I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Mid-summer ratatouille with polenta

I have been on vacation in Italy (just to gloat a little) and had intended to set something up to publish automatically while I was away, just in case everyone missed me, but in the pre-holiday craziness I forgot. Better than forgetting to turn off the oven, but I apologize to everyone who pined away for my posts in my absence.

More about Italy soon, but having just flown back in this afternoon (and boy are my arms tired) I am busy doing laundry, making sure nothing major happened at work, and reconciling myself to the fact that my vacation is over. I don't think I have anything in the fridge right now -- I made sure to pour out the dregs of the milk before I left (I have made that mistake before and it is a really smelly welcome home gift) -- so will have to hit the store to see what I can whip up. As much as I have been enjoying my pasta and pizza, I'm thinking tonight might be something more along the lines of a curry or a stir fry just for some variety.

But for now, though the cupboard is bare, I have a little something waiting in the wings to be posted. A few weeks ago, I went on a vegetable shopping spree at Borough Market because summer is all too short and I felt like I needed to lay in a supply, just because it was available. What to do with the bounty, besides put it in my vegetable bowl and admire my still life (which I think sounds much nicer than the French "nature morte", though I suppose the French is technically more true)? Thinking French, I decided a ratatouille -- or at least my interpretation of one -- would be perfect. I could have served it with crusty french bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with olive oil, but instead I decided to make some polenta. It was a perfect way to celebrate the season.

And now to try to find something for dinner tonight...

Mid-summer ratatouille with polenta

olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, halved & quartered lengthwise, then chopped
1 medium zucchini, halved & quartered lengthwise, then chopped into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
fresh basil

In medium sauce pan, heat oil and saute onion until soft. Add garlic, cook for a few minutes. Then add carrot and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and bell pepper, cook until soft but not falling apart. Add chickpeas and heat through. Serve with fresh basil leaves torn over the top, with polenta.

1/2 C. polenta
2 C. water
1 tsp. salt

Boil water. Add polenta to pan of water, whisking to remove clumps, then stir through while polenta thickens and cooks. Polenta is supposed to cook slowly for 30 minutes or more, with the cook stirring all the while. I find I make very tasty polenta in about 5 minutes, just stirring so it doesn't burn.

Serves 2


Mari at Once Upon a Plate said...

I'm green with envy :) and cannot wait to hear more about your trip.

In the meantime...this looks wonderful! I would love that combination of flavors.

Welcome back ~ you've been missed but I hope you had a wonderful time!

VeggieGirl said...

Glad to see you posting!!

Mmm, love polenta dishes.

The Duo Dishes said...

*sigh* Italia. Lucky. Impressed that you posted on your trip!

Sweet and Savory said...

This looks like such an interesting dish. I am a ratatouille fan so I imagine, I would enjoy this.

girlichef said...

JEALOUS!!! I am soooo jealous! (...and boy are my arms tired...BA DUM BUM...LOL). This looks really delicious and comforting and I am absolutely looking forward to hearing more about the place I want to live one day ;)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful combo! I love ratatouille! Summer in a plate...



lisa said...

Ratatouille with polenta sounds like such a good idea! Can't wait to hear about your trip to Italy.

teresa said...

this looks so good, adn so healthy!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

This looks great! Love it with chickpeas and polenta!

Kim -@ The Paper Apron said...

Welcome home! You lucky, lucky duck. I look forward to all the wonderful Italian dishes you're going to share with us. Your ratatouille and polenta sounds heavenly.

green ink said...


I'm off to Italy in 2 weeks, can't wait!!

stephchows said...

ooo I can't wait to see the vacation pictures!!!

Sachi's Kitchen said...

Italy, I am jealous! Welcome back :)

Palidor said...

That looks wonderful. I hope you had a great time in Italy!

Chef Fresco said...

This is a great use of Polenta I'm always stumped at what to do with it.

Astra Libris said...

Welcome home! Glad to have you back in blog-land! :-) Dreamy sigh - ah, you are so fortunate to have been in Italy for an entire week... Dreamy sigh again... :-)

Your polenta dish warrants a dreamy sigh as well! :-) So beautiful and perfectly summery!

Resh said...

NOM NOM NOM!! that Polenta looks yummy and what a great recipe! welcome back from Italy! I totally know what you are talking about, because I did the same when I went to Israel. :) (wanted to post, but holiday craziness took over) lol.

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