Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pie in the Sky

I'm a very busy graduate student. These days I am working simultaneously on three papers, one of which will be my very first first-author paper--hurray! A first-author paper (meaning a paper on which my name is first and in which most of the work was done by my hands) is a very big deal in the life of a research scientist, especially the FIRST paper. This flurry of papers is preceding the resubmission of a grant in August, and the papers are a key element to improving my chances of receiving the grant. Bottom line, I'm busy and stressed out these days. So in my kitchen, Monday through Friday, meals are either reprises (read: leftovers) or super-simple recipes that take less than 30 minutes to put together. One of these meals, my Pesto-Ricotta Pasta, will be featured on this blog soon because it is so yummy and it deserves to be shared. But the truth is that I much prefer dishes that take a long time to complete: slow-simmered soups and stews, homemade bread, roasted vegetables...and it turns out that in general, meals are tastier when there is plenty of time to cook. Yesterday, I had a whole Saturday to myself and therefore plenty of time to cook. For dinner, I made Mollie Katzen's Polenta Pie, and it was delicious! Basically, this Polenta Pie is a thick layer of polenta, made on the stovetop and baked to lightly crisped perfection, topped with layers of shredded cheese, fresh tomato slices, sauteed Italian-herbed vegetables, and a final layer of cheese. The fully assembled Polenta Pie is then broiled (or baked in my case--I scared of my broiler, but that's another story altogether) for a few minutes to melt the cheese and marry the flavors together. Yum! I ate a big slice of it accompanied by a light salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Very filling.

So how much time did it take me to make Polenta Pie? I don't know! I made the polenta in the morning while puttering around my apartment. Later in the day, I prepped all the pie toppings, which took a while because there are so many vegetables in it and I had to shred my cheese on a shredder. I suppose that makes this a recipe that I'll make in the future when time is on my side. I think Mollie's estimate of 75 minutes total is probably accurate.

Since Mollie Katzen has published this recipe on her own website, and her website has lots of fun food stuff, I'll give you the link rather than the recipe right here:

By the way, if you are not a mushroom fan, you can leave out the mushrooms and your Polenta Pie will taste perfectly fine. I left out the mushrooms and used a medium zucchini (rather than a small one) and had plenty of vegetable topping for the pie.

Hurray for pie! I do believe I need to make pie more often. Perhaps a dessert pie next?


JD said...

We love Polenta in the JD house. We will definitely have to try this recipe. Especially because we will soon have fresh Zucchini from the garden...yummy.

Rosiecat said...

Hola JD,

Polenta Pie is great when it's fresh out of the oven. Unfortunately, I've found over the past few days that it starts to "weep" in the fridge, so my leftovers are getting a little soggy (yuck). I'm guessing the water is from the polenta.

Perhaps Polenta Pie reheats better in the oven? I've been using a microwave at work since I've been eating it for lunch.

You'll have to let me know what you think of the recipe after you try it!

Garden-fresh zukes! Zoiks! Your wife and I agreed that based on the number of zucchini plants you have, your yard might be taken over by those overly generous plants. Watch out!