Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kale and Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta

One of my biggest incentives for making a new dish or using a new ingredient is finding something on sale at the store and buying it, not knowing what I'm going to do with it. The other is having to use up the remains of something left in my fridge from a previous meal. I've ended up with some strange and disgusting meals this way, like chicken quinoa soup made with chicken that had been in my freezer for a year and a half (don't ask, and yes, I boiled the shit out of the chicken so that I wouldn't get food poisoning, and no, I'm never doing that again) and all sorts of egg-related abominations.

Anyway, kale for $1/bunch and the bacon leftover from my bacon cornbread (which was um... underbaked, and still taken to the potluck, but I'm just not going to talk about it anymore) ended up being a perfect reason to try the Kale and Mushroom with Creamy Polenta recipe I dug up on epicurious. Polenta is one of my favorite comfort foods, and a half dozen raw oysters with a Bloody Mary followed by a bowl of parmesan polenta and then whatever's for dessert at Zuni Cafe is one of my all-time favorite semi-inexpensive meals. I've tried making it once before, with some unmemorable results, but this was a perfect reason to try again.

I followed the recipe exactly, except for the fact I only had 3.5 cups of milk so I replaced the last half-cup with water. The polenta right out of the pot was fantastic, though after spending a few minutes taking a kind of crappy picture of my meal, I noticed it was starting to lump up and dumped the kale-mushroom-bacon mixture on it and ate it. It was tasty, and definitely complemented by the delicious topping, but not close to the Zuni polenta of lore. The recipe is a keeper, though next time I think I'll try sticking the whole skillet in the oven to bake the bacon instead of saute it - I like it crispy.

Up soon: experiments with the new 13 x 10 baking pan, pie dough (I finally bought a rolling pin), and ruminations on how the hell Z and I are making Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves and everyone else coming over. I guess I actually have to clean my bathroom now. Eep!

Leftover report:
I couldn't eat any more peanut soup. I ate all the tomatoes out of it and gave the rest to Ralphy, who not only seemed to really enjoy it, he also licked the container clean so I didn't have to scrub any peanut detritus off the insides of it before putting it in the dishwasher. Dogs are awesome.

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