Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 50: Broccoli, Garlic and Spinach with Parmesan Polenta

Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum
This morning, I made two big pots of soup, one pot of lentil and one pot of split pea. We had soup for lunch, and there is plenty left for the rest of the week. I was looking for something simple for supper and this dish fit the bill. Broccoli and baby spinach, cooked in vegetable stock with lots of garlic, sit atop a mound of polenta mixed with Parmesan cheese and butter. My kind of comfort food. I cut the 1/4 cup of olive oil the recipe called for (the veggies cook in a vegetable stock and olive oil mixture) down to 1 teaspoon and the 5 tablespoons of butter in the polenta down to two, but the result was still extremely tasty and satisfying. We all agreed that this one is a keeper.

Tonight's recipe was from a cookbook called Kitchen Seasons, by Ross Dobson, that I recently received as a gift (Thank you E.). The book is divided  into sections, one for each season, and this recipe is in the Winter section.  It calls for instant polenta - which I know is sacrilege for purists, but it is a big part of what makes this recipe so easy. Another thing that made it easy was the fact that there was broccoli in the freezer.
Back in the summer, when each week's CSA share seemed to arrive before I had a chance to take a breath after the sorting, cleaning, prepping and preserving of the last weeks veggies, I gave only a brief thought to what I would eventually do with all the produce I was freezing. I was determined not to let any of the beautiful vegetables and fruit from our share go to waste. Some weeks, when there was just too for us to eat in seven days, freezing was the easiest way to prevent that from happening.  I have been using that frozen bounty more and more over the last few weeks, but tonight's dinner was a beautiful example of the payoff of putting something by for later.

Because the broccoli came out of the freezer in ready to put in the pan sized florets (nice separate pieces, because I froze them on a cookie sheet before I put them into the ziplock bags), the prep time for this meal was reduced considerably. The vegetable stock came out of the freezer as well. This is a great recipe for frozen broccoli because its lack of crispness does no harm here - the broccoli and spinach are not mushy, but soft and that makes a perfect companion to the polenta.

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