It’s been a crazy few days on the East Coast. I hope that all of you affected by Sandy managed to weather the storm safely. I think I was definitely one of the naysayers who thought she’d be a hyped-up bitch, and overall tease. Not so.
I spent my Saturday afternoon cooking for a kitchit catering event, and in between dishes, constructing a DIY edible Halloween costume to wear to a party later that night. I wanted to go as Bagels and Locks, a pun-y costume I dreamed up years ago but never had the patience to execute. This year, however, since I was going to the market anyway, it ended up being the one thing I was able to shop for and put together using materials entirely from my kitchen (and a few locks from the hardware store). Tin foil skirt? Check. Cooking twine bagel bikini? check. Cheese cloth bustier? Nah, too much.
I spent Sunday on a hangover-induced mandatory lockdown, which meant that by Monday, I was more than stir crazy. Regardless, I hunkered down with the rest of New York and took the day indoors as an opportunity to use up some things in my freezer. I made a huge pot of stock with some leftover chicken bones from the catering event. I ate spaghetti with wayward bolognese for lunch. And for dinner, I decided to whip up a quick miso red curry stew with some random veggies I had lying around. As I added the herbs and went to check on the timer I had set for the rice, that’s when things went dark.
I was immediately relieved I was the type of person who splurged on decorative candles, and ate my curry by candle light with al dente rice. It needed a little lime juice, but I was afraid to open my fridge and let out the cool. Since all my electronics were almost dead, I decided the natural solution would be to cover the stew, go to sleep early, and see what was doing by morning. The answer: nothing.
The weather seemed better, but I had no idea what was going on in the world, so I wrapped my computer in three plastic bags, stuffed it in a backpack, and decided to hike uptown to my parents’ apartment. I’m so lucky to have had family 40 blocks away, and felt even luckier when I ducked into a deli above 34th and found out that all of downtown was in darkness.
The Upper West Side seemed to be in the best shape of the whole Tri-State Area, and my parents’ house soon became a refugee camp for all of my downtown friends. I made lentil soup. We watched the news and charged electronics. And then my dad and I drove down to my apartment on a mission to get some clothes (it was clear I might be staying a while), rescue my stew, and evacuate my fridge.
It feels weird to celebrate Halloween on the eve of so much horror. But I feel incredibly grateful that all of my loved ones are safe, and that, like on Halloween’s past, I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my friends.
I hope some of you will be celebrating tonight. In the spirit of black and orange, and Food Network Fall Fest pepper week, I’m sharing with you cauliflower steaks over a simple and vibrant romesco sauce.
What did you all eat/cook during Sandy? Would love you to share your story in the comments section!
If you’re a vegetarian, it’s nice to find a main course that really feel elegant and substantial. These cauliflower steaks are perfect for this type of presentation. At $3 a head, they also put any carnivorous option to shame. You’ll only use the middle part of the head, so make sure to reserve the florets for other uses, like cauliflower soup!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup romesco sauce (recipe follows)
- Sea salt
- Romesco sauce
- Trim the leaves off the cauliflower head. Cut the stem slightly so it sits upright on a cutting board. Slice the cauliflower into ½ inch steaks, angling through the core so that the florets hold together.
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Add the cauliflower in an even layer – you may need to do this in more than one batch. Cook until the cauliflower steaks are golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- To serve, spoon the Romesco sauce onto a platter and arrange the cauliflower steaks on top. Season with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.