Wood Stove Cooking and Romantic Candle Light Dinners

Trying to cope with Hurricane Sandy’s Recovery

I can truly say we are fortunate to have this wood stove. It has kept us warm and we were able to cook on it, too. You might laugh, but in these trying times, we had some romantic candle light dinners.  Before I write anything else I want to thank everyone including my friends and family members for all the well wishes we have received during and after Hurricane Sandy. For all of you who didn’t read my last post about the hurricane recovery with rice pudding this one is a follow up.

Cooking on a wood stove

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Waking up at 45 degrees Fahrenheit ( 7 degrees Celsius) in the house is no fun, but heating up the wood stove and boiling water for coffee is energizing. Adding scrambled eggs and bacon (it’s actually amazing that I was able to make that on the wood stove) and the breakfast became the highlight of the day. When I would usually gobble down my breakfast in minutes I would enjoy this meal like a Michelin style food.  Of course at one point the refrigerator became empty and the famous peanut butter sandwich would do just fine.

Cooking breakfast on a wood stove

The Good Old Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich

Oh – So – Romantic Candle Light Dinners

Don’t get me wrong, I do love romantic candle light dinners. Doing everything with candle light becomes tedious. You know – leaving one room to go to another and not taking the candle with you is agonizing. Hey, what am I complaining about, there are people in this world who have it much worse. In short I really did enjoy my candle light dinners albeit my cooking preparation and the cooking had to be done before dawn. Not an easy task considering that cooking on the wood stove takes 2-3 times as long as on a regular stove. These type of wood stoves are not really designed to cook on. Nonetheless, it was the only heat source we had and the food in the refrigerator was  in jeopardy of spoiling, since we had no power. In the end it was fun to eat at candle light.

Candle Light Dinner during Hurricane Sandy Recovery

During these 14 days I cooked everything from spaghetti with tomato basil butter sauce, rice pudding, Lentil soup, grilled jerk marinated chicken just to name a few.

One thing I must say the slow cooking on the wood stove really made most dishes come out absolutely delicious. As a chef I always race to get things done, not so on the wood stove. It takes a bit of time for the food to cook.

Candle Light Dinner during Hurricane Sandy Recovery

So one of my dishes I cooked during this time was a seared codfish with beans and boiled potatoes. I enjoyed this dish so much it’s probably because of the situation we were in. The flavors of the dish were so sweet in a sense that I could have eaten it all night long. I guess it was because I cooked the fish first and used the same pan for the sauce.  Again the temperature of the stove was important too. It sort of cooked it in slow motion and came out succulent and tender. (If I may say so)

Sauteed Codfish with Thyme Tomato Beer Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • Codfish filets
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1.5 cup of flour
  • Salt and pepper
Thyme Tomato Beer Sauce
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • 10 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 0.5 cup beer
  • 1-2 oz Ketchup
  • Vegetable stock as needed
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil for sauteing
  1. Wash and clean codfish filets.
  2. Season with plenty of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Dust filets with flour.
  4. In a large heavy bottom pan heat olive oil over medium heat until hot.
  5. Place codfish filets carefully in pan and sear both sides for about 4 – 5 minutes each.
  6. The thicker the filet the longer they need to cook. Codfish fillets are done when segments become flaky and easy to pull apart.
  7. Remove filets from pan and keep warm.
Thyme Tomato Beer Sauce
  1. Add all other ingredients to the same pan. Do not rinse pan since you want to keep all those good flavors in the pan.
  2. Add a little olive oil if necessary.
  3. Once vegetables are half way cooked add 0.5 cup of beer (lager is fine) and an oz or 2 ketchup.
  4. Add a little vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce liquid slightly and serve.
  6. Serve Codfish with your choice of rice or potatoes and veggies. Enjoy


One thing for sure – a hurricane brings people together, whether its family or neighbors. And very often the romantic candle light dinners turned out to be quiet relaxing.

I do have to say; this experience has brought me closer to nature. It has taught me to be more conservative with my resources and to respect the environment I live in.

Have you had any dramatic live changing events due to Natural Disasters?

How did you cope with that?

Do you like slow cooking methods?


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  1. This does look romantic but I know it becomes tired after a while. At least you had the wood burning stove or what would you have done? We have a small gas fire with a gas bottle for emergencies but gourmet meals would not be coming forth from it. It looks like you did really well.
    Suzanne Perazzini recently posted..Chocolate, Banana, Coconut Slice – sugar, gluten & dairy-freeMy Profile

    • It’s true by now I’m tired of cooking and heating with this stove. However, today is a very exciting day for me and my family: After 26 days we finally got hot water and heat back in the house and it feels like heaven.

  2. Your resourcefulness while recovering from this natural disaster is truly inspiring Frank. Returning to a simpler life makes us all reflect with gratitude on the many modern conveniences we’ve come to take for granted in our daily lives. Thank God for wood-burning stoves!!! Cook on!
    Karen Pavone recently posted..Soup’s On!My Profile

    • Thank you Karen,
      You are absolutely right about the simple life. Sometimes we just forget that we live in a world with amenities that other people never had.

  3. It’s amazing how resourceful you are with just a wood burning stove. It reminds me of Little House on the Prairie! I can’t believe how cold your home is when you wake up – it just doesn’t get that cold in Sydney xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Pacific DawnMy Profile

    • Sometimes I wish I would live in a warmer climate. This was definitely an experience and a half. However, I must say, sometimes I did enjoy cooking on the wood stove. Looking forward to a normal life again. Thank God.

  4. Glad to hear that you have your power and water back after the Hurricane. The thought of having a wood fire stove has always seemed appealing to me and you were fortunate to have one in such a situation. The codfish sauce sounds very unique and delicious.
    Nik@ABrownTable recently posted..baath cake/ goan coconut cakeMy Profile

    • Thank you Nik. The codfish sauce is unique, but it was surprisingly tasty. It was all I had to cook with under the circumstances. You are right about the stove, I don’t know what I would have done without it.

  5. I use to have an old gas/wood cookstove in the very first house I bought. I ended up using the woodstove to cook with a lot in the winter months. The wood cooked more evenly than the gas – if you can believe that. You’re so right, the slow cooking makes the food taste amazing. Your cod dish looks delicious – even to someone who doesn’t eat fish.
    Eileen recently posted..Hershey’s Peanut Butter BlossomsMy Profile