during those godawful long drives between New York and Florida. – before the days of smartphones and iPads.  I’ve had it both ways, and this chicken is just as good cold as it is right out of the oven.

My easy peasy  White Chicken Chili [7] is  made with canned beans and a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, but you’d never know it.  And, it’s even better the second day!

Short ribs, cooked low and slow in a bath of wine and stock , veggies and aromatics.  What more can I say?  These “Osso Buco” Style Braised Short Ribs [8] are divine!

Well, you’ve got to do something with all those cans of Spam you’re hoarding in your pantry!  Allow me to present Hawaiian Spam Pizza [9].  Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!

Um…Yeah… I did just write about this one a few days ago. But, Pasta Fazool for Cavemen [10] is a great dish to have on hand in wet, cold, yucky weather.  With lots of protein from both beans and sausage, veggies and pasta, it’s an all-around, well-balanced meal.  And, it’s another one of those dishes that gets better with age.

This Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Glaze [11] is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It’s got a ton of fresh zucchini in it!   And, extra-virgin olive oil!  It’s practically a health food, I tell ya!!!   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

S’Mores Bars [12] are a great thing to have around in a hurricane!  When the power goes out, the kids can sit around a big, old flashlight and pretend that they’re camping.  It’s called denial, baby.  And, it works!

This Texas Sheet Cake [13] is the richest, moistest, fudgiest, most awesomely scrumptious chocolate cake ever.  That’s reason enough for me to include it on this list.   Besides, it is well documented that chocolate releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel good.   Thus, no one could be sad, anxious or stressed out while eating this cake.  Far be it from me to argue with science!

So, here you have it – a smorgasbord of deliciousness to help you weather the storm.  Batten down the hatches and enjoy!