Yesterday was my first day back to work post-marathon and post-Sandy. Philadelphia all but shut down from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon due to the impending hurricane and my work was no different, closing our doors for two days. As far as the damage goes, I couldn’t have been more fortunate. I live in a part of the city that is notorious for flooding, and yet the river never managed to spill over its banks. And while thousands of Philly natives are still without power, mine only flickered a couple of times. Like I said… FOR-TU-NATE.
On an even more serious note, I’d like to offer my condolences to all the folks out there in New York and New Jersey who saw your homes, businesses, boardwalks, hospitals, schools, and property devestated by hurricane Sandy. I saw the images on the news, but the seriousness of the matter didn’t really hit home until co-workers started showing me photos of their neighborhoods, homes, and shore houses completed flooded, buried under sand, or sliced open by a fallen tree. The power of nature is absolutely unbelievable, and I can’t thank God enough for sparing my little world through this epic storm.
It wasn’t until I was actually in DC for the weekend that I understood just how bad Sandy was shaping up to be. I realized that by the time I made it back to Philly on Monday afternoon, not a single store was going to be open. And of course, I had absolutely no food waiting in my kitchen back home. So in a moment of genius, I hiked to the Trader Joe’s a few blocks from my hotel and pillaged the already picked-over shelves of the non-perishable food aisles. I definitely wasn’t the first person with the idea to stock up, so my selection was limited, but I managed to get creative. Even though we never lost power, I still thought it would be fun to whip something up with my “hurricane provisions.” And the results? They were surprisingly awesome!
- 18 oz tube of polenta
- 15 oz can Cuban style black beans
- 4 oz can chopped green chilies
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese
- olive oil
This is hurricane food, so there is no way it could get any more simple.
Heat a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over high heat on the stove top. (Luckily, I have a gas stove, so I could have used it even without power!) While the pan is heating, open the tube of polenta and slice it into 12 rounds. Brush each side of the polenta with olive oil and then gently lay the slices in the skillet on the stove top. Let it cook for about 8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
While the polenta is cooking, combine the black beans and the chilies in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat on the stove top. If you can’t find the Cuban style black beans, the regular ones will work fine. You’ll just want to rinse them first.
Once the polenta is crispy and browned, top each slice with about 1 Tbs of the black bean mixture, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Eat with a fork or your fingers… these are mini pizzas afterall!
Hurricane Sandy… and a sparsely stocked Trader Joe’s.
My heart and prayers go out to all those who were impacted by hurricane Sandy ❤