Friday, April 3, 2009
Spring Greens,Polenta, & A Dress
I couldn't resist showing you a picture of what I found in the garden for last night's dinner. Isn't it beautiful? Despite my whining about the chilly weather, spring is definitely here. The lettuce, beet greens, and kale all overwintered under cloches. Now that the plastic is off, they are vibrant, green, and growing. The corn salad, chervil, and a few tiny arugula leaves are from the salad bed in the greenhouse. The fennel, dandelion greens, and nettles are growing at large here and there around the farm. Mmmmm. Fresh food at last! I made a little salad of the lettuce and corn salad, and cooked up all the other greens (about a pound's worth) into this polenta dish. I've never been that intrigued with polenta in the past, finding it a lot of work for a gooey mass of corn mush, and I'd always splash a bit of the boiling hot goo on my hand and get burned. I recently discovered a recipe for no-stir polenta, cooked in the oven. All you do is put water and dry polenta into an oiled pan, and pop it into the oven for about an hour. Stirring in a dollop of caramelized onion (I have some stashed in the freezer) part way through the cooking enriches and flavors the polenta, without the need for adding cheese. While the polenta was cooking, I went out and gathered all my greens. After roughly chopping them, I steam-saute'd them with some olive oil, a whole garlic clove, and a dash of smoked sweet paprika. Then I layered up the cooked polenta with the cooked greens, sprinkled goat cheese on top, and heated it in the oven another 10 minutes.The result is so delicious, this is the third time I've made it in about two weeks! It's a great way to eat a LOT of greens, and the nettles and other wild greens are so tasty. It is rich and satisfying without being heavy. Thanks to this most excellent cookbook I came across at the library, Mediterranean Grains and Greens, by Paula Wolfert. And just to show you that there has been some sewing going on around here, some pics of a dress I just made.The top part was a t-shirt I repurposed. The middle part was made with the bleach stencil method. Last year I did a bunch of bleach-stenciling on fabric; now I'm incorporating the images into different projects. I'll likely be posting less frequently during the upcoming weeks. I'll be going to the Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium in mid-May, and have mucho work to do before then, both sewing and in the garden. Any of you women who are interested in herbs and natural healing, I highly recommend the Herbal Symposium. It's an all-women event, four days camping in Northern California with delicious food and teas, excellent, high quality workshops, and wonderful folks. It's reasonably priced, with great work-exchange opportunities. I'd love to see you there!