I decided to try my hand at making some polenta, after having watched one of my favorite chefs, Lydia Bastianich, cook potfuls of it while espousing its simplicity, both in the preparation and in the presentation.
I had shyed away from attempting because I believed that polenta possessed some unforgiving qualities that a cook of my experience, or in Kaukab’s words, “You dond know noteen,” wouldn’t have been properly prepared to handle.
But, I wanted to make them. Badly. I was tired having to depend on our local eatery to make them for me, and at a high cost to my wallet. Besides, Lydia said I could use the boxed instant kind, that it wouldn’t matter much to her.
So I made some. Along with fresh kale. Which I’ve never made, either. I figured, if I was going to try something alien, it might as well be the entire meal.
Here’s what it looked like when I finished:
Always a First
Not exactly what I had pictured in my head. Notice the polenta’s thickness. And, I even added more liquid than was called for. In fact, I used mostly chicken stock as I had carefully watched Lydia do. It looked good in the pot as I stirred it. Even added a couple pats of butter to increase the creaminess factor. But, once I cut the heat, it began to thicken to a more pasty consistency. The thing about polenta is, if you don’t serve it quickly–like pasta–it doesn’t keep its texture and flavor as well. Kaukab might not agree with that assessment, though.
As for the kale, I wanted it to taste like the eatery’s–a sweet cider flavor with bits of garlic. I had tried to figure out what was in it…how it was prepared. I was in a hurry and lazy, so I didn’t take the necessary preparations to cut out the thick stem running along the backs; I just cut them back a bit. Evidently, that was my first mistake. Rather than parboiling first, I simply added them in, wet, to the heated olive oil and then put in some cider vinegar, salt and sugar, and tossed, covered and stirred again until they began to wilt. Then I added the finely chopped garlic and tossed some more.
See Those Stems? Should Have Wacked Them Off!
Or as Kaukab would’ve said, “Whada matta weet you!? Why you make like dat?”
Eh. We ate them anyway.