Saturday, March 24, 2012

my favorite breakfast

my favorite breakfast, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
Sometimes things get a little crazy in life and there's little time to be spent in the little kitchen. The great thing is that in these times, what I've learned over the last year and a half of this cooking and journaling is the joy and satisfaction I've found by having a few go-to recipes that, through the course of repetition, have become non-recipes.  Nothing makes me happier than being able to whip up a great meal grounded in pantry staples. A little planning to the market will round out the ingredients and usually just involves picking up 2 or 3 items at most.
One of my favorite little kitchen productions, thanks to Melissa Clark's inspiring cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite  has been the big red pot of polenta I seem to always have going. This is not the first time I've written about polenta and I doubt it'll be the last, because it's probably the best representation, next to the roasted chicken, of how my little kitchen repertoire has been enhanced.
I always have polenta and "fake" chicken seasoning (this is a powder that I buy in bulk from Rainbow or Whole Foods) in the pantry and butter and parmesan in the fridge, so this one's a no brainer.
Get 4 1/2 cups of water boiling, then using a large heat-proof spatula, I stir in the seasoning (4T), then stir in the polenta (1 1/2 cups). Let it come to a bubble, reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper and keep the polenta moving around the pot every couple of minutes,  until it's all thick and creamy. Stir in a bunch of little butter (about 4T), a little more salt and pepper if you need it and then some parmesan (about 1/2 c.) and you're good to go. If you want to, top it off with a poached egg:
Heat up a small pot of water until it's barely simmering. Smitten Kitchen has the best egg poaching method right here.  Crack your egg into a small ramekin and then slide it into the water and swirl the handle of a wooden spoon around the outer edge of the pot to sort of contain your egg into the center  of the swirling vortex and poach it a few minutes until the white stops jiggling, then scoop it outta the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel for a few seconds, then plop it onto your bowl of steaming hot polenta, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then finish it with some shredded parmesan.
I usually store the remaining polenta in a wide square container so that it sets into some kind of loaf shape which I can slice off and reheat in a skillet, or bake into "fries", or reheat in the microwave with a few splashes of water for the next mornings breakfast bowl. Coincidentally, whilst I was still pondering and editing this post, Smitten Kitchen posted this gorgeous breakfast this morning. So of course, I shall be making it tomorrow, and wouldn't this be a great accompaniment to polenta fries!?!

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