I would never make light of a serious situation, especially a Hurricane when who knows what can happen. But the reality is that many of us on the East Coast are in for some dreary weather at the very least, and some serious time indoors for the coming days.
I have prepared with bottles of water, bread, tuna and candles. But a few days stuck inside is also a great time to take inventory of your kitchen and replenish supplies.
STOCK UP ON…STOCK!
When the weather outside is frightful, it’s a good time to whip up some vegetable or chicken stock. I love having homemade stock on hand for everything from soups and stews to weeknight rice or weekend risotto.
Basic Chicken Stock: 1 whole chicken, 1 onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery ribs, 2 parsnips, 1 turnip, whole peppercorns, 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, 1 bunch fresh dill, salt, 6 quarts water. Fill pot with ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer one hour, remove chicken and allow to cool. Continue to simmer until liquid has reduced. Skim fat off the top, and remove vegetables. Taste and add salt to your liking. Use chicken to put back into soup or make some chicken salad sandwiches.
Basic Veggie Stock: The truth about vegetables stock is that you can pretty much throw whatever you want into it (or whatever you have lying around). You can also try my Leftover Veggie Peel Stock. But if I was making stock from scratch, here’s what I would do: 4 carrots, 4 celery ribs, 2 onions, 2 parsnips, 1 turnip, one handful cherry tomatoes (or 1 plum tomato), 1 cup button mushrooms, 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, 1 bunch fresh dill, whole peppercorns, salt, 6 quarts of water. Cover veggies with water and bring to boil. Let simmer for 2 hours, skimming the top. When liquid has reduced, remove veggies and add salt to your liking.
Thanksgiving and Holiday time is just around the corner now is a great time to whip up some cookie dough and put it in the freezer to use in the coming month. I won’t even tell anyone if you lick the spoon at the end.
Sugar cookies are so versatile. I use a basic recipe like this one to make linzer torte cookies, fun cut-outs decorated in sprinkles for kids, or sometimes I even get fancy and dip them in dark chocolate and cover with sanding sugar or chopped nuts. Try out Martha’s Sugar Cookies and store wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a Ziploc bag for up 1-2 months. Want to make these pareve? Just swap out the butter for margarine and use brandy instead of milk.
Is there anything better than homemade chocolate chip cookies? Not really. Go classic and mix together a batch of the one and only Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.
What is actually lurking in the back of your freezer? Do you have 7 boxes of pasta but no tomato sauce to go with it? While you’re sitting in the house glued to The Weather Channel, go through your cabinets, fridge and freezer and figure out what you have, and what you need. I love making lists and making sure I have ingredients for my favorite go-to meals on hand – no better time than now to get yourself organized. Here are some of my ideas for the Perfect Pantry Dinners in a pinch to help you.
And if all else fails, make some hot cocoa or warm cider and hope that organizing your cabinets is the worst you’ll have to endure.