• Goat Cheese-y Polenta with Sauteed Mushrooms and a Poached Egg

    I am delighted to announce that this past week, I poached my very first egg!! I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have put off this particular task, for some reason, even the very thought of it struck fear in my heart. But this past week, I was home alone for several days and, without an audience, I poached not one, but TWO eggs. It’s important to note however that I did in fact ruin two other eggs before I made two suitable ones, but I feel as though that was bound to happen. I’m proud of myself because I pushed past my fear of not being good at a cooking-related task, because I am not perfect and sometimes I have to mess things up before I can get them right! And that’s okay!! Who knows if I’ll ever be able to recreate this, but if I can, Eggs Benedict for everyone!!!

    Today was such a productive day if I do say so myself, aside from a quick downward spiral about what I want to do with my life, I went grocery shopping to prepare for the coming weeks recipe tests, made this ridiculously good dinner, and started a batch of overnight chocolate chip cookies that maaaaay or may not include brown butter (recipe coming soon). Nothing clears my head like coming home, turning on some music, and cooking for hours. That’s why sometimes, I fully appreciate a labor intensive recipe, or at least one with a few moving parts, because the process is so fun and relaxing, even if I am attempting a first poached egg. Give me a glass of wine and some Hozier and I am good to GO. This recipe is a combination of a few different steps, each pretty basic on their own, but when combined, make the most magical of dinners. A simple polenta upgraded with the salty tang of goat cheese swirled in, buttery sauteed mushrooms inspired by the foundation of this recipe from Bon Appetit, and then the egg which breaks open and spills its runny yolk all over everything and truly brings TEARS to my eyes.

    Aside from all these happy things above, here are five MORE things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Hearing the rain on the roof while you lie in bed at night.
    TWO. Someone telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
    THREE. Vanilla scented candles.
    FOUR. Laptop stickers.
    FIVE. Spring tulip arrangements.

    SERVES: 2 to 3 dinner portions
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes

    GOAT CHEESE POLENTA INGREDIENTS

    5 cups water
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1 Tbsp salted butter
    4 Tbsp goat cheese

    GOAT CHEESE POLENTA STEPS

    ONE. In a medium saucepan, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly whisk the cornmeal into the water so that there’s no lumps. Continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture gets thickened slightly.

    TWO. Turn the heat to low and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cornmeal has expanded and no longer tastes raw. If necessary, add up to ½ cup more water as needed, to keep the polenta at a stirring consistency.

    THREE. Stir in the tablespoon of butter until incorporated, and then add the goat cheese, a tablespoon at at time, until the polenta is smooth and creamy.

     

    SAUTEED MUSHROOMS INGREDIENTS

    1 lb. mushrooms (cremini, button, etc.), cleaned and torn into pieces
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    Handful of parsley, chopped

    SAUTEED MUSHROOMS STEPS

    ONE. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat until very hot, then add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the water cooks off the mushrooms in the first 10 minutes, and then the mushrooms begin to brown.

    TWO. Once the mushrooms are browned, add the garlic and shallots and mix to combine, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes until the raw taste has cooked off the garlic. Chop the parsley and set aside for plating.

     

    POACHED EGG INGREDIENTS

    2 large eggs
    Kosher salt and pepper

    POACHED EGG STEPS

    ONE. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer on medium heat. Crack the first egg into a shallow bowl. Gently create a whirlpool in the water using a slotted spoon, and add the egg into the center of the whirlpool, carefully stirring in order to encourage the whites of the egg to wrap around the yolk.

    TWO. Cook the egg for about 2½ minutes, until the whites are opaque and set, but the yolk is still runny.

    THREE. To serve, add a generous portion of polenta to a bowl or plate, top with a spoonful of mushrooms, then a poached egg. Sprinkle some chopped parsley or parmesan cheese on top and DIG IN!!!

    xoxoxoxoxoxoD!

  • Baked Meatballs with Cheesy Parmesan Polenta

    Ah yes, Sunday dinners. I think we can all agree that Sunday nights are the saddest part of the week, knowing what’s to come. To counteract that, Sunday dinners in my house have become the solution- a fancy meal and a glass of wine to lull you into a sense of coziness so that you briefly forget that the work week lies ahead. This week? Fricken meatballs and cheesy polenta because why the heck not. And, because there are better things you can be doing with your Sunday besides individually searing each meatball, these are baked all at once and then finished in a mouthwatering and deceivingly easy tomato sauce that people will think you spent your whole day standing over the pot. Adapted from this recipe by Ina Garten, it’s served with a heaping portion of cheesy polenta in lieu of spaghetti, and as a diehard pasta enthusiast, I can promise you won’t even miss it.

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    This weekend I somehow fell down a cooking/ baking hole where every project I’ve been putting off recently all accidentally happened at once. In a span of two days, I made a batch of raspberry macarons (following another batch of toasted marshmallow ones from Tuesday), the FLAKIEST biscuits I have ever made, a lemon meringue pie (coming soon), and this dinner. I think I stood for 8 hours straight on Sunday but wow it was worth it. But honestly, enough about that, let’s get down to what really matters, cooking and eating THIS.

    Makes: 10 servings
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: about 1.5 hours

    Meatball and Sauce Ingredients

    2 cans (32 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
    2 onions, peeled and cut in half
    ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
    2 lbs ground beef (or 1lb ground beef, ½ lb ground veal, ½ lb ground pork)
    1¾ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
    ½ cup ground pecorino romano cheese
    ½ cup ground parmesan cheese
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbs fresh chopped parsley
    2 eggs, beaten
    ¾ cup dry red wine
    ¾ cup water
    Olive Oil, for brushing
    Salt and Pepper, to season

    Meatball and Sauce Steps

    1. In a large, deep pot, add the crushed tomatoes, butter (sliced into tablespoons), and the halved onions. And honestly, that’s it for the sauce. Turn the heat to medium low, and stir occasionally, cooking for 45 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

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    2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400ºF and line your baking trays with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, cheeses, garlic, parsley, beaten eggs, red wine, and water. With your hands (or a spoon/ spatula) mix everything together until all ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout.

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    3. Scoop roughly 1½ tablespoon amounts and roll them into neat balls with your hands, and line them up on your trays. Brush each meatball with olive oil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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    4. At this point, remove the onions from the tomato sauce, and add the roasted meatballs and allow them to cook in the sauce for 10 minutes more. Serve a heaping portion on top of a luscious bowl of polenta (recipe below). YUM!

    Cheesy Parmesan Polenta Ingredients

    8 cups chicken stock
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cup stone ground cornmeal
    1½ tablespoons kosher salt
    2 teaspoons black pepper
    2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese (this sounds high maintenance but the fresh grated kind makes a difference I promise, it melts way easier and more smooth)
    1 cup creme fraiche
    ½ stick (4 tablespoons) salted butter

    Cheesy Parmesan Polenta Steps

    1. In a medium sized pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil with the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the cornmeal to eliminate lumps.

    2. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the polenta is thick. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the pot!!

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    3. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan, creme fraiche, and butter. Serve with meatballs and prepare for a food coma like you’ve never seen before.

    xoxoxoxoxD

     

  • Fried Polenta Cakes with Spicy Tomato-Kale Sauce and an Olive Oil Fried Egg

    WOW this name is a mouthful. But trust me, every aspect of this recipe needed to be there, they work together to create one of the most comforting, magical, and deceivingly easy dinners.

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    This past week I had a taste of what it would be like to live alone (my family was traveling but I still had work because adult life is nonsense), and wow I just don’t think I’m cut out for it. When left to my own devices, I grocery shop so irrationally it’s just embarrassing. For starters, I dropped $22 on saffron because I’d never tried it before (it was amazing and I made Risotto al Milanese and I regret NOTHING but that’s not the point), bought 3 different bottles of wine and a bottle of cognac for separate recipes and used half a cup of each, AND bought a selection of mixed berries to impulsively bake a pie (recipe for that coming soon!!).

    It was only three days someone please help me get my life together. Anyway, let’s break this meal down shall we? These polenta rounds are pan-fried until crispy, then topped with a spicy tomato sauce (almost too spicy because I got carried away but I learned my lesson don’t worry), aaaaand as if it couldn’t get any better, a runny but crispy olive oil fried egg is plopped on top to make you feel like you’re eating fancy brunch while eating dinner on your couch. Topped with a downy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, please try to hold back your tears of joy as you eat this.

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    Let’s go!!

    Makes: 4 dinner servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: about an hour

    Ingredients:

    1 lb. polenta (I used already made and chilled polenta in tube-form, but you can make your own!)
    1 yellow onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic
    ½ to ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
    ½ tsp anchovy paste
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    A splash of red wine (since I was already drinking it, but optional)
    Handful of curly kale, rib removed and roughly chopped
    4 eggs, for frying
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    Parmesan cheese, grated

    Steps:

    1. In a saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium and add the diced onions. Cook until the onions become soft and transparent. Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for just another minute, until garlic becomes fragrant but not brown and bitter. Add the anchovy paste and mix to combine.

    2. Pour in your can of crushed tomatoes and stir, making sure all the contents are incorporated, and splash in the red wine if you want it! Turn the heat down slightly and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Toss in the kale and cook, covered, until it has wilted and softened, another 15 minutes.

    3. While the sauce is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium in a separate frying pan. Slice your polenta into circles about an inch thick, and fry on both sides (about 10 minutes per side), until they are golden brown and crispy. Once the polenta is done, in the same pan, add a tablespoon more olive oil per egg and allow it to get very hot (about a minute). Add your egg for frying (you can fit two at a time if necessary), and fry until the whites are opaque and the yolk is your desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Swirl the pan around as you cook to make sure nothing sticks, and baste your egg with the hot oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. To serve, pile 3 to 4 polenta cakes on your plate, smother with a generous portion of sauce, and top with a fried egg. Add a generous grating of parmesan cheese and enjoy!!

    xoxoxoD