I’ve been slacking lately, but for good reason. I was in New York City attending what I call a magical wedding. Literally. There was an actual magician at the wedding, and I am still in awe because he got me like three times, and I’m not easily fooled (I’d like to believe so in any case), but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how he does his card tricks…I am going to solve the mystery, Mr. Magician. I will figure you out!
Anyway, the wedding was held at 632 on Hudson, and it was 1920s themed, so it was a ton of fun. And the food! The food was just fantastic! It was catered by Market Table, and let me tell you, there is a reason they are one of my top favorite places to eat in The Village. Phenomenal doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Speaking of magical, New York City in itself is nothing short of it. I am very lucky because I have such dear friends, whose wedding I attended, who I get to visit pretty often. The city is definitely heaven to a foodie, and every time I am there, I get so inspired. On this trip I noticed something different, something I have wanted to try but have not had the guts to do: dining alone. In New York, it is quite normal for a man or a woman to just go to a restaurant and dine alone. You don’t see this as much in St. Pete, but I am thinking of starting a trend! I mean, why not? I am single again. There! I said it.
There are a lot of things I miss about being in a relationship, especially when I’m cooking. Dinners are a funny thing. I grew up in a household where, for the most part, we all sat down and ate dinner together most nights. Sunday lunches and suppers were just as important. I carry that with me as much as possible. When I’m with someone, I make it a point to sit down to dinner together. Making dinners as a couple is a ritual, a good one, but what I’m learning is that making dinner for yourself should be a ritual as well, and it is just as important to treat yourself to a good dinner.
Yes, it is fun to eat out of box once in a while, but you shouldn’t treat yourself any less just because you are alone. If anything, you should treat yourself extra special, because we are all special in our own way, and being single does not make you less of a person. Instead, it should make us a better person.
This post is about what I have learned and continue to learn about myself in the last few months. I am able to do things on my own. I am learning the single life again, and it’s not so bad. I am learning to embrace it. After all, there’s a lot to life and I am lucky because I have such good people in my life, and for that, I am very grateful.
When I came back from NYC, I wanted to make myself something fancy but easy! I was exhausted, but I still wanted to treat myself to something not so ordinary. This polenta with mushroom recipe is a dish you would make over and over again. It’s super quick to make, and it also makes for a nice appetizer for the holidays.
One thing about this recipe is that you can make it as easy on yourself as possible. If you are truly in a rush, you can use precooked polenta (but seriously it’s not that hard to make it) but I won’t judge if you do this…no one judges around here. Trader Joe’s does have one that is pretty good. But if you are feeling a little more adventurous, follow the instructions below for my super quick polenta.
1 cup cornmeal
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Boil the water in medium sauce pan, add the cornmeal and salt. Whisk until it’s thick, then pour into a cookie sheet or baking pan. Let it cool for about 30 minutes to an hour. If you really want to get super fancy, you can put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes and let it settle, then you can cut out whatever shape you desire. Right before serving, heat up a couple of slices on a pan just until the outside is golden brown.
BABY PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS SAUTEED IN BUTTER W/ CRISPY GARLIC, GINGER & SHALLOTS:
1 cup baby portobello mushrooms
2 medium sized shallots, sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
Ginger (about an inch in size) sliced thinly
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons beef broth
salt and pepper
- In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and let cook until tender. Once tender, remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- Add the garlic, ginger and shallots to the same pan (add a little more olive oil if needed). Let it get crispy and then remove from the pan.
- Add the wine and chicken broth to the pan and let it reduce. Add salt and pepper. Once reduced, add the other tablespoon of butter.
- Arrange the polenta and top it with the mushrooms and pour the wine reduction. Add the crispy garlic, ginger, and shallots on top, and sit back and enjoy!
GROCERY LIST FOR MUSHROOM AND POLENTA