Monday, September 19, 2011

Grilled Chicken With Peaches: It's A Meal, It's A Sandwich - And The Week The Lights Went Out

Speaking entirely from my personal experience, what still stands out foremost in my mind about Hurricane Irene (actually, in my area she was downgraded to a tropical storm) is the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE! Those gas operated generators are so noisy! 

"There's one thing I hate 
all the noise, noise, noise. . . 
And they'll make shrieks and squeels racing round on their wheels, 
they'll dance with ting-tinglers tied on to their heels. 
They'll blow their blue-toopers, they'll bang their ta-tinkers. 
They'll blow their Who-whoopers, 
they'll bang their gar-dinkers. 
They'll beat their drum-dinkers, 
they'll slam their slew-slumpers. 
They'll beat their flung-floopers, 
they'll slam their who-wunkers. 
And they'll play noisy games like zoozit and kazay -- 
a rollerskate kind of lacrosse and croquet. 

Then they'll make ear splitting noises galooks 
on their great big electro-who-cardio-shnoox." Source

I'm not sure if the noisy toys in The Grinch That Stole Christmas 1966 cartoon are spelled correctly here, but that is what came to mind after hearing a noisy generator nearby and distant humming for a few days! My ears started ringing when I heard even more noise from

lawnmowers and leaf blowers, 
as people cleaned up debris from their lawns, 
as fallen trees were still being trimmed, and
heavy-equipment mulchers, 
as large branches were being pulverized into, well, mulch.

When the noise quieted down, usually after 9 or 10 pm, the overture score of crickets, tree fogs, and other night chirpers was pleasant and soothing. Epic even, like the finger-snapping gangsters in West Side Story claiming their territory. Sometimes a chorus, singing in their tiny yet assertive insect voices, "Anything you can do I can do better; I can do anything better than you . . ." in their attempt to outdo the deafening man-made noise that rang on throughout the day. I welcomed the competition.

Knowing it wouldn't be forever, I was in no rush to return to "normalcy". Quietly, internally, I enjoyed our new way of living.

We had more time to play board games.

The neighborhood boys played endless rounds of basketball, manhunt, 
went swimming in the nearby pond and pool on days they otherwise 
would have been in school, 
fished, filleted, and then ate their fish by candlelight 
(not the best fish to eat but they wanted to try it!).

We got up early and went to bed early.

We read books, by candlelight.

We thought and talked about the days when people actually lived without electricity, 
and those who still do today.

We were inventive, thinking of new ways to take warm showers and wash dishes. 
We called my husband "MacGyver".

My parents and I stored food at my sisters so I visited family more.

I got creative making photo vignettes with candles, antiques, and theater props.

We took a break from computers and social media.

We ate simply.

We lived simply.

After four days (not quite a week but it was a week of disruption), yes, we were happy to be back on the grid. 

I still clearly remember the simultaneous shouts of joy from neighbors when the lights went on. I heard one neighbor holler out, "I'm taking the first hot shower!" 

One family had a full house generator! They had power the entire time - all lights, warm water, even air conditioning. Wow! I wonder, though, what will their children remember about the storm? What are their stories.

But, I'm glad our lights went out. I think it was a good life experience for my children and family. It bonded us. It's an experience we will always remember even after we've forgotten about the noise. 


Grilled Chicken Thighs With Peaches - The Meal

Grilled potato wedges and carrots: The meal started with grilled potato wedges and sliced carrots that were tossed with a little extra virgin olive oil to coat, pepper, fresh rosemary; grilled, covered, over medium-high heat in a baking sheet until tender. The needles of the rosemary were then removed from the stems, crumbled a little and mixed in, stems discarded. 

Grilled Chicken Thighs With Peaches: This isn't fancy or complicated but tasted great and fresh. I didn't have a choice but to use up all the chicken I had or it would spoil. (Once defrosted, raw chicken wouldn't keep long in a cooler.) In a bowl, I coated chicken with extra virgin olive oil and a little pepper (add a little salt if you want), and grilled them over low heat in foil until almost cooked through, then grilled on high a few minutes on each side to finish and achieve deep grill marks.

On a baking pan, I placed about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, about one half cup low-sodium chicken broth, and three chopped ripe peaches and cooked over high heat until they softened (peaches can cook along side the chicken while they are over high heat, or separately if there's no room). They were removed from heat, finished with chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary - for all ingredients, I used portions that looked right for the amount of chicken being cooked. It's all fresh, so it's difficult to mess up!

The cooked chicken was added to the peaches, herbs, and broth. Tossed and served.

We used paper and plastic goods, and served from pans, for practicality since there was no hot water to clean dishes. We had to boil water over the grill to clean so we kept dishes to a minimum.

Grilled Chicken With Peaches - The Sandwich

When power was restored two days later (leftovers were kept over ice in a cooler for a day and a half), we turned the leftovers into a delicious sandwich. The remaining chicken was sliced lengthwise and placed in a small baking pan along with the peaches and reheated in the oven (I can't remember, but from the photo, it looks like I might have added more chopped peaches).  

Over a flour tortilla, I added a slice of yogurt cheese, some of the chicken and peaches, strips of red peppers and carrots. Rolled it up. The soft peaches gave the sandwich moisture in place of other condiments like mayo, etc. And that's it! Yum.



While I joke about the noise, again this post is about my personal experience. Hurricane Irene caused a lot of destruction, loss of property and lives; I still think of the people affected by her wrath. We were mildly affected, experiencing a few days of what it's like to live without electricity. We lost some food and a few big branches. But nothing compared to many who lost much more.

Nutrition Notation: Did you know that dark poultry meat has more nutrients than white?


  1. What an experience for you and your family, Linda. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if no one ever had to deal with the wrath of Mother Nature. However, turning it into an enjoyable learning experience and time well spent with family and friends is certainly memorable.

    It reminds me of the time the lights went out, I think back in the 60s. We thought we were "ruffing" it then. My family couldn't afford a generator but, we made it through and I lived to tell the story. It some how became a family joke of where were you when the lights went out? I still giggle...

    Thank you so much for sharing. Of course your grilled chicken and peaches sounds delightful. I just this year for the first time grilled peaches and they were awesome. I'm seriously thinking of trying pears!

    I tried to share this post on twitter but for some reason, it won't go through. I seem to have misplaced you on twitter too. I'm having a difficult time learning the process actually) Thanks again...

  2. Oh thanks Louise and thanks for sharing your story! Hmm, wonder why it wouldn't upload to twitter. But, thanks for the thought! You may not have been able to find me because I'm now listed as Lindasvittles on twitter.

  3. "Clearly, the normal state of being was disrupted." Indeed! But you certainly made the best of it--even with all the obnoxious noise permeating what otherwise, was a beautiful storm afterglow. It was good to jump off the grid, and a reminder of how pampered we really are.

    And my house is now fully stocked with flashlights, batteries, water and gum. Bring it on! Oh, I'd better stock up on peaches, too. ;)

    Is that my son in your driveway. Dang kid--couldn't find him anywhere.

  4. Wow taht looks like soem wild weather.We have it here regularly so I understand the noice(even without the Source):)
    Than what you need is your good comforting dish:)

  5. That was a meal made in heaven. It's been a long time since I've had peaches with chicken. So long in fact I need a reminder of how they taste together. The potatoes and carrots are a favorite at our house for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great how u managed and did the best in what u could in such a situation. Interessting combination chicken and peache. I am not going to get around oeaches for some time but I ll bookmark it, for a later try out. thx for sharing with us!

  7. Linda, I love your blog, and I am even more inspired to eat healthier meals. Now I don't have far to look. Thanks for sharing. All the best to your family, esp. your daughter. My prayers are with her.

  8. What a beautiful, touching post, Linda. I could not agree more. The absence of technology that you notice following a power outage can be both a curse (as in loss of food) and a blessing. We think about this pretty often, living in such an oooold house. What life must have been like for the people before us. Their days were simpler, yet far more full than ours. No rest for the weary. But sometimes I think they had it better than we do. 200 years ago people worked - I mean, really WORKED. and they went to be tired. Nowadays people have to take drugs to fall asleep, or because they're unhappy, and so much more. Back then you might not have been loving every minute of life, but you were likely too damn tired to think too much about it!

  9. Oh, I'm so glad you were all safe and well after Irene. Your kids will always remember the epic storm...and how neat that you had such quality family time. We've just dealt with power outages of about 24 hours...and that was enough! It does show how spoiled we are with all our gadgets.

    Your chicken looks so wonderful...I love the addition of peaches :) I'm glad you had your grill~

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Hi Linda-Such an emotional and inspiring post you wrote and the photos along with the story is so amazing and moving!
    It brings back memories for me from hurricane Katrina, which was equally if not worst for us with the damage and power outage for 3 weeks. I could not stay at my place because of the damage, and had to take my two cats to stay at my daughter's who also had power outage for ten days.

    Cooking on the grill is a "godsent" solution, and to make such amazing dish like your chicken thighs with the veggies and peaches is a perfect meal for dinner, and lunch, as well.
    Cute perfect for this bad occasion...bringing family and neighbors closer together.
    Thanks for sharing your true experience through your wonderful stories and photos:DDD

  11. Love it! I think I need a blog writing course and you need to stay home! Loved every part of this're writing is great. I am NOT biased.

  12. What a great post! I live in Florida, so we have a generator - to keep us from losing food....but we would have to cook on a grill like you did. However, the dish you made was a feast!

    I like that you embraced the up-side of the storm rather than focus on the things you couldn't have or lost.

    Thank you for sharing your experience of the storm...

  13. Hi Linda!
    If you get a sec, drop by my blog. We're having a Cookbook Party!!!