intuitive cooking, sensible eating.

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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.


Ode to Complimentary Beings

Ode to Salt  

by Pablo Neruda

This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won’t
believe me
but
it sings
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
sings
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
solitudes
when I heard
the voice
of
the salt
in the desert.
Near Antofagasta
the nitrous
pampa
resounds:
a
broken
voice,
a mournful
song.  

In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
salt,
we see your piquant
powder
sprinkling
vital light
upon
our food.
Preserver
of the ancient
holds of ships,
discoverer
on
the high seas,
earliest
sailor
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
the smallest,
miniature
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste finitude.

 

Ode to Tomatoes

The street
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhausible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

 


Outreach > Preview

Hey everyone… could use some assistance.

SO here is the dilemma:

  1. I wake up really early for work and have little time in the morning, so I usually just eat fruit and boring yogurt .
  2. I can eat for free at work, bring a salad and slice home.
  3. I seem to only want to eat roasted squash and sweet potatoes.
  4. I eat by myself like 90% of the time.
  5. I cook all day at work, and am finally understanding the “why bother” effect of that.
  6. I am about to be busy from 6:30 AM until 8:30 PM everyday outside of the house during weekdays.

SO this dilemma seems to mean that I only have weekends for fun and exciting projects.  I am considering maybe doing a more focused exploration on baking to showcase here.  Perhaps you all have had your fair share of my roasted squash/poached egg based concoctions.  I guess, like most things in life, change begs change.

That said, I would love to hear any ideas for baking or ways to deal with the six issues outlined above.  Otherwise, I can just keep posting endless photos of pizza, haha.

Since I have only been talking so far, I will provide some photos… perhaps the first real off topic section of a post I have done.  Photography has been enjoyable lately – I am working on a side project (shh – top secret) that will soon be unveiled.  But here is a sneak preview of what I call Groundscore Series…


Published Panzanella

Last week I had the pleasure of making an item for the prepared salad bar at work.  The constraints I was operating under were: make it fast, cheap, delicious, and simple.  And with what we have already.  After about 10 minutes in the walk in, it occurred to me I should probably just make panzanella.

On The Fly Panzanella

serves a lot – potluck, party worthy

The Nitty

  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard that you like
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper to taste
  • dried herbs you like (I used oregano and parsley I think) to taste

The Gritty

  • 4 -5 ciabatta sandwich rolls, diced and toasted in the oven (used 500 degree pizza oven, so crank it!)
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into half moons, then rough chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips & rough chopped also
  • 3 tbsp preminced lazy garlic in a jar
  • several generous handfulls of spinach
  • grated parmesan to taste
  • add in feta if you like, or fresh mozzarella balls

1.  Mix all the Nitty in the bottom of a large bowl

2.  Toss the Gritty with the Nitty, and you’ve got your salad.

Literally that easy.

 

 


Sandwich Day

learned to make some sandwiches at work yesterday…was quickly torn away from that task to stave off the chaos of the hungry pizza eating TGIF lunch crowd.  BEAUTIFUL day!!

Sandwich Platter (not my work)

Sicilian Pepperoni Pizza

 


Tropical Fish (ie. not turkey)

So I think I fell in love with turkey, finally.  Gotta say I was ready for there to be no more turkey.  Leftovers, it was fun.  Anyway, I was feeling like having fish.  Over the summer in Chicago I used to make mango salsa all the time.  I had a mango sitting around, and I thought maybe I would make a mango salsa but with basil instead of cilantro.  You can use it as a topping for any white meat/fish, or just eat it with chips.  I had some the next day with yogurt.

Mango Salsa

2 big ripe mangoes, finely chopped

1/2 white onion

4-however much you want cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice

juice from 2 lemons

salt and pepper (I used pink himalayan salt)

a lot of basil chiffonade

Just combine all that in a bowl and let it sit for a while.

For the fish, I just did a 20 minute marinade.  I brushed it (codfish), with oil, juice from a lemon, orange juice, salt and pepper.  Then I topped it with panko and sesame seeds before baking at 425 for about 10 minutes.  Serve with the salsa!

 


Pizza: it’s been a while.

After alllll that turkey and fixins, it occurred to me that I really wanted to eat pizza.  Had some fresh mozzarella sitting around that needed to be used, and a bunch of tomato sauce I had frozen from the heirloom tomato sauce project.  I used a classic neapolitan dough recipe which I got from one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks.  Heidi Swanson is behind it, and she uses Peter Reinhart’s recipe.  It is fantastic.

4 1/2 cups unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4  teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup  olive oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

1.  In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt.  With a metal spoon, fold in the water and oil.  Work the dough for 5 to 7 minutes in the bowl until the dough is smooth and well mixed.  The dough will be a bit sticky, so don’t be alarmed by the texture.

2.  Sprinkle flour on the counter, and turn out the dough.  Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet and lightly oil it.  Divide the dough into six parts, and form smaller balls from that.  Place them onto the baking sheet, and brush them generously with oil.  Cover the whole sheet with a plastic bag or plastic wrap.  Place the sheet into the refrigerator and let rest for up to 3 days.

3.  When you plan to make the pizzas, remove the dough you need 2 hours in advance.  Right out of the refrigerator, make sure to shape the dough into flattened rounds about 1/2” by 5”.  Let rest at room temperature.

4.  Heat up your oven as hot as it will go.  If you are going to heat up a pizza stone, do that 45 minutes in advance.  Or, sprinkle an oiled baking sheet with semolina flour, and then stretch the dough balls into the shapes you want (shoot for 9” by 12”).  Add your toppings, but try not to load it down with too many.  Put the pizzas in the oven.  They should take about 8 minutes to bake.

By the way, Lauree is really cool – she’s on the couch in the photo below.  We are going to grow shiitake mushrooms together!