Friday, August 29, 2008

The Much Requested Polenta Recipe it is. Seriously, it is so easy and the possibilities are endless!

The basics behind it are just a little ratio 1:3...1 cup polenta (dry corn meal, corn grits, NOT the stuff in the tube) to 3 cups of liquid. To make more, just increase the ratio 2:6, etc...

Here is what I do when I am just making dinner for the 4 of us and this leaves a little bit of left overs.

1 cup Corn Meal (My personal preference is Bob's Red Mill Organic Coarse Corn Meal)
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (organic, free-range from Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 cup milk (Strauss Family Organic)
salt and pepper

The chicken stock adds good flavor, if you are a vegetarian, vegetable stock will work fabulously. The milk makes it creamy. You can make it all chicken stock, all milk or you can use water if you don't have anything else and if you are adding flavorful ingredients to it after it is made.

Bring your liquids to a boil(just barely if you are using milk). Turn the heat to low, add salt and pepper to taste and then whisk in the corn meal slowly to avoid lumps. Let the polenta cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally and don't let it get too thick. If it does get too thick, add a little more liquid of choice and a little butter. Then you can add whatever you want to mix in. I like to add in shredded jack cheese and diced green chilis, or caramelized onions, feta and sun dried tomatoes or just a big handful of shredded cheddar.

Now, you can eat it this way, soft, creamy polenta or you can spread it onto a sheet pan (cookie sheet) and refrigerate overnight. Cut the chilled polenta into cakes and bake at 400 degrees in the oven until the tops gets crunchy. Can be used as a side dish or as main course.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gypsy Mama

I have just completed my third move in a year. I am actually wondering if that is an accurate number because it is possible that I blocked one out. Be that as it may, as I was sifting through all the trinkets that a four year old boy turns up with, I was at a complete loss for what the heck to do with all this stuff. A wide assortment of plastic bugs, a million bottles of bubbles, several hundred rocks of all different shapes, sizes and colors mixed in with dirt, feathers, an ant farm full of dead ants, and pieces to toys that I can't even identify. What is a woman on the move to do? Pile it all into a bag and donate it? Dump it in the landfill? Organize it? Who has time? Life is happening all around us. No way I am going to spend hours figuring out where this stuff belongs in our lives. The 4 year old has long since forgotten about every single one of these objects, he lives his life in the moment, and is fully engaged with fitting the tops of markers on his fingers. At this point I would like to raise a glass to the Veterans truck outside of Target that will accept bags of randomness with a smile. Not only do they risk their lives in service, but they make use of all of the unbelievable clutter that can gather in a 4 year old's room. Cheers!

The question I pose to all of you dear friends is this. What is a mom to do with all of the preschool projects? The plastic bag filled with some strange substance with crepe paper atatched, the paper plate covered in yellow paint and sunflower seeds, the gingerbread man, the hand turkeys,the blue string covered in glitter glue( a personal favorite). You all know what I am talking about. Your house is full of these beautiful artifacts. Am I bad mom because I just toss them into the recycle bin? I looked lovingly at each project, thought about all that it took to construct it, and then slam dunked it into the recycle bin. Do you think that jelly substance is recyclable? This is what I figure...I may go to great lengths to preserve these bits of artistic development. But when I bust them out when this 4 year old is an adult he will only think I am totally nuts. Then what do I do? Give them back to him so he can muse about his great achievements? Hand the box over to his wife so she can think I am nuts? Spend my senior years lovingly recalling the good old days? God, I hope not. I hope I am in France with you guys. No. Call me a bad mom if you want. But I am not keeping anymore superfluous pieces of paper. I am going to spread my wings and rid myself of all of 4 year old baggage!!!!

Please just don't ask me to get rid of anymore of my wardrobe, or shoe collection!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Put This On Your Calendar

I may regret posting this for all to see, but then I would be racked with guilt that I knew something and didn't share. I already feel regret that I found about this amazing sale AFTER it was in San Francisco and that I missed the Portland sale by about 4 weeks. I will NOT miss it this time and you don't have to either...just don't go buying something that I want!