With Hurricane Irene set to make landfall in the U.S., food-loving East Coasters are doubtless asking themselves one panic-filled question: What's for dinner?
Besides water, Red Cross survival experts are recommending people load up on enough food for two weeks, ideally items that don’t require refrigeration, preparation, or cooking.
Unfortunately, that's not an excuse to eat nothing but Jell-O Pudding Snacks all weekend. Being without fresh fruits and veggies doesn’t mean nutrition needs should go out the (boarded-up) window.
"You can be gourmet even when you’re limited [to semi-perishables]" says chef Jackie Newgent, RD, author of Big Green Cookbook and an instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, in New York City.
So what’s at the top of Newgent’s survival list?
"Nuts and dried fruit. Nuts are very sustaining; they’re full of protein, fiber, and nutrients," she says. "Then a variety of canned beans. If the beans are canned with sodium, you can rinse them and get rid of about 40% of the sodium for an extra health benefit."
In case of a power outage, dairy and meat products might not be readily available, meaning cooks will have to experiment with more plant-based foods. Newgent developed these two recipes with ingredients that will stay fresh and tasty at room temperature for at least a week:
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 3 tbsp. nut butter, such as almond butter
- 1 lemon
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 4 whole-wheat pocket-less pitas or lavash
Drain a can of organic chickpeas and mash using a mortar and pestle (or with a fork) along with a few dollops of nut butter, juice of a lemon, and one large minced garlic clove. Spread the hummus onto each of the whole-wheat pocket-less pitas or lavash. Add toppings as desired, such as thinly sliced cherry tomato, cucumber, shallot, and (if desired) fresh herbs. Season to taste. Cut into quarters, and serve. Makes 4 pizzas.
Tabbouleh of the Sea
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- Two 6-oz. cans minimal-mercury albacore tuna, drained, flaked with a fork
- 1 small cucumber, finely diced
- 1 medium vine-ripened tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf herbs, such as parsley and/or basil (from plants)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice 1 lemon (3 tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. sea salt, or as needed
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
Place the wheat in a medium bowl and completely cover with fresh water, about 1 cup. Allow to stand for 1 hour. Drain well of any remaining liquid. Place the wheat in a large serving bowl along with the tuna, cucumber, tomato, herbs, shallot, and garlic. Stir to combine. Stir in the oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper as needed. If desired, stir in some lemon zest for added zing. Makes 4 servings.