intrepid archaeologist, avid cook

so, we had a hurricane

It’s true.  Sunday we battened down our hatches and then proceeded to plan like we weren’t going to lose power.  I didn’t buy 1 single battery.  We bought milk, but really only because we think it is funny to go buy milk eggs and bread before a storm.  If you lose power, you have to use up a gallon of milk right quick, and you might not be able to make pudding with it either, if your stove is electric (mine is).  We didn’t lose power except for about 2 minutes.  They were the scariest ever-loving moments of my daughter’s short life, but they were only two minutes of terror.  We were lucky – VERY LUCKY – and I am eternally grateful to the powers that be.  

We rarely lose power in a storm.  In the 5 years we have been in this house, we have lost power in a storm once, for about 30 minutes (I don’t count short flashes).  Once something happened on a beautiful day and we lost power for about 24 hours, but it wasn’t because of a storm, so it doesn’t count.  For every other major storm, I have at least checked to make sure we have batteries – I did not for this one, so those two minutes of terror for the girl were two minutes of ‘oh, shit’ for me.  I promptly went and checked for batteries when the lights came on and found that I have many many many AAA batteries, but no AA batteries.  Also no C or D batteries.  We have several things that can make light powered by a battery.  I even have a solar light that keeps a charge.  One of them had good batteries, and one had about half a charge of batteries.  Neither would have made it very far if we had had an outage.  

This was the first storm that made me actually nervous that I might lose power, and I vowed to have batteries for the next storm.  I’ll give the stores a week or so to restock and I will go buy some. 

At any rate, my university is cancelled until Monday.  Until today there was no power on my campus.  My building probably won’t have power until tomorrow morning…So I have been lucky and unfortunate enough to have a lot to do and to live in a chaotic house, where it is difficult to concentrate.  I have made food instead.  I needed to make some room in the freezer, so I have been using things that have been in there.  I found a bag of turkey meat from the spring and two large gallon bags of broth.  I still have about a cup of broth left (rice maybe) but I am out of turkey.  I made turkey noodle soup yesterday and today I made a bangin’ pot pie, made all the more excellent because I did everything in my cast iron skillet. 

So, again, I forgot to snap a photo of the finished product, but I did also make granola bars and bread pudding, and i got photos of those, though the pudding had deflated when I was finally able to snap the shot.  It’s a pity.  

I’ll start with those.  The granola bars, I am not really sure about yet.  I may put them back in the oven if they don’t set right.  I wanted chocolate and peanut butter with coconut and cocoa roasted almonds.  I made some granola earlier in the week, with was really just sweet toasted oats with some almonds, and i decided i wanted to mix it with chocolate toasted oats.  so i fixed up the oats, and then made a mix of butter, peanut butter, and honey, and then mixed the oats, added more almonds, coconut and, of course, chocolate chips and added the peanut butter mixture.  I pressed it in the pan and left in a low oven for about an hour.  I think it needed more time…  the bars are nearly cool and they haven’t set up as bars yet.  sadface.  What I have now reminds me of these things called goo balls that you can get on any lot of a Phish show.  They would probably be very good rolled into balls and coated with a mixture of cornstarch, cocoa and powdered sugar…maybe next time.  

The bread pudding fared much better.  It was beyond my expectations, since I didn’t bother opening a cookbook to make it.  It is really just the easiest thing to make, and I always keep the ends of bread in the freezer.  I found the heel of a loaf of chocolate bread in a bag with some multi-grain baguette and raisin bread.  All of these are excellent in a bread pudding, though I ended up saving out the baguette, because I had enough with the other two.  I popped the bread in the oven and then cubed it up, mixed up an egg and milk mixture (this is why you buy those things before storms) added sugar and vanilla and banged them together.  It takes a while to bake, but it smells really nice.  This chocolate bread is one I have tried to duplicate; it is not sweet, but it has chunks of chocolate and dried dark cherries. The raisin bread was just plain raisin bread.  You can use any bread for it.  I like mine with a crispy crust and generally I like a cream sauce, but I wasn’t going to brave the grocery store for it.  It is always best served hot, but I will eat it anytime. 

The pot pie I had resolved to make with a real pie crust, but as the time to top the pie loomed, I changed my mind and decided on a biscuit crust instead.  I think that really made a difference.  DH suggested mashed potatoes, but I wasn’t feeling it, so I went ahead with the biscuit and it may have been the best decision I made all night.  

These are leftover recipes – well, except the granola bars, (but I am not done with those yet so I won’t post the recipe) but the pudding and the pot pie are.  I don’t know how much meat you need to buy to achieve the 1.5- 2 cups you need for this, it just ends up being what I have after I make a turkey.  The stock is also part of what I end up with after I make a turkey.  

Bread Pudding

2.5 cups cubed bread

5 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

you can also add things like cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, depending on your mood.  There is chocolate in this one so I just went with vanilla

Place the cubes of bread in an oven safe dish.  You can toast the bread lightly before cubing, especially if it has been in the freezer.  

Whisk together eggs and everything else and pour over bread cubes.  Press the cubes into the mixture and let the mixture stand at least 20 minutes.  Press the cubes down again and place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.  Bake it for 40-55 minutes until it puffs.  If you like a crispier crust wait until it stops steaming as much, if you like it mushy inside take it out while it is still steaming a lot.  

Pot pie

1.5- 2 cups cut up turkey

1 small to med onion chopped

1-3 heads garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, with greens, chopped

5-7 med crimini mushrooms cut in 1/4 inch pieces

2 carrots, med, cut into 1/2 in pieces

2-3 med potatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup each of at least two more veggies: cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, parsnips, whatever – you pick

2 T cornstarch

3 T flour

1/2 cup milk

1.5 cups broth

1 – 1.5 t salt

1 t pepper

1/2 t garlic powers

1/2 t onion powder

1 t parsley 

Heat oil in skillet, add onions, garlic, celery with greens and mushrooms, wilt.  Add turkey, cook till onions are soft.  Add carrots, potatoes and everything else, stir around for a few minutes and get a crust.  Add flour and cornstarch and mix in thoroughly.  Add milk, mix, add broth, mix. liquid should be just at the level of veg and meat in pan, don’t overfil or it will be mad runny.  Allow mixture to come to a boil and reduce to low-med.  make your biscuits:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup milk

Mix butter with 1 cup flour, baking soda, powder and salt, cutting butter into the mixture until the flour mixture is coarse in texture.  Add the milk and mix thoroughly.  Add in the other cup of flour (more if still sticky) and knead into a smooth dough.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out in a circle, fold the dough in half until it is about a 3 inch ball, roll out again.  Repeat this process as many times as you want. it helps give the biscuit layers.  I usually give it up about 4 or 5 times in.  roll it out to be the size of your skillet or other dish you might use (my skillet is about 12 inches in diameter) and plop it on top of the mixture in the skillet.  Put that skillet in a 350 degree F oven and leave it there for 25-30 minutes until the sides are bubbling and the top of the crust is golden.  Let it sit about 10 minutes before eating.  It will taste a lot better if it is not threatening to burn your throat out of your body.  

i’ll post photos later…maybe tomorrow…they are on my phone..

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