*Recipes follow story
The amount of meals I’ve made and photographed but not written about over the past few months are numerous. There was a time when I couldn’t stop cooking, taking photos and writing, but over the course of the past few months, I came to the conclusion that I do not need to write about food all the time and document all that I do in my kitchen on a regular basis – to prove to myself that I’m productive. What I need to do is cook, be healthy and conscious of it (most of the time) and take the time to enjoy doing it because it makes me happy. I’m working towards a little more balance and peace and a little less beating myself up because I did, didn’t or thought I should’ve done something. I was also gifted an Apple TV for Christmas, so splitting my time between writing/cooking and HBOGO is going to prove challenging, I already know this.
Last night my friend Eve and I were texting one another and in response to my: I’d like to get back to updating my blog -she said, no one is judging you but you. How true.
The very first meal I cooked in this new year was made for my old roommates and two wonderful friends, Nancy and Susana.
I forgot about frittatas and food combinations, and thought more about warmth and comfort. Frittatas are comforting, don’t get me wrong, but creamy soft polenta screams happy belly. Topped with spinach and mushrooms, I took a look at theKitchn and referred to their method and Marcella Hazan’s tips for whipping up a batch of polenta. Instead of individual ramekins, I made one big bodacious egg bake (although ramekins are on my list of needs) and paired it with fresh fruit cups topped with dollop of orange yogurt, slivered almonds and cranberries. Huddled around the dining set I bought 12 years ago, we enjoyed not only the food we ate - but one another’s company. What good is sharing the experience of a meal without the proper companions?
Here’s to all things good in the year to come; delicious food, a satisfied heart and stomach, love, balance, sharing and being present. Cook to make yourself or someone else smile, because it’s properly combined, gluten free, easily digestible - because it satisfies a craving, a curiosity to try something new - or just because you imagine it will taste really fucking good.
Cook and eat with intent.
Orange Yogurt with fresh fruit
1 small container of Greek yogurt
1/2 Mineola orange + zest (or whatever is juicy and in season)
2 T. honey
1-2 T. slivered almonds
1-2 T. dried cranberries
Fruit of your choice (I chose pineapple and bananas and sliced the remaining half of my Mineola orange
-Mix yogurt with juice of orange, scraping out some of the flesh so you’re left with chunky yogurt - yum
-Drizzle with honey, mix, top with zest/peel, cover and refrigerate
-When ready to serve, assemble fruit bowls, topping with yogurt and sprinkling with almonds + cranberries
Baked Eggs with Creamy Polenta, Spinach and Mushrooms
*I made a few tweaks
-Added mushrooms, sauteing first and then folding in spinach
-Polenta recipe was halved, adding pecorino to the polenta instead of using to top the eggs
-Whole milk in the polenta was substituted with fat-free half and half. I’m sorry if I broke your rules Marcella Hazan
-I was preparing brunch for three, so the polenta recipe was halved and I did make 2 eggs per person. There was more than enough polenta for three people and 6 eggs
-Prepared in one dish, I found the eggs needed a little more time than noted on the site. Follow the instructions re: hot water bath but you’ll no longer need a cloth to set your one pan. 20 minutes uncovered and 7 minutes covered with foil gave me perfectly set egg whites with delightfully soft and slightly gooey yolks
Check out this wonderful NYT article and video piece on Marcella Hazan. I hope I’m still going and cooking into my old age too.