When it's this hot, one can only think of cool foods. Today at my blog, check out the super suppers that won't turn the kitchen into a steam bath.
When weather acts like your food processor on stun. Welcome to the 2011 hurricane season. Have you given any thought to your emergency kitchen kit? Storm veterans probably have the routine down. But newcomers may have never known the power of a dry package of double-stuffed Oreos.
The time to prepare is now. Really. Here's what you need to know:
•Store at least 1 gallon of water for each person and pet for three to seven days.
•Pack enough shelf-stable food to feed your household and pets for three to seven days. This includes nonperishable packaged or canned food and beverages, infant food and snacks.
•Write out a basic meal plan and store in a sealable plastic bag. Think of a prolonged loss of power as an impromptu camp out and the ideas will flow. For example, a closed medium-high grill is a perfect environment for making quick pizzas on prepared crusts such as the Boboli line. (Top the crust with cooked shredded meats or cut-up veggies. Smother the top with shredded cheese and place on grill. Close the lid and bake 5-6 minutes. The pizza is ready when the cheese is melted and the underside is lightly browned.
•Gather the essentials. A manual can opener, a heavy-bottomed pan that can be placed on your grill, sheet pans or griddles that can be used on your grill, oven mitts, matches stashed in sealable plastic bags, cooking tools, grill fuel, moist towelettes, paper towels, gel fuel such as Sterno, a grill light or flashlight designated for cooking, pet food, paper plates and plastic utensils.
•The season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, which means you can check and adjust your kit monthly to make sure it's properly stocked. The Atlantic Ocean is expected to be as active as water droplets dancing across hot oil. The National Weather Service is predicting 12 to 18 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major storms in the Category 3 or higher range.
My favorite treat for my home kitchen stash? Jiffy Pop popcorn. On the grill, the smell of hot buttered popcorn wafting over the fence will have neighbors scrambling to help you clear debris. Buy seven of the retro packs that look like mini frying pans.
So where do those Oreos fit in the mix? Comfort food is calming when the hunkering down gets intense and the aftermath is overwhelming. Pace yourself with these and other treats, a Cat 5 sugar rush won't help.
What's in season. In the produce bin, look for Florida avocados, bell pepper, cantaloupe, guava, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, papayas, passion fruit, peanuts, potatoes and snap beans.
Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter @OS_thedish and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow daily food news at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish
Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, pork kebabs @ Mix1051.com and OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish