In October, I had the good fortune to go to a little town in Connecticut to celebrate my favorite TV show. I saw many wonderful people and had a great time, despite the cold incessant rain. Bone chilling rain. All. Weekend. Long.
Needless to say, soup was definitely on the mind.
I’m beginning to think I have a problem. This certainly isn’t helping my pants fit any better. But birthday and celebrations call for cake and there certainly seem to be a lot of them this summer.
Where can I even begin?
Well, you can thank (or blame) my sister for my return. She and I don’t get to spend as much time together as we used to and it has led to me neglecting things. She is always very encouraging of my cooking (because I think she appreciates having cookies around our parents’ house).
From what I hear, this winter is going to be a particularly cold one. Currently, acorns litter the parking lot at work and every day the walk to the building gets more treacherous.
So, I’ve pulled out the electric blankets, bought some spray foam insulation, and started preserving the last of the summer produce. I love the taste of fresh tomato sauce, so naturally those have been canned some weeks ago. Now I’m just getting around to a new love, roasted red peppers under olive oil.
The itinerary was Milan, Como, Lazise, and Venice. And it could not have been a more perfect way to celebrate being Mr. and Mrs. Fictional Kitchen. If you are anywhere near a Venchi Chocolates, you must absolutely get some gelato. It is amongst the best I have ever eaten!
Compliments of the Boscolo Hotel
A view from the top
My family has very strong opinions about polenta. It’s one of the foods traditional to the valley I was born and holds an important spot in my mother’s food identity. Goodness forbid you try to serve her a quick-cook polenta or something out of those vacuum packs. She will have no mercy.
For her, polenta is cooks for a full hour., over low heat with occasionally stirring. I remember a vacation in which we went skiing with some friends. One of the adults was a professional chef. After a long day outside, we can back to find him whipping polenta in the kitchen. I thought my mother was going to have a conniption.
This is not my mother’s polenta.
Don’t get me wrong: I love her polenta. It is creamy and rich without the aid of butter, cream, or cheese. But this is a quick dinner polenta. Delicious with a pile of sauteed mushrooms and a Caesar salad. Crisped up in a pan. Since it is so fast, it works in the early summer too. It would be fantastic topped with fresh tomatoes and cheese or perhaps sauteed zucchini with garlic.
serves 2 as a main
1/2 c course ground cornmeal
2 c water
1/2 tsp salt
In a medium pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in cornmeal. Return mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook 10-15 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
Preheat a skillet pan with some olive oil. Pour hot cornmeal into skillet pan. Fry 2-3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Flip and fry on other side. Slice and serve.
Is anyone else tired of the crummy weather already? One day, it is in the 60s and I am sweating at night in my flannel pjs. The next, it is a frigid 24 degrees with sleet pounding down from the sky. It is gross and I’m tired of it. Who do I have to feed to make it stop?
On a positive note, the holidays are coming around and I feel relatively settled in the new apartment. No longer is every weekend spent busy things that we need or stocking the pantry. While we can’t yet host people, a new couch is on its way and then we can party at home. In the meantime, we have been making the rounds, visiting friends who have been neglected since the summer.