11/05/2012 08:05 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2013

Cooking to a Hurricane, or How Sandy Helped Clean the Pantry

Sarah Shatz

Nov. 2 -- Unlike so many friends and family, the Accidental Locavore survived the hurricane with power intact. Still, my pre- and post-storm strategy to start cooking down the contents of the freezer remained in place. Luckily, the local bodegas were still open, providing missing ingredients as well as a destination for the apartment-weary. So what did I decide to make in the face of impending disaster? Monday night, I made Frank's favorite, pasta puttanesca. The freezer yielded some homemade Italian sausage, the fridge had olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and Parmesan. I used up some penne from the pantry, and we had a great dinner while the winds howled outside.

Next up? There was a roasted duck from Costco (of, as the French would say, un âge certain) that I was originally just going to heat up and serve with cauliflower, probably roasted. But an earlier search through the fridge turned up a container of Thai red curry paste. Suddenly, the duck looked more interesting as Thai red curry duck over jasmine rice (also in the freezer) and the cauliflower could hang out for another day or two. We ventured out to grab some pineapple and a red pepper (gotta love NYC!) and check out the local damage from Sandy. Lots of debris, tree branches and tons of leaves, but luckily, not much more than that.

The duck came together really well; I sautéed it to crisp up the skin (as it turns out, an unnecessary step, since it was getting stewed in the curry) then mixed the red curry paste with coconut milk, ginger, some lime leaves and fish sauce (all from my freezer and/or pantry). I added the duck, the pineapple and red pepper, let it cook together for a few minutes and topped with fresh basil and cilantro. This was a really quick and easy way to put together a dinner in minutes, so there may be another Costco roast duck in my future...

Tonight, we're off to our friend Zhu Zhu's for beef burgundy. He's been working on this almost longer than the storm and its aftermath, so we're anticipating another great meal! And until the power comes on for our friends downtown, our shower is open and operating!