Friday, September 2, 2016

Cookbook Thursday: Cooking after a disaster

     My friend Marla Smith Elsea was not one of the lucky ones in last month's devastating floods in South Louisiana. While she's gutting and cleaning and trying to get her flooded house back together, she asked friends on Facebook for their favorite crockpot or one-pot dinner recipes. She has no kitchen counters for prep space, she wrote, but her stove still works and she has three pots and one cookie sheet to work with.
     It made me think of a book that came out around Hurricane Katrina in 2005: "The Storm Gourmet: A Guide to Creating Extraordinary Meals without Electricity" by Daphne Nikolopoulos of Florida. It's filled with recipes, yes, but also shopping lists for the emergency pantry (good to use during hurricane season, which unfortunately is now), suggested menus and more.
     NPR did a story on Nikolopoulos and printed two of her recipes here.

Here's a recipe that's not only easy to prepare but will make you think of fall and the end to hurricane season. It can't happen soon enough.

Cranberry-Orange Chicken
7 ounce (one package) premium chicken breast, drained
1 orange
15 ounces (1 can) whole cranberry
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange-blossom water
2 tablespoons walnuts
     Directions: Peel orange and remove white membrane, reserving peel. Section flesh and dice. Place into a large bowl. Mince half of the peel finely, and add to bowl. Add chicken, cranberry, and walnuts. In a screw-top jar, combine orange-blossom water, lemon juice, and honey, and shake well. Pour over mixture and blend well. Let sit for 30 minutes, to allow ingredients to meld. Serves 2.

Or how an easy ham salad? I would substitute fresh ham for the canned version.

Savory Ham with Dijon Cream
10 ounces (1 can) chunk lean ham, drained and cubed
1 cup table cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup sliced manzanilla olives
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1 tablespoon imitation bacon bits
2 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Cracked black pepper
     Directions: Combine cream and mustard in a small bowl. Stir with wire whisk until smooth and thoroughly blended. Add ham, olives, tomatoes, pine nuts, bacon bits and parsley flakes. Toss well to coat. Season with cracked black pepper. Serves 2.

Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer living in South Louisiana. She is also the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at