I had been planning on visiting my parents in NJ this week ever since the end of the summer, and as it turned out Sandy decided to arrive in town on the same day as my flight. American Airlines willingly - eagerly - assisted me in changing my flight plans, and I decided to leave early Sunday to beat the storm to the east coast. I snuck in to Philadelphia just as the rain started to fall that evening, passing scores of glum, sober travellers piled into airport gate sitting areas watching their flights out disappear. We were in the path, a direct hit, here in south central New Jersey, but 53.3 miles from the coast and every single foot counted. Backyard trees, 40-footers, were blowing around like an over-caffeinated cheerleader's pom-poms. I thought for sure we'd have some trees ripped out of the ground, if not splinter into toothpicks first, especially after the inches of rain dumped ahead of the wind front.
Last night, we feared the worst and were filling pitchers with water for coming days, cooking large batches of chicken so we could still eat if - when - the power went out, expecting the food in the fridge to spoil and wondering exactly how many days we could last on cans of soup.
Amazingly, luckily and totally unexpectedly, we have nothing more than a serious pile of wet fall leaves covering everything. We were without a doubt some of the luckiest ones affected by this natural disaster. The power is still on. The cable TV cooking shows I usually watch with my mom (talkin' about you, Ina) seem like even more of a luxury now, knowing how many millions of people were hit hard, flooded out, snowed in, without electricity, without homes.
Our grasp on the magnitude of this event is still unfolding, Sandy continues to impact the country and is likely to do so for another day or more. We think about the 10's of millions of people who are struggling through this, and send well-wishes to them all.
For lunch today, that hurricane-prep chicken, anticipated to be eaten in candlelight, and not the romantic kind, with no heat and no modern conveniences. We are indeed lucky.
Lucky Chicken Quinoa Veggie Salad for Sandy.
1 chicken breast, cooked
1 small zucchini, raw
1 carrot, raw
3-4 roasted artichokes, from a jar and packed in oil
1-2 cups cooked quinoa
Chop the chicken into small cubes or shred into pieces.
Cut the zucchini in half the long way and slice into thin half-moons. Cut the carrot the same way.
Chop the artichoke into small pieces.
Mix together in a large bowl, with generous salt and pepper and a drizzle of whatever chicken pan juice and artichoke oil you have around.
Serves 4, and best served room temperature.