Thursday, November 1, 2012

Never make pumpkin bread during a storm

Where once life was bright and sunny and we were enjoying fall, along came a storm to ruin the fun.  The pumpkins were painted, decorations hung, little goodie bags packed for trick or treaters.  Then the wind started to blow.  Doom and gloom spouted from the tv as the newscasters predicted mass power outages, downed trees and other assorted inevitable mishaps.  Somewhere around 9:00, LAM lamented not having any pumpkin pie.  This may seem to be something of a non-sequitor, but not if you know LAM.  He does need a reason to need pie.  He started obsessing.  "Wouldn't it be so great if we had pie?", he said.  We couldn't snack on it with tea in front of the fire and if the power goes out, we could have it for breakfast if the milk is spoiled.  This got me thinking.  Hmm, I thought, I seem to remember that there is a can of pumpkin in the pantry.  While I was without the resources for making pie, I DID have a bag of chocolate chips and some eggs and other sundry items that are required for making chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  Maybe, just MAYBE, I'll have enough time to eek out a loaf of bread.  I ran to the kitchen and literally threw ingredients at my mixer, then tossed the loaf pan into the forward ten minutes...and (poof) no power.

Darksville.  Thank goodness for the fireplace, because with the electricity, went the heat and it started to get chilly very quickly.
Zoe, in particular, did not appreciate the wind howling, trees falling and branches slamming into the house.  If she is voluntarily cuddling, you know it's pretty bad.  Mostly, she was annoyed with Mummy for putting pumpkin bread into the oven and jinxing all of us.

We survived the fitful night and woke up to a wet and dreary morning, made better only by the fact that I had an excuse to wear my wellies to the office.  We'll call this look "cosy storm chic".  While still without power at the house (I love how my iphone makes everything look almost normal), we prepared to go to the office until we got a call from an employee saying not to bother, since there was no power there either.  Great.  While the "snow day" endorphins were coursing through my sleep deprived brain, it occurred to me that this is not nearly as fun as it would have been had I had the day off from school as a kid, but that as an adult, I could only think of things I wasn't able to get done without electricity.  Vacuum? Nope.  Make items for the etsy store?  No sewing machine.  Cook?  Nope, but am sad to be reminded of the now-dead pumpkin bread in the oven.  Put things on ebay?  No internet.  It was also surprising how dark it was in the house during the day because it was still raining.  And it was getting colder.  A friend who had power, offered us his big generator, so at least we would be able to charge laptops, turn on a few lights and plug in the now-full-of-spoiled-food refrigerator.  Better late than never.  After driving all over creation to find a path to said friend's house that didn't involve blocked roads (trees were down EVERYWHERE), hoist the 275 lb generator into the Land Cruiser (which shall hereafter be known as the MEGAwhip), get it home, get it out of the truck, figure out how to start it in the pouring rain by flashlight, plug stuff into it...wait five minutes and (POOF)...power back on.  I was so drunk with joy at having power again, I didn't even think to be mad at all the aggravation we just went through for nothing.  I ran around turning all the lights on in the house like a lunatic.

Expecting the same to be true at the office the next day, I was crestfallen to find our entire side of the street dead to the world.  To add insult to injury, the neighborhood Starbucks was also dark.  Ok, Sandy, I thought, this just got real.  You can take away lots of things, but not that.  No, not that.

Once I procured a caffeinated beverage and set about having all of my calls routed to my cell phone before my customers grabbed axes and pitchforks and came looking for me, and then tried to get some work done using only a cell phone, I remembered that it was Halloween.  Since I wasn't in the mood for anything complicated and going out wasn't an option, a rotisserie chicken was calling, but what to go with it?  Recently, there have been some recipes floating around Pinterest for Green Bean Fries.  Since I am lousy at following directions, I will show you how I do it.  LAM hates green beans, but can't get enough of these, so you know they're good.  One thing to remember: buy more beans than you think you will need, because you will want more.  Promise.
Nick helped out by putting on his super suit, because everything is a little easier when you are wearing a super suit.
First, wash your green beans and snap off the stems.
Put beans into a ziploc bag with a splash of olive oil.
As Nigella Lawson says, next you squidge the bag, that is close the top and rub between your hands to coat the beans evenly.
Next, arrange beans on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Himalayan Pink Salt (yes, it tastes better, especially out of a grinder) and fresh ground pepper, then grate some Parmesan cheese.  Make sure there is space between the beans, so they have more surface area to become crispy.  Pop into the oven at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes or so.  The real recipe calls for a longer cooking time and lower oven temp, something like 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees.  They may come out better that way, but I am horribly impatient, so that doesn't work for me at all.
And voila, one quickie Halloween meal.
In an effort to find storm closure, I made a loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread for dessert.

Hope everyone made it through safe and sound!

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