intuitive cooking, sensible eating.

Brunch

Polenta, Autumn, Heart

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I have to say, very few things hit the spot like polenta does.  Last night I was not sure what we would make, but Seth had a recipe he wanted to make that his mom gave him, so we decided to make it!  Upon close inspection, we realised we had no bread – the recipe called for the dish to be served on toasts spread with goats cheese.  I thought there was some polenta left, and so we decided to use that instead.

The recipe was a simple braise of carrots, onion, and mushrooms in water and white wine, finished with basil chiffonnade.  Seth worked on that, and I made the polenta.  Along the way, I thought that it could be interesting to spice the polenta with curry!  I have never tried that, and oh my god is it good.  I was just blown away by the richness of the final product, even though I did not use any stock!  DEFINITELY try it out with this topping, or something like a lamb curry or bolognese spiced with garam masala….  I love finding a new flavor profile within a base I love so much as polenta.  Oh, he wide avenues of creativity warm my heart so much lately.

Braised Carrots 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 8 carrots, thick hearty chunks of varied shapes & lengths
  • 1 medium red onion, half moons
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, rough chop
  • Water & white wine – about a cup of liquid total, adding more if things get too dry whilst cooking
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bay leaf
  • 1/4 basil, chiffonnade

Chop up all your veggies, then melt the butter in a pan – preferably one with a lid.  Toss in the veggies with the butter over MH heat and brown them lightly for a minute or two.  Then deglaze with the wine, add water, the bay leaf, cover and let it braise for about half an hour.  Depending on the size you have cut up your carrots, it will vary the cooking time.  By the end, you want them to be fork tender, but not overcooked.  The liquid should reduce down at the end, so uncover it and let that clear off to glaze it all.

Curried Polenta with Goats Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3+ cups water (add more during cooking if things get too dry)
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • bay leaf
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup  milk
  • 4 oz goats cheese (more or less if you like)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  1. Bring water, wine, bay leaf, lemon, to a simmer and stir in polenta.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, curry powder.  Cover, and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  You can add more liquid if you think it’s too dry.
  3. Stir in dairy at the end (milk through butter)

Oh, and for good measure, you may want to consider poaching an egg and heating up some leftover polenta for your breakfast.  To die for!


Baking Adventure: Top Secret Focaccia 3 Ways

Beet Focaccia

I have done very little bread baking in my day.  I made a really nasty whole wheat baguette once, made some pretzel rolls that were mediocre, the bagels were good (a lot of work, but worth it), but my main experience has been with making pizza dough.  I have been wanting to expand upon this, and start small.  I asked myself, what kind of bread is easy and cheap to make, tends to be forgiving, but super tasty?  It came to me: focaccia.

First I whipped up a basic dough recipe, and topped it with oil, Italian seasoning, fresh parsley that I’d dried out overnight, and grated smoked Swiss.  I think it may be one of the more delicious things I’ve made lately – fresh out of the oven and warm, served with butter, it was outrageously tasty.  With this success under my belt, I have now adopted the concept of focaccia as two things: a fantastic blank canvass to integrate all sorts of flavors, herbs, seasonings, cheeses, meats, and other fun things in.  It also is something I might be able to sell… That is why the recipe is Top Secret.  I will, dear readers, appease you with some food porn (classy terminology, I know, but if any of you know me, I embody class).  Anyway, so my first foray into crazy focaccia land were chocolate cherry and beet.  More to come as I get more inspired and adventurous!

Oh, and here’s a really tasty looking recipe you can try 🙂  Serve it as a breakfast sandwich like I did, eat with butter, regular sandwich, eggs benedict, and use leftovers for sweet or savory bread pudding!

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mitten brunch

my friends and I had a fantastic brunch.  Oh, and family, too 🙂

Awesome Curried Vegan Waffles

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup corn meal

2 cups soy milk

Curry spices you like – curry, tumeric, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, etc. etc.

olive oil

1 sweet potato mashed in, for good measure

  1. heat up waffle iron(s)
  2. crank out waffles for a crowd!

Top with such fun things as:

  1. Vegan gravy
  2. Yogurt,
  3. Black beans
  4. Maple Syrup & Nuts
  5. Whatever sounds about right

Served with:

  • Green Salad
  • Fruit salad
  • Vegan Gravy
  • Yogurt/Lemon Zest dressing

Fantastic day, complete with fishing, beach, Shawarma King, ice cream, family, friends.


Long Lost Polenta Breakfast

I have been eating my heart out of that coconut rice, and so it was time to hit up one of my old favorites: breakfast polenta. I am moving back to Michigan, and have been trying to use up a lot of things from my freezer and pantry section. I had polenta, and some frozen corn I saved from using a little in another recipe a while back. I also found this smoked salmon hiding in the back of the freezer that needed to be used.

I packed up some onion and tomatoes, then set forth upon a walk to my dear friend’s. I sure do love cooking breakfast with other people. It makes me look forward to hosting brunches and spending time with friends once I get go back to siberia the Mitten. We made this last Tuesday, and there was a whole lot left for more breakfasts that week. I feel really lucky to have made so much good food over there, and I will never forget how important it is to share meals – especially breakfasts. I remember last summer I used to sometimes eat with 3 or 4 people. We would convene on the white couch, drinking coffee, then eat fruit and yogurt before starting the day. This day, it was sunshine, coffee, polenta, and sauteed veggies, and a poached egg.

Sometimes I feel like a spring flower, that I hide beneath cold frozen turf all winter, beneath rotting leaves, beneath scouring winds, and the crisp silence of mornings crackling frost beneath everybody’s feet. I know that everyone has their own ways of processing the changes of seasons, and their own patterns. I remember what it was like to be the shy violet shooting up as big as I have ever been towards the sunshine. I hope that it will be the same this spring. It is always a relief when you can finally stop worrying that your roots are grounded enough. Beautiful things grow from the barest of surfaces, the most nutrient poor soils, and the saddest of people.

Rocks, sandy soils, beaches can all grow such lovely, strange plants.


Josh Kerby: Cook & Friend

Josh and I met back in middle school at Hillside in Kalamazoo, MI.  We were awkward together, shy, figuring out life. Turns out, we both love to cook! We used to grill a lot and certainly did some damage back in the day –  we were neighbors for a few years on Walnut St. in Kalamazoo, and then I actually moved into his old apartment (a funny story for another time).  He is one of those people with whom I have gone through times of speaking very little with, but we have always stayed in touch, and it makes me so happy to see him doing so well!

He got his CA degree in Grand Rapids and has now moved out to Portland.  I mentioned the place he works a few posts ago (the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe).  He sent me some pictures of his breakfast special from a couple of weeks ago to post on here.  If you are out on the west coast, definitely check out his skills.

I totally stole some of these pictures of him off his social networking site of choice, as I do not have any shots of him on my computer (yet..)


(Pseudo) Pi Day

This is definitely not pie.  But, it is the closest I am going to come to it at this point in the day.  I didn’t even make it on Pi Day… this is, actually, a coincidence.  One, which, I do not think can be chalked up to any interesting mathematical concept.  Really, this is what I would call this a buckle, or some kind of crumble.

Blueberry Oat Thing

Bottom Layer

  • 4 cups of frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Topping

  • 4-6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups oats and/or granola
  • nuts
  • dried fruit

1.  Bring the bottom layer ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened.  You could add some corn starch as well to expedite this or make it as thick as you like. Butter a 13×9 glass baking pan.

2.  Mix all the Topping Layer ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the bottom layer.  Bake at 375 till the blueberries are bubbling and the topping is browned.


Long Lost Brunch

Argentinian chorizo, sauteed veggies, diced potatoes, 5 eggs beaten with half and half, topped with stravecchio, spinach, and avocado.

i love you.