This week in the backwoods kitchen was kind of sketchy. For one, we lost power for two days. That's a fairly common occurence here, so it's one I continue to prep for on a regular basis. On the one hand, it makes my job as a homemaker harder, because it's really hard to wash dishes or cook a meal by candlelight. On the other hand, we have a propane stove and a fireplace, so the basic needs are met, and playing Go Fish by candlelight is really kind of fun!
On the other hand, it does make it a challenge once the power is back on. There's laundry and dishes to catch up on, and food in the fridge to be checked (we lost about half a gallon of milk, salad stuff and some yogurt that I had bought for half price because it was close to expiration date; I figured better safe than sorry). Because we made it a priority to keep the fridge closed, food was still cold when the power came back on after 30 hours.
The first night I had planned fried chicken. If I had started this meal around 2:00 in the afternoon, it probably would have been fine. But I didn't, and I started losing light in the kitchen around 4:00. The mountains around us give us a longer twilight than some people have, and the kitchen is on the east side of the house. So I boiled the chicken breasts and we had hot chicken sandwiches with provolone cheese, ranch dressing I had made the day before and figured wouldn't last with its high mayo content, and spicy mustard. They were pretty tasty, even in the dark.
The second night I planned biscuits and gravy, asking my husband to pick up some milk in town on his way home from work. I have some milk in the freezers but didn't want to open them at all. I have around $800 in meat in there, plus breads, potatoes, cheeses, etc., and in no way did I want to risk that stuff. I knew that I had a pound of sausage in the small freezer above the fridge, and figured I would lose that freezer first so I wanted to use up that stuff.
As I was working on dinner, with an earlier start, the power came back on. We cheered, got a load of laundry going, and put a bunch of dishes in to soak. We ate our biscuits and gravy without the benefit of candlelight! I did a quick inventory of the fridges and freezers, and found that even the small freezer was fine. Even the frost that I really need to defrost in the big chest freezer hadn't diminished.
So, not a lot of kitchen projects got done. But to those of you who read these entries and wonder why I prep, things like this are why. If we had started losing our freezers, we would have contacted friends who still had freezers and either made arrangements to store stuff with them, or we would have given it away-which we really didn't want to do, but it's certainly a better option than letting it go to waste!
I did bake four dozen cookies to take to the home of a friend whose husband died. She has a huge family coming from Mexico and needs all the food she can get right now. I used a mix because I was in a hurry and will be playing laundry catch up for days. It was nice to have that on hand to be able to deliver in her time of need.
This week we won't be doing a lot of food projects either. We had an unexpected repair to the family van, and since we haven't rebuilt our savings from buying the house, the repairs came out of the grocery budget for the next few weeks. But again, this is what I prep for. We have plenty of food, and will probably only need to buy a bit of pasta. I'll be baking a lot today, though, for snacks and such this week, so I will post about that next week.
Because of that, I'm not sure about the menu. I may have time to sit down and retool it a bit, but probably I will just fly by the seat of my pants. We will be having many basic meat and potato meals. And at some point I'm going to get that fried chicken I was supposed to make last week! We don't have it very often, so I always look forward to it, even though cooking it takes a long time!
Also, last week I talked about freezing lemons, and I wanted to tell you how that turned out. They were very juicy when thawed, but I would not recommend letting one sit in a cup for awhile. They are stronger in flavor and actually got a bit bitter (I'm guessing it was the pith that got bitter). The juice, initially was great, so squeezing the juice out of one into your tea is fine. I will also quarter them next time. Because the flavor is stronger, I didn't need as much juice for the lemon flavor I wanted.