Roasted Vegetables and Cheesy Polenta

Roasted vegetables are my jam. We’re considering a CSA when we get back just so I have an excuse to roast vegetables. I love an excuse to roast vegetables. Have you ever tried to hack your way into a butternut squash? I feel like I’ve tried it once before, but blocked it from memory because it was a whole level of difficult that I didn’t want to remember. From here on out it’s either frozen or the pre-cut fresh stuff from the store. I can’t be bothered to wield a knife. I’m sure it tastes better on some level, but it just shouldn’t be so hard to do. My upper body strength is nearly nonexistent and I’m reminded of that if I even attempt to do this the hard way.

Polenta isn’t something I always have on hand, but I inevitably buy some and it’s more than a recipe calls for so then I have some on hand. I didn’t quite have enough to make the full cup this recipe requires so I supplemented it with some of that freshly milled cornmeal from the cornbread recipe. I’m convinced it provided an extra fresh corn taste that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. It was also creamier thanks to that extra bit of flour.

Stuff in bowls is just about as much of a blank canvas as it can get. Feel free to add in or change out any vegetables that are speaking to you. You may have to vary your roasting time, but you already have a good 40 minutes because of the polenta. I’m pretty sure you can roast just about anything in that time, especially if you’ve taken the time to cut the pieces smaller and in equal size. There is something about brussels sprouts though that they always consistently get a good char on those outer leaves.

Inspiration: William Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3/4lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed [I cheated and got the pre-cut stuff at the store–thanks, New Seasons!]
  • 1/2lb brussels sprouts cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3oz shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Stir in the polenta and let the mixture return to a boil. Lower the heat to low and stir often until the polenta is soft and smooth. It should take about 40 minutes assuming you didn’t get the quick-cooking variety.

In a bowl, toss the squash and brussels sprouts together with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast them in the oven until they’re golden brown–20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Once the polenta is soft and smooth, stir in the butter and cheeses until melted. Taste for salt and pepper. I love me some pepper. Serve in bowls and top with roasted vegetables and parsley. Try not to eat all of the vegetables in one sitting.

Simple Sole Ceviche

And just like that, a month goes by. Tax season is over. We leave for Europe soon [I’ll take any recommendations for Bilbao, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Montpellier, Nice, and Milan!]. The weather is starting to cooperate, reminding me why I love Portland so much. Between the weather, no longer working 60+ hours a week, and getting caught up on the self-care [massage! facial!], I’m reinvigorated. I can’t promise that I’ve stopped falling asleep on the couch at 9pm, but it’s progress.

After tax season, we skipped town for a long weekend in San Francisco. Some friends of ours were getting married, so we used that time to eat a lot of Mexican food, finally try Tartine, and see why people fall in love with Heath ceramics. Swoon.

We finally ate at Han Oak. I made reservations on a whim during a Timbers game a few weeks back. Worth. The. Hype.

We’ve been eating a ton of ceviche from La Cocina lately. It comes out in a giant, frozen molcajete [the mortar in a mortar and pestle] and it’s a thing of beauty. I decided I’d be willing to risk eating raw fish from my own kitchen since it essentially cooks in the lime juice.

After a lot of searching, I came up with what you’re seeing. It’s a mishmash of at least 6-8 recipes. The idea is really quite simple. It’s also super customizable, too. What was once a spicy jalapeno or two was rendered virtually a calm poblano once the lime juice had its way with it. I would really suggest not even bothering with a tomato unless it’s close to the season or you’re somehow getting something worthwhile trucked in. These were not worthwhile. The rest was pretty much perfect, and exactly what I was looking for.

I was shocked that it can be ready to eat within 20 minutes of marination. Twenty!

Next time I want red onion instead of white and to not put one of the jalapenos in until the last minute. I’d probably throw in a cucumber if the tomatoes still aren’t in season. The one at La Cocina has a bunch of the spicy marinated carrots in it. It’s so good. You don’t need chilies when it’s like that.

Ingredients

  • 1lb fresh Dover sole
  • 1/2c fresh lime juice
  • 1 onion
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 small avocados
  • salt
  • chips or tostadas, for serving

Preparation

Keep the fish in the fridge until the last minute so it stays cold and fresh.

In a small bowl, chop the onion, tomatoes, and jalapenos into small, uniform pieces. Set aside.

Chop the fish into similarly sized pieces. Place in a larger bowl with the lime juice. Stir together until coated. Set in the fridge for 20 minutes. About 10 minutes in, add the chopped vegetables. Stir and leave in the fridge for the remaining 10 minutes.

Cube the avocado and chop the cilantro if you haven’t yet.

Remove the ceviche from the fridge. Stir again and taste for salt. Stir in the avocados and cilantro.

Serve with chips or tostadas.

 

Simple Cornbread Muffins

Oh the Grist Mill. That was such a fun day. We picked up the corn meal and flour from there for a donation and then promptly made these corn bread muffins. The recipe was in a stack on the wall. They are not a sweet cornbread despite having some sugar in them. I’m not sure if it was the freshly ground flours, but after about a day or two in airtight containment, they do get a little crumbly. I suggest eating them over the sink or near a scavenging cattle dog who loves to eat your crumbs.

Inspiration: The Grist Mill

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole grain cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8″ square baking pan or 12 muffin tins. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir until just combined. Spoon into the baking vessel you chose.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to turn light brown.

Weekly Reads 18

The sun is starting to make an appearance and it’s really making me happy. The office remodel resulted in my work space having a giant window on my back. Between that and the occasional dog walk, it’s been a great realization just how much I enjoy that ball of fire in the sky. I haven’t worn my favorite wool coat in at least a week!

It was Spring Scoot this weekend, so my time riding cupcake [that’s a thing] has increased a whole lot. My legs are not pleased. They were already angry from the Barre3 class I tried on Wednesday. My legs still hurt. A lot. Like a lot a lot. I know I haven’t been hitting the gym or working out with the intensity I used to, but dang. Consider me humbled.

Source.

I splurged on these linen sheets. They’re so comfortable and temperature regulating. Why did I wait?

Of course I’d eat pretzels wrapped around breakfast sausage. Of course.

Now this all-IKEA cheese plate seems like a fun reason to get some friends together.

I’m glad to see that the fact that I still write notes instead of type them makes the most sense.

This Yucatán Mexico travel guide is creating a travel itch that needs to be scratched.

Ambivert? That’s probably a really close representation of me, myself, and I.

This story about her grandma and New Orleans has me missing mine. Grandma’s can be so cool.

Putting greenery in my mac-n-cheese is a sure fire way to ensure I’m going to eat all of it. Cue the springiness of spring dishes.

This space is everything I want. I’m now lusting after the shelving system for the living room.

#bathroomgoals.

I could eat this breakfast bowl every day.

Because we could all use a little more self-care, couldn’t we?

Chimichurri and a Charred Broccoli Salad

This is unbelievably easy. I’ve always wanted to make chimichurri. I don’t eat it that often, but I love it every time I do, and I’ve heard it’s easy. It is easy. It is delicious. It’s hard not to always have some on hand.

Charred broccoli is ridiculously good too. I added more red pepper flakes to the dressing because you know that’s how I do, but you could back off. The original recipe had arugula, but I didn’t want to buy an entire container just for a cup of arugula. Bulk mixed greens were a fine substitute. For some reason, the vegetable peeler was making gigantic pieces of cheese. I think I’d shred it next time for better distribution. I’ll take cheese with every bite, thankyouverymuch.

The steak method is pretty much the go-to. It yields such a juicy steak. I live and die by my thermometer now. Consistent results every time. I ended up with a smaller steak just because a) New Seasons ran out and b) I really don’t need to eat more than a half pound of steak in a sitting, do I? If you put it in front of me, you know I’ll eat it. It meant that the meat to chimichurri recipe was a little off, but that’s ok. You’ll want to eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Inspiration: The Splendid Table

Ingredients

  • 1lb flank steak
  • 1lb broccoli florets, cut into even pieces
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley
  • 3/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Season both sides of the steak with salt. Set aside until needed, allowing it to come up to room temperature.

Heat a 12″ skillet on high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they start to char on all sides. This will take 8-10 minutes. Toss the broccoli in a large bowl with the mixed greens, olive oil, 2 teaspoons of honey, lemon juice, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the pecorino romano cheese, and cover the bowl. Set aside until ready.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the parsley, cilantro, shallot, vinegar, garlic, remaining teaspoon of honey, remaining teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until the mixture is finely chopped and incorporated. Keep the processor on as you drizzle in the vegetable oil until the mixture is well blended. Transfer the chimichurri to a bowl.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the skillet until nearly smoking. Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season both sides with pepper. Add the steak to the hot skillet and turn the heat down to medium-high. Brown the first side, it will take 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Flip the steak and brown that side. Continue to flip cook and flip the steak in this manner until the internal temperature of the steak is 120 degrees.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board, spread 1/3 cup of the chimichurri on top, cover with aluminum foil, and let the steak rest for about 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain before serving with the broccoli salad and the remaining chimichurri.