I almost made it to the end of the year without getting sick– almost…
I was always randomly sick growing up, so by now the whole experience of staying home, watching TV, and actually sleeping enough on a workday just feels cliché. I can deal with the symptoms– Fever? Been there. Coughing? Done that. Headaches? Boring…
What really gets me now though, is when I can’t taste or smell anything–pure torture. Most of our taste actually comes from our noses, and I cook almost exclusively by smell, so sickness is the ultimate handicap. Sometimes, that can be tragic–but this time I actually got it right.
I needed to make another vegetarian dish to maintain some balance on the blog, and had all the ingredients for something relatively simple, and flavorful enough that I would be able to taste some of it in my weakened state. Cue the polenta– or rather coarsely ground cornmeal. Instead of buying the boxed “polenta” mixes, look for the often cheaper cornmeal for this one. It’s kind of like using whole wheat, or steel-cut oats– probably better for you, but definitely more flavorful. The texture works better here as well.
I’ve already made polenta on the blog, so I’ll probably skip over that step in the directions below. This time, though, I added a bunch of lemon zest to the mix while it cooked.
Before I made the mushrooms and eggplant, I let them dehydrate in a bunch of salt for a few hours– literally burry the slices in a quarter-inch of salt, then let it pull out the extra moisture. It seasons them without becoming too salty, and pulls out the extra moisture that slows cooking, and prevents even roasting. Just brush off the excess salt before you cook.
Roast them for about 45 minutes, let them cool, then chop them up, and stir fry with garlic, onions, tomato, and spinach. once the Once it’s done, just add polenta.
1 Large Eggplant, sliced into rings
3-4 Large Portobello Mushroom Caps, washed
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
4 Cups of Spinach
1/2 Onion, diced
6 Cups of Polenta, cooked (see above)
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
2 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Tbs Parmesan, shaved
1 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Basil, sliced thinly
2 Tbs Parsley, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Dehydrate the mushrooms, and eggplant in salt as described above, then place them on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Allow them to cool, then slice into cubes.
- Stir-fry the onion, tomato, and garlic, then add the eggplant, mushrooms, lemon juice, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley. Add spinach, then turn off the heat, and stir until wilted.
- Add shaved parmesan, taste for seasoning, then plate, and serve with polenta.