Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Eating Even A 32-hour Power Outage Couldn't Stop

We're back into the grind after a lovely Easter long weekend, which unfolded in a rather unorthodox way (pardon the pun). We were staying with my parents for the weekend, and we always have lots to do and great food to eat while we're there.

We woke up Good Friday to snow. It had begun as rain that night, but was shifting to the white stuff by the time we were all awake. We continued with our day, choosing inside activities, and serving a traditional meal of fish for dinner. My mom was concerned that we were going to run out of oven space on Sunday to roast a turkey, ham AND cabbage rolls, so she opted to cook the cabbage rolls early, and serve them to my very appreciative cousin and her husband, who brought their daughter over for a visit with the boys. We were also encouraged to dig into one of the four pies that my mom had prepared for the weekend (they were only expecting 6 adults and two kids, but she still made FOUR pies! Not that I'm complaining. I love her pies, and I loved having one or two slices a day the whole time we were home, and going home with a whole pie on Sunday).

The NEXT morning, we awoke to a shock: no power, and at least 15 inches of snow! And it was still snowing. We heard throughout the day from neighbours (who, in the country, always call each other to determine the range of the power outage) that the SaskPower truck had hit the ditch en route to the source of the power outage (still unknown at that point). Their optimistic estimate for power restoration was 5PM that evening.

We continued on with our day after enjoying a full hot breakfast of sausage and eggs, thanks to my dad's abilities with the barbecue on the back deck. He had also set up two generators, which in turn powered the refrigerator, the coffee maker, the furnace, and the water pump. With the outdoors being a brilliant white thanks to the snowfall, and my parents' house having large windows in every direction, we didn't even feel like we needed extra light. They also have a large water holding tank, so we had reverse osmosis water for drinking and cooking as well. We weren't really suffering all that much.

Lunchtime rolled around with still no power, so we had cold leftover cabbage rolls and I boiled water on the turkey fryer burner and cooked perogies while shovelling four-foot drifts off the back deck. My dad, brother and husband dug vehicles out of snowbanks and began clearing the snow with a tractor.

We passed a quiet afternoon, but became a bit complacent waiting for the power to come back on. We just assumed it would. My dad had found a recipe that he hoped we could try—bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with pears—but we weren't able to get to the grocery store in town like we had planned, because of the state of the roads. We eventually realized the power wasn't coming on, but we chose to do a variation of the bacon-wrapped tenderloin anyway, sans pears.

We completely forgot that my mom had potato salad in the fridge, and that at any point we could have just lit a fire outside and had a smokie roast, but we had our hearts set on grilled bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and foil-wrapped potatoes and carrots on the grill. It wasn't until 5PM when we finally roused ourselves and began getting our heads around another meal without power that we realized that we didn't have any tinfoil, a key ingredient in foil-wrapped potatoes on the grill.

So in a split second decision that was possibly not that well-considered (but we'd already started peeling potatoes), we decided to power my dad's deep-fryer using the generator, and make French fries. We also steamed peas and carrots on the turkey fryer, and made a salad. It wasn't until after we'd finished the process that we realized we could have just served potato salad...and we found the tinfoil. Oh well. Supper was delicious.

By the next morning, we had accepted that the power would be off indefinitely. We enjoyed scrambled eggs and bacon for Easter breakfast (cooked on the bbq again) along with sliced babka, traditional Ukrainian Easter bread, made with love by my Grandma. Oh, yeah, and then there was the appetizer of chocolate eggs that the kids enjoyed, before breakfast. Shudder.

My dad continued his magic on the bbq by setting up the turkey for Sunday dinner in a large roaster, and placing it on the grill. He eventually added the ham, and then, in a burst of brilliance, we decided to add the Brussels sprouts to the roaster in the last half-hour of cooking. Instead of trying to work out how to mash potatoes and make gravy without a stove-top, we finally decided to make use of the potato salad. Not exactly a traditional meal, but it was truly delicious. Best Brussels sprouts I've had in a while!

Who eats this well while the power is off for over a day? I guess the answer is we do. Kudos to my parents for (almost) effortlessly hosting 4 extra adults and 2 children during the biggest power outage any of us had experienced, while still making a series of amazing celebratory meals. I'm also grateful for the large box of leftovers I got to take home: a ham bone that got turned into Red Beans and Rice de Guise yesterday, and a good portion of turkey that has been feeding my kids and my inlaws for lunch the last couple days. But now, the pie is all gone, and only chocolate Easter eggs remain. Until our next family adventure!

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