|My inspiration this week- pumpkin polenta with salsa fresca.|
It's been a hot dry week here in Studio City. Windy. Dusty. With mercury rising into the 90's thanks to the annual Santa Ana winds. Fire weather. The polar opposite of the fallish, foggy mornings I just experienced back east on my trip to New England. We stayed in Great Barrington for four burnished days of autumn's last gold, catching the Berkshires at the tail end of my favorite season. More on the trip itself (and why we went there), soon.
In the meantime, I'll share a comfort food recipe from the archive- a creamy pumpkin polenta I cooked up while living in West Hollywood. So climb into my time machine.
Notes From WeHo: Comfort food weather has WeHo citizens ditching their flip-flops and plucking pumpkin colored sweaters off hangers, while tucking umbrellas into faux leather satchels. If you can find the dang umbrella, that is. It's got to be around here somewhere, right? You used it last year.
Or was that the year before? The harvest moon is playing tricks with your memory again. The crows outside in the oak trees caw like the crows in tomorrow's dream. Days turn into weeks and lunch turns into next month's breakfast. Hours spill through worm holes of time like so many episodes of Lost.
And the Buddha imagines the universe. And gets it close to right. We're talking atoms, people. Particles of teeny tiny specks of even tinier teenier fragments of a single point of something so small the naked eye perceives it as invisible.
I ponder this as I walk in a stream of brittle bronze leaves.
The succession of days that adds up to a life is only a blink. The moment when you started reading this sentence is already the past. You think about this stuff as you get older. When you squint into your future you see a shorter slope than the path that winds behind you. It can cause a slippery sense of vertigo. A tipping sideways melancholy that infuses every lost opportunity with meaning, bittersweet.
I walk to the market past ninety-pound skateboarders and a gaggle of thin actors smoking outside the Lee Strasberg Institute. I weave through Russian speaking men with impossibly sad eyes and impeccably groomed wheat-blonde women carrying shopping bags of kale. I smile at my neighbor sitting on his front wall listening to Miles Davis on a transistor radio. Great music, I tell him, feeling myself altering my cadence to the beat. It's JAZZ, Baby! he shouts, laughing as I pass by. I feel his joy in my chest. And I know he is exactly right. This whole life thing? This whole circuitous method of survival called living?
It's jazz, Baby.
And you just gotta go with it.
|Polenta and pumpkin are a cozy combo.|
Pumpkin Polenta Recipe
3 cups fresh water
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Polenta
1 14-oz. can organic pumpkin puree
2/3 cup coconut milk or soy milk
2-3 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon raw organic agave nectar, optional
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat the water in a deep saucepan until boiling and add a pinch of sea salt, to taste. Pour the polenta into the simmering water, stirring with a whisk as you pour. Continue to whisk for a minute or two as the polenta cooks and adjust the heat to medium-low heat, so that the mixture gently simmers but does not cook too quickly- you don't want to scorch it. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently to keep it from sticking.
When the polenta has absorbed most of the water, add in the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add in the coconut milk, vegan butter, agave and nutmeg, and stir again. The polenta should be ready in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. It should be tender to the bite, not gritty. If it isn't soft enough for you, add more coconut milk and cook it a little longer.
Serve in soft mounds with a topping of salsa fresca (recipe follows) or more vegan butter and maple syrup.
Sprinkle with roasted shelled pumpkin seeds.
Makes four main dish servings, or six side dish servings.
If you enjoy cheese, this polenta would be delicious served with grated vegan cheese or fresh crumbled goat cheese.
Add protein to the plate with cooked black beans. Or add black beans to the salsa recipe below.
To make polenta ahead of time: cook till done and spread the warm polenta into a cake pan and cool. Cover and chill. Slice cooled polenta into wedges. Broil wedges brushed with olive oil till sizzling. Top with salsa or grated vegan cheese.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you.
|Farm fresh ingredients make the tastiest salsa fresca.|
Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa Fresca Recipe
Salsa fresca is so easy. Chop up your favorite fresh salsa ingredients as the polenta is cooking. Cover and chill. Let the flavors mingle and get happy. If you're using avocado (so good with pumpkin!) add it in just before serving, to keep it from turning dark.
Here's what I used for my salsa fresca.
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 Anaheim chile pepper
1 fresh lime
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
A drizzle of raw organic agave nectar
Sea salt, to taste
A handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1 small avocado
Remove the papery skins from the tomatillos and wash the stickiness off with produce soap and water. Roughly chop. Toss into a bowl.
Wash and halve the bell pepper; seed and chop one half. Add to the bowl.
Stem and clean the chile pepper; dice. Add it in.
Drizzle the mix with fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil and agave nectar. Season with sea salt, to taste. Add in fresh chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
Cover and chill till serving.
Just before serving, peel and pit the avocado, dice it and add the avocado to the salsa.
Makes four servings.