We just had an amazing dinner. I take pictures of most of the meals that are prepared in this house, at least the ones that are somewhat aesthetic in nature. But this one, it was so good it could not even be caught on camera. Amazing.
It all started with the simple question: What are we having for dinner? Pasta. Shoot, the sauce is frozen. We still have fresh tomatoes, really they need to be used soon. It grew from there.
We roasted the tomatoes with a few cloves of garlic and onions. A random radish and sweet pepper. Tossed it with some olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and oregano, and roasted it at 350˚ for about an hour, then pureed it in the food processor (I left out about a cup of chunks to give it some character.) Brown rice pasta, again? How about polenta instead? Even better, baked polenta. And then Gourmet piped in and suggested Baked Polenta with Parmesan. That not so difficult recipe is below. It was amazing, and now our house smells like baked cheese. We started it off with a tomato/cucumber salad with vinaigrette, and finished with the leftovers of my friend Kim's gluten free apple crisp. She swears it's vegan, I swear it's covered in butter (coconut oil, it turns out). I'm full. I'm satisfied. I want more but will leave it for tomorrow.
Most of all, I'm happy to be able to create such delicacies on a simple budget, in a small kitchen, with my husband along side. There are many things in our marriage that I wish we could do without, ways I wish he was different, or did things my way, etcetera etcetera (I'm sure this is true for all marriages, and anyone who disagrees is lying, right?). But the kitchen; I'm grateful for the kitchen. It's one place we share that we both enjoy. We can switch roles, be the head chef or the sous chef, give input and share expertise. Yeah, sometimes we don't agree on things, and the kitchen is by no means immune to being a warzone on a given day. But we always come out with something to show for it. Usually something good to show for it. Enjoy.
Baked Polenta with Parmesan (adapted from Gourmet)
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano (I supplemented a little asiago too)
Bring 4 cups water and 1 tsp salt to boil in a 2-3 quart heavy sauce pan. Add polenta in a thin stream (if you can!), stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low (or it will spit like lava), stirring constantly till the polenta is thick, about 15 minutes.
Remove polenta from the heat, add the butter and some ground pepper. Spoon polenta into a shallow 8-inch baking or casserole, not glass and smooth top; sprinkle with cheese, then cool (they say 1 hour in the fridge, we did 10 min in the freezer).
Bake at 400˚ or until heated through, then broil till the cheese is lightly browned. Serve immediately with the roasted tomato sauce and enjoy!