Monday, August 15, 2011

last Sunday dinner together for a while: Farmer's Market Vegetables and Polenta

Well, here we are.  Kelly moves back to Purdue tomorrow and we start our journey to North Carolina to deliver Sara in a week.  Wow.  I'm super shaky on the inside.  A few tears in the corners of my eyes on the outside.  If you know me well, you know this transition is going to be very challenging for me.  I thought I'd never make it when Kelly started at Purdue and here she is a senior and I adjusted to her being gone after about a day when she sent an email full of happiness over her first day on campus.  But, I still had Sara at home.  When we leave Sara at Duke, we will be empty-nesters and the best part of some days might be playing a "game" with my cat.  Super thankful I have yoga, lululemon and a little tennis to keep me part of the tribe.  Never wanted this time to come.  I'll be fine, but know if you don't hear from me for a few days I'm just working it all out.  Cooking for one or two and working on accepting it all gracefully and gratefully.

No point in dwelling on it.  Nothing to be done about it but to take it a day at a time.  Meanwhile, everyone is still home tonight.  One last Sunday dinner for four to fix until sometime around Christmas.  I'll keep this quick and get back to helping Kelly pack her little car and my van.  Sara and I had a bountiful outing at the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market on Saturday.  Kelly did not want to choose something special for her last dinner at home, so I threw together what we had on hand and dinner was delightful.  I had technical difficulties with the grill (grilling once or twice every day really rips through the propane tank), so I heated the oven to 425 degrees (thankfully it was nice and cool this evening) and roasted sliced summer squash and red onions.  I sliced portabello mushrooms and sauteed them in a little olive oil and kosher salt.  When I was just about ready to serve dinner I added some beautiful tomatoes in yellow and pink, a few cloves of garlic and a big bunch or two of basil.

I have a rekindled love of polenta.  I bought a new bag of Bob's Mill polenta/corn grits because I like the coarseness of that brand.  Prepare polenta as directed with water, a little salt and a little olive oil.  I don't add cheese, but you could.  They are very savory with just the salt and olive oil.  Serve the polenta as a base for the vegetables.  Perfect.  Something different than pasta and just as easy.

For the omnivores, Greg grilled some boneless breasts sliced into tender-size, tossed with olive oil and the Tuscan seasoning from Costco.  Greg schlepped over the Wede's propane tank and then schlepped it back.  Nice of him.  He swears I heat the grill too long, but I swear it's the daily grilling.  We will probably disagree on this point until the end of time.

Kelly did request "that good salad"which means a trip out to my herb garden for thyme and rosemary.  First remove the leaves from the herbs and chop them a bit with kosher salt and a few cloves of garlic.  Then add the herbs and garlic to my salad bowl with a few generous grinds of black pepper, a few tablespoons of champagne vinegar (any white or red wine vinegar will work) and a good pour of olive oil.  The ingredients that make the salad "that good salad" besides the fresh herbs are a diced avocado and a good handful of crumbled feta cheese.  Toss it all with some romaine and it is "that good salad".

If you really need me to write these dishes out in "recipe" form, post a comment.  There was no measuring but I can give you a general guideline.  The best way to cook like this is to start with just a bit of salt and pepper (maybe 1/2 a teaspoon) and taste before adding more.  I usually use 3-4 cloves of garlic in my sautees and in my salad dressings.  Just chop it all at the same time and put the minced garlic in a little bowl.  I used four medium portabellos (one per person), one onion, two medium summer squash, two large tomatoes and maybe one cup of very loosely packed basil leaves.  There were no leftovers for four.  Too bad, because they would be great leftovers!


mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and garlic in the saute pan

summer squash and red onion after oven roasting

thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, champagne vinegar, olive oil, avocado and feta
all that's missing for "that good salad" is the romaine and the tossing

sauteed and roasted vegetables tossed and in their serving bowl

my plate of polenta and vegetable goodness

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to totally try polenta again. Thanks. Good luck in the next few weeks. I"ll be thinking of you.

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