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Posts Tagged ‘New Haven’

After we spent all weekend anxiously awaiting the hurricane, the anticipated force never quite made it to this part of New Haven. The view from our apartment was surprisingly calm, with heavy rains lasting less than a few hours and winds being more gusty than sustained. Our power never went out, so we weren’t able to test out our hurricane-gourmet plan, but still enjoyed a delicious lunch of (mostly) cheese.

Upon a brief stroll through the neighborhood, we realized that we somehow lucked out and got off miraculously easily! Just about all of our neighbors are without power, there are trees down on almost every block, and several roads are closed off. Somehow, we managed to escape with just a few leaves adorning our car and a few stray branches, but beyond that, zero damage.

You’ll see in the photos above the view from our second-floor patio, several fallen trees in our neighborhood, and lunch. You may notice also that the quality of these photos are significantly better thanks to a very generous gift from some visiting in-laws!

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As the East Coast is getting pummeled by Irene this weekend, we’re sitting anxiously in our hurricane-prepped home, hoping these 100-year old doors and windows hold fast in the fury of the storm.

We’ve consulted with a number of disaster guidelines and hurricane preparation checklists and have a few more food-specific tips to offer. (Whether or not these are good tips will be determined in the next few days.) If your biggest fear, as ours is, is the loss of power for a few days, consider the following:

  1. Water water water. Standard guidelines recommend at least one gallon per person per day for one week. Apparently, Hurricane Gloria left New Haven’s water sources contaminated 26 years ago, and access to clean drinking water was difficult. (Speaking of safe drinking water, check out IPA’s work here.) For the two of us, we’re currently stocked with 3 crates of individually-bottled water, 5 Nalgene-sized bottles filled, 1 empty milk gallon filled with water, a bathtub, and a watermelon.
  2. Non-perishable food items. Canned foods we have on hand include an assortment of cooked beans and anchovies. The anchovies weren’t really purchased in preparation for Irene, but they are packed with protein and flavor, and our list of canned foods is short. I’d also recommend canned soups (Amy’s is delicious). Additionally, we have quite a supply of oats, granola, peanut butter, granola bars, oreos, and the like.
  3. Perishable food items. If there’s potential to lose power for a few days, it’s obviously best to not go into and out of refrigerators and freezers multiple times a day. So as to access our fridge only once a day, we packed up two cooler bags full of food, divvy-ing up milk, yogurt, and juice between these two bags, each one estimated to last a day. And to our great delight, cheese is also extremely perishable, so we’ve packed up our whole supply of goat cheese, sharp cheddar, and marinated mozzarella. Yes, we live the hurricane life luxuriously.
  4. Cooked foods to prepare. If you, like us, are a bit snobbish about food and would really rather not dig into the supply of unadulterated canned foods, consider how much time you have to prepare for disaster. Irene is pretty slow- moving, so we’ve had ample time to cook up some whole wheat penne, which we plan to toss with some spinach and store-bought jarred sauce as an additional supplement to our cooler-bag preparations.
  5. Special treats. After picking a two-foot long zucchini this last week at Lyman’s, this seemed like the perfect time to bake up a monster amount of zucchini bread. We put one in each of the coolers, one in the freezer, and one off to Megan (who just moved in to Yale!) Zucchini bread with peanut butter seems like the perfect diaster food — containing oats, whole wheat flour, vegetable, and protein, it’s got quite a bit of nutritional punch and is delicious too!
For those of you in the hurricane with us, enjoy the show and keep us posted. For everyone else, we’ll see you on the other side!

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…the fishmongers at US1 Farm Market are not to be trusted. We went in search of fresh cod to fry up in some beer batter last night and received word from Mr. Fishmonger that “this fish is so fresh, you’ll be back tonight for more!” Now, we brought the fish home, opened the bag, and instantly, our apartment was saturated with a very fishy smell… you know, the fishy smell that comes from fish that is not fresh, the kind that take two fans blowing full power for hours to dissipate. So we fried up the fish, ate it, and resolved to never get fish from US1 Farm Market ever again. That’s what we get for not smelling before buying.

So if you’re going in search of bulk spices or 99 cent coconut milk, A1 is definitely the place to go. It’s also the place to go if you need a variety of less common meat items (tripe, goat feet, octopus in a bag), harina pan, or beautiful habanero peppers.

So though the fish was not a wondrous success, we did make a lovely accompanying pan-Asian slaw with aforementioned habaneros. The slaw we made had a half a head of Napa cabbage, chopped scallions, one habanero, fish sauce*, lemon juice, and sesame oil. The fish sauce gave it a very pungent Thai/Vietnamese spin, and the sesame oil always helps to mellow things out. I can envision this being equally delicious with some chopped cilantro, halved tomatoes, shallots, maybe topped with some crispy chicken for a full meal. (I can envision this because we just made this last week — pictures above.)

Note on slaws: They can be extremely versatile and very delicious, so do not be restricted to the standard store-bought mayonnaise based variety. See below for three very different, but equally simple, types of slaw that are fit for any backyard barbecue. Be adventurous with other vegetables (red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers) and fresh herbs (dill, cilantro, mint). For the versions below, mix together the suggested ingredients to taste, and liberally dress the vegetables. The slaw should be prepared at least a half hour before serving in order to allow for enough time for the ingredients to meld together.

Pan-Asian

Fish sauce
Sesame oil
Lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
Scallions

Maple Mustard-Based

Whole-grain mustard
Lemon juice
Maple syrup
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Creamy

Plain yogurt
White distilled or cider vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

* By the way, small plug for randomized control trials as poverty intervention and Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo: “…there are some ways to improve nutrition even for adults that will much more than pay for themselves. The [WISE Indonesian] study found that the iron supplements made the men able to work harder, and the resulting increase in their income was many times the cost of a yearly supply of iron-fortified fish sauce. A year’s supply of the fish sauce cost $7 USD PPP, and for a self-employed male, the yearly gain in earnings was $46 USD PPP — an excellent investment.”

If you’re interested in more of this type of research, check out Innovations for Poverty Action!

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For all of my grumbling and complaining about the cold, wet rain of spring, take a look at what has sprung forth in our little neck of the woods! I headed out for a bit of a half-hearted run the other day to take my mind off my ever so stressful end of the semester duties and was so fully rejuvenated by the glory of spring, I sprinted home to grab the husband and a camera for an indulgent jaunt through the neighborhood. It’s going to be a beauty, this spring…

One of the highlights of this spring will be the M&A wedding through which the wedding cake project came into being. (For the curious, the frosting cry for help was resolved with a bit more Internet research and the help of some very experienced consultants. Instead of whipping together the egg whites and adding the butter to it, reversing the process makes an unimaginable difference.) We had a big celebratory dinner party the other night to welcome one friend home from an extensive stint in Cambodia, to celebrate another friend’s medical school successes, and to bid an early farewell to a third friend leaving for Ecuador for a year.

Another highlight is that our very good friend Amy al-Zarqawi has just returned from an extended stay in Jordan. She came up to New Haven for the weekend and we stuffed her full of cheese and carbs in classic Amy fashion. Lots of mac and cheese, bucatini carbonara, pancakes for breakfast, and a deep rich chocolate cake.

A final highlight — I finished my first year of grad school this past Saturday! No more homework! No more books! No more teachers’ dirty looks! That is… until May 17th, when my summer semester begins again. Sigh. I am thoroughly excited for the respite for now, though, since I have people to see and wedding cakes to make!

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