Never let it be said that, when faced with uncertainty or adversity, we don’t eat well.

As the frenzy surrounding Hurricane Irene increased, Victor’s mom started getting nervous.  She only lives a couple of miles from us but was getting a bit uncomfortable with the relentless hype.  We brought her over to spend the night with us.

That, of course, meant dinner!  Any excuse to cook at our house.  I was at work and picked her up on my way home.

We keep a reasonably well-stocked larder at all times and I really hadn’t thought about bringing home more food to get us through the storm, but our eating habits are a bit different than an 85 year old.  I needed to gear some meals more towards her tastes, so I picked up  a few additional goodies to get us through a couple of meals.

Victor started dinner.

Stuffed peppers, baked ravioli, and homemade focaccia.  Perfect.

The focaccia was made with bread dough I had in the fridge, topped with ricotta cheese, pesto, and cappacola.

The peppers were from the garden.

Victor stuffed them with crumbled Italian sausage, celery, onion, green peppers, and bread crumbs – all sauteed in olive oil, stuffed into the halved peppers, topped with sauce, and baked at 350° for about 30 minutes.

The ravioli were layered in a pie plate with sauce and baked along side the peppers.

Very basic and simple – perfect for Mom.

I also picked up a whole chicken to roast. I figured if the power went off I could still roast it on the grill outside.

I didn’t have to worry about it.  When we awoke this morning the cable was out but thanks to the weather-gods, we never lost electricity.   And I didn’t have to worry about more meals for Nonna.  By 7:30am, she decided the storm had passed and she was ready to go home. After a piece of toast and a cup of coffee, Victor took her home.

And I had a lovely organic chicken just for the two of us…

I really like a simple roast chicken.  A good chicken doesn’t need a lot of adulteration.  Unfortunately, good chickens have become more and more difficult to find.  Chickens are factory-farmed and – like so many foods today – bred for profit not flavor.  When you look at a supermarket chicken and see that it includes 14% to 22% “solution” you know you’re getting an inferior product they are trying to flavor with stuff that shouldn’t be there.

Which is why I buy organic.  The flavor comes from the bird – not additives.

I placed the bird in a pan, rubbed it with butter, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.  Into the cavity, I placed a single lemon.  It went into a 350° oven for 35 minutes and then I placed the potatoes in and raised the temperature to 425° for another 20 minutes.

It came out great.  Crispy skin for Victor and tender juicy meat.

And the beauty of the simple preparation is the rest of the bird is going to make an outrageous traditional chicken salad, tomorrow!

And the weather tomorrow?!?  Sunny and 78°.  The perfect temperature.

And I have the day off.