Made With Love

Hurricane Matthew leaves no choice but to get cooking again

Returning home after Hurricane Matthew was quite an unnerving experience. I wasn’t sure what state I’d find my house in.

As I drove into Beaufort County, I could see the destruction. There were so many downed trees everywhere, including my own property.

I’ve heard many opinions about trees lately.

They provide beauty, shade and a home for animals. I love to watch birds fly through my yard and find a place to perch. Without trees, squirrels couldn’t come to visit me, and cats wouldn’t be able to chase them up and down the branches.

Trees are also important buffers. They battle the forces of wind and, ironically, help keep damage to a minimum.

Alas, they also fall on homes.

Another major problem caused by the hurricane was food-related.

With the loss of power, came the loss of food. Those of us who freeze fruits and vegetables, who stock shrimp, crabmeat, fish from the creeks and pies, cakes and cookies were wiped out.

After cleaning out my freezer and fridge, it’s time for a fresh start.

With any kind of disaster, there’s stress, and one has to find a way to deal with the situation at hand and prepare to turn the page to another day and another way.

Join me in the kitchen with a song on your lips and joy in your heart while preparing these dishes with love.

Green Peas

1 10-ounce package frozen green peas

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook peas according to package directions, drain. In a medium saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Add onions and green peppers, cook until tender. Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Add tomatoes in saucepan. Stir in peas, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir in a few tablespoons of tomato liquid into the cornstarch, stirring to dissolve the cornstarch. Add cornstarch and remaining tomato liquid to peas. Cook while stirring, until hot and bubbly. Serve warm.

Vegetable Dish

1 16-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 10-ounce package frozen corn, defrosted

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters, then sliced crosswise

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoon basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover. Cook over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are hot and flavors are blended, stirring occasionally. Drain before serving.

Bean-Pepper Casserole

2 10-ounce frozen lima beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 green peppers cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 tablespoon imitation bacon bits

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons molasses

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons minced onion flakes

1 16-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, undrained

2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

Cook beans according to package directions, drain. Place in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green peppers to beans and toss until combined. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over beans and peppers. Cover and bake 35 minutes.