Power Hour... Or Maybe Not

A huge storm blew through my area in North Carolina and we've been without power for over 24 hrs. Last night after work, we decided to wait it out. Some friends decided to brave the storm and tripped over massive piles of debris to get to our apartment with beer and smokes. We sat on the front porch laughing and talking, well into the night.

Duke Energy told us the power'd come back on around 11 PM. Then it was midnight. Then it was "the morning." By 11:00 AM today, I was tired of waiting and went foraging for food. I live within walking distance of everything (including Starbucks) and I walked to the grocery. No power. I walked to Wendy's. No power. I walked back up the hill, down the street and around the corner to McDonald's.

They were open, but their computer system was down and the were writing down orders on paper and asking people for exact change, cash only. The drive thru wrapped around the building. There were only 2 people in line ahead of me, so the wait wasn't so bad. I felt sorry for people with credit cards. I felt sorry for the people in their cars thinking this was a normal lunch rush. I haven't felt this hopeless about food in a long while. I got some fries, a diet coke, and a yogurt parfait. How nutritious!

I went back home to take a nap. Walking all over is tiring. By 3:00 PM...no power and no hope of power in sight.

BAD NEWS: All of my food in the fridge and freezer is spoiled.

GOOD NEWS: I have a backlog of food I have yet to post because I take a picture of EVERYTHING I eat. Kinda like Tucker Shaw, but better...

So, here I sit in my neighborhood Starbucks, lulled by the promise of cool and icy drinks, air conditioning, and an outlet to plug my cell phone and lap top. Ain't life grand?

OK, let's talk about food some more.

I've decided that summer is my favorite season. Everything good that has ever happened in my life has happened during the summer. I love the hot days, the cool nights, the late sunsets, the holidays, the clothes, the pool, no school, sleeping in late, a reason to go on a vacation. I love it all. The Ice Cream, You Scream event really was an extension of my love of summer.

Along with hot summer days and cool summer nights ...

comes hot yummy food and cool yummy bites!

Even though I don't have a grill, I do have a stovetop smoker and I haven't pulled it out in a while. It's a beeyotch to clean sometimes (I HAte washing dishes) and there are only two people who live here (and a puppy). Sometimes it's not worth it to bring out the big guns.

Simple Juicy Burgers
1 lb ground chuck
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
4 tsp Worstershire sauce
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients, marinate for 1 hr up to 24 hrs. Form patties and grill, pan fry, or stove top smoke. Let rest for five minutes before assembling burger or serving.

I baked a few buns from my whole wheat bread made from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. I toasted the bread under the broiler with some hand cut fries, added a thick slice of fresh mozzerella, roasted red tomatoes, red onion, and classic yellow mustard.

The tomatoes were a little mushy and detracted from the crunchy bread and the juicy burger. I had to take them off mid-meal.

I'm still in Ice Cream, You Scream mode and I had to whip up another ice cream....

Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
3 overripe bananas
2 cups non-fat milk
1 pkg (1 oz) Sugar Free/Fat Free Vanilla Pudding
1/4 cup Z sweet sweetener (granulated or confectioner's sugar can be used as well)
1/2 cup mini milk chocolate chips

Mash bananas with milk and Z sweet to combine. Add pudding mix and whisk until dissolved. Optional: Strain mixture using mesh strainer or tamis to make a smooth, uniform base with no lumps.

Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Five minutes before the end of the freezing cycle, add mini chocolate chips a few at a time to incorporate into the mix.

I wish this picture was a little better (OK...a LOT better) but this ice cream was one of the creamiest yet. The pudding allows for the ice cream to be thickened and creamy without heavy cream or egg yolks.

So...hopefully the power will be back on soon so I can at least microwave some popcorn (i.e. the only thing in the kitchen that isn't spoiled, I think)

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. Sorry about the weather. I made buns too and just posted. Not from this book, but another ecipe. I have to try theres now.

  2. I heard about the bad weather on CNN. I am sorry you had to go through this. Your burger looks great and I am sure much better than McDonald's.

  3. Sorry to hear about the 'no power'. It's good you made the best of it though, gathered some friends and shared some laughs.

    Oh man I can't wait to be wealthy, I would def support Nik Snacks.

    I really dig your ice cream. I shy away from ice cream because of cream, but yours looks delicious and only uses milk. This my "I'm writing this down" smile :)

  4. Courtney: You have such nice buns LOL

    Ivy: It was definitely better than McDonald's. No preservatives.

    Adam: Yeah, we did have a good time. I just forgot how harrowing a storm could be.

    Well, I'll let you know when/if my book deal is in the works. But you commenting on my food is support enough for right now :)

  5. Nikki, you can now say that without a doubt, you have "weathered the storm!" AND came out a hot chick too cool to mess with. :) Nikki, you are a strong person and it shows. Bravo.

  6. You know - I don't like tomatoes...raw ones at least. They have to be pickled a bit (like in pico de gallo) or they have to be cooked. Other than that, I won't eat them.

    That burger looks killer though.

    So, I think I should start a food blog. I'm going to. I think?

  7. Sorry about your power problem. Hope everything is back to normal right away.

    Summer is my favorite season too.

    Your ice cream is very intriguing. That's a very interesting way of obtaining a creamy texture.

  8. Too bad about your food spoiling and the damage from the weather! Sounds like it was a good time with friends, tho. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I hope you check in on the Whisk Wednesdays posts and give us some feedback (a la chef). :)
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  9. Teresa: Well, we had some liquid courage to help us.

    Darius: I only like Roma tomatoes. They're small, always firm, and taste pretty good. I'm very picky about my tomatoes.

    You should definitely start a food blog. You already have a nice following with your personal one. Yeah...

    Rachel: yeah, we're back on now. You should try an ice cream with pudding some time. People will be impressed.

    Shari: I know, I need to come by more often to see what you guys are doing. Every time I come by, I get a little jealous that I didn't participate.

  10. Oh my goodness! Sorry about your loss of power. All that wasted food...
    But the burger and ice cream looks great!

  11. So sorry to hear about the weather! It can be terrible not to have power - it is making me think about when we lived in VT in winter with feet of snow and no electricity, heat or water. Good times....
    So now we have an under the bed emergency food kit (also because we are in FL).

    But let's discuss something wonderful, like those beautiful and juicy burgers you are talking about! They look great! Sorry you had to do McDonalds!

  12. that's one good looking burger.
    I hope your power is back on. I remember when we had a huge blackout in SF & the only place we could get food was the one diner with a gas grill.

  13. Emiline: I know! And I've been having a frugal time this month as it is. Thank goodness for parents, because they hooked me up with lots of stuff for the freezer.

    Jenn: I have a hurricane preparedness kit in the trunk of my car from when I lived in Miami but it still has food in it from then, too. 2006 LOL

    kat: we had hot water and that was about it.

  14. Cool deal on the burgers. My way though is just meat, bread and cheese only. This way I get the real essence of the cheeseburger...plus I hate most vegetables. I may just make burgers tonight or tomorrow.

  15. mgr: I usually only do cheese. I am a plain Jane when it comes to food like that. I only want rice rice (no salt, pepper, butter), plain potato, plain burger with just cheese.


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