Dark Days, Week 5

I looked forward to posting this week’s meal because I figured it would well illustrate two things:  one, what it is I eat when I eat alone, and two, how much of a glutton I can be on really simple peasant fare.  You see, I planned on telling you all about a lovely vegetarian dinner of polenta with foraged wild mushrooms:  both main ingredients being things verboten, nay, HATED by my family…thus, best to eat when they’re away.  And:  it’s a meal I *crave* for them to leave so I can make it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to dinner.

I had to dig, deep, in the bigger chest freezer to retrieve the last two-pound bag of Bloody Butcher cornmeal from a grower in Nashville, MI: wonderful meal that yields gritty, deeply-flavored polenta or cornbread; cornmeal well worth digging to the bottom of a freezer for.  But, with each successive layer of frozen items I dug through, the angrier, and colder, I got.  And:  what I was digging through was so much more…in the way of instant gratification (i.e., steaks) that I finally said SCREW IT!  gimme some MEAT!

So, here’s the meal:

And it went down well with two glasses of red wine put up by a friend of ours in honor of his son’s birth, six years ago.

17 responses to “Dark Days, Week 5

  1. Oh my God…. you make me hungry and I just ate. Wonder what’s in the bottom of my freezer?

  2. Oh yum! My freezer and fridge are empty or close to it and with the snow on the ground, I am not heading out for food! And this just makes me even more hungry! I guess I will just make risotto with the few measly veggies I have…

  3. Now if that was to be my last meal I could die a happy man. It sounds scrumptious. I like the sound of garlic mashed squash, I may have to try that.

  4. that looks amazing.
    i love the little gingerbread house header. very sweet.
    happy holidays to you and your family!

  5. Sounds good, but lots of work! Again with the freezer. I have got to get in there and clean it out, but I won’t find artisan corn meal or grass-fed beef!

  6. Nice-looking dinner.

    Do you boil your potatoes before frying ’em? I haven’t found another way to get that wonderful crispy texture from fried potatoes, but it does take a while.

    Someday I’ll have a greenhouse. Seattle is mild enough that I have kale and things like arugula and cress in winter even without one.

    My freezer is full of grass-fed beef (almost 1/8 of that steer still) from Olympia, WA.

  7. You remind me of a lovely appetizer I had many years ago at Tra Vigne in the Napa Valley which was sauteed wild mushrooms with fresh herbs on grilled polenta squares – yummy! I can’t remember what I had for dinner, though, so that tells you how good the appetizer was.

    Your dinner would go down well as well….

  8. Pingback: Week 5: Midwest and South « (not so) Urban Hennery

  9. Aimee, you really wanna go there? (My advice: put on gloves. I think that’d have helped my mood.) But yeah, it’s pretty much a treasure hunt.

    Oh Ashley, those are the best kind of meals, when you have nearly nothing. Plus, heck, risotto is almost never bad!

    Mike, “garlic mashed” is something I resort to often to get the family to eat all the root veggies. But thanks. It was a decent meal to eat all by my lonesome…

    Molly, ditto! Have fun in all that snow…and keep warm too.

    Ah Stef. I love cooking. And: the only thing that was a pain was cracking the walnuts. Everything else was easy-peasy. But yeah, freezers. Sigh.

    Hiya Adam. No boiling of potatoes. My trick is a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. I simply chunk the potatoes and cook them slooowly over low and covered, then remove the cover and make it hot to get them crispy. And: even mild climates benefit from a greenhouse…even a simple hoop house could keep lettuces going for you all year…but then again I am a greenhouse zealot after all so of course I would say that!

    Paula, I could wax on completely about the full wonderfulness of polenta–or you could say cornmeal mush–especially if it’s flattened and grilled. Actually, polenta squares were one of the first baby foods our daughter ate. But yeah, there’s something magical about a spongy cake with lots of mushrooms on top…yummm

    pd! it was so tasty I ate it again for lunch!

  10. This post made me laugh! The pan fried potato method sounds interesting. What oil would you suggest (since I am vegan) were I to try this?

    • Hi MC: cut-up potatoes will stick, no matter what kind of oil you use. I use olive oil about 95% of the time; it will smoke if it gets too hot so I just make sure not to go there. So, cast-iron pan, metal spatula/flipper, lid: should work. Let them steam a while before taking the lid off, and THEN is when you can flip them to crisp them up to your liking. bon appetit!

  11. That is a fine-looking meal.

  12. Same to you, Ed! Did you avoid the cookies?

    Thanks, Mr Jones. Definitely good to tear into, get one’s iron up.

  13. ooooh, I scored some of that Bloody Butcher corn for my freezer too! Just had it (polenta) for breakfast today w/ Crane Dance pork sausage and a neighbors’ eggs… sigh….. life is good!

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