Did anyone else blink July first or second, and suddenly find themselves on July 31st going what happened? Undoubtedly, everyone has experienced that before in some form or another, and for whatever reason. For me, starting a new Monday-Friday 8-5 and having "normal people" hours, running a booth of baked goods at a local market, and sorting out (or trying in some form to sort out) our future plans, have contributed to that feeling.
Whatever the reason though, often it seems like we don't realize what has caused time to suddenly slip from our hands and jump to warp speed. It's only after the fact that we can stop and reflect about what produced this whirlwind of time commitments and constraints. Reflecting on this loss of time often creates a sometimes even longer list of things you didn't do or missed or wanted to get done but couldn't, etc., etc., all of which can create a very unpleasant view of how you're spending your time these days. But luckily, I think I've found a solution. Naturally, it takes the form of food.
Garlic Scape Polenta Topped with Mushroom and Garlic Scape Saute
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2 Tbsp Butter, Divided
1 Cup Diced Garlic Scapes, Divided (from about 8 long scapes)
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
2-1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced thick and halved
1/4 Large Onion Diced
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In medium pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 cup of the garlic scapes and saute over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until they begin to become tender. Set aside.
2. In stock pot, bring 1 quart vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Very slowly, add cornmeal to broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer stirring often.
3. After five minutes, add garlic scapes, 1/2 tsp salt and stir to distribute. Simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
4. Meanwhile, in medium pan, melt remaining butter and oil over medium high heat. Add garlic scapes and saute 2-3 minutes. Add onions, mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and continue to saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms browned.
5. To serve, spoon polenta onto plate and top with serving spoon full of mushroom and garlic scape saute. Take a breath, and enjoy.
This is really a simple dish. Sauteed mushrooms and garlic scapes atop a garlic scape polenta. Easy peasy. But the entire dish provides everything you need to stop and take time to reflect and enjoy the moment, stopping that vicious little cycle in its tracks. First of all, when making polenta, all you really have is time to think. Well, and stir of course. Don't be to hasty in cutting this step short, not only do you not not want lumpy polenta, but the methodical stirring can be an instant tranquilizer to calm any frazzled nerves, the first step needed to step back from your routine.
The second component of the dish may be a piece of cake for anyone spending time much time in the kitchen. Sauteing is typically quick, letting you get from point A to point B, but at the same time produces the wonderful aromas of garlic, butter and mushrooms coming together that urges you to take a deep breath.