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Entries in comfort food (2)

Thursday
Aug212014

put an egg on it : polenta edition

I have a home studio (ok, well, I call it a studio, but it's really a bedroom upstairs in our house. I figure, because there's no bed in it, it's technically NOT a bedroom and therefore I can call it whatever I damn well please).

The thing I love most about my studio?

IT'S. ALL. MINE.

It's a space that belongs to me - no one else ever comes in (well, sometimes Sean, but usually it's just to say hi because I've been in front of my computer for hours and he misses me). A space where I have my computer, my photography gear, my food styling props, surfaces and linens and some artwork that I love. It's a space where I brainstorm - a space where I create. Sometimes though, I need a change of view, and that's usually when I head downstairs and take over the kitchen table.

I spread out my scraps of handwritten inspiration/ideas, my laptop, pens, notebook and iPhone and I start to work for the day - catching up on emails, Facebook, Twitter, editing pictures. I make one cup of coffee, then another, and before I know it, it's late morning and I'm SO HUNGRY.

You would think that, because of what I do, I would eat an incredible breakfast every morning. But I don't. I get so wrapped up in work that I often forget to eat. It's only when I notice the gnawing and growling of my stomach that I stop and get up from what I'm doing.

When those hollow 'I've had too much coffee and now my belly is angry' feelings set in, I need something comforting, something warm to make it shut the hell up. I could easily have a bowl of cereal, maybe scramble a couple of eggs, but what I really love for breakfast is polenta.

To me, polenta is like the lovechild of mashed potatoes and cornbread (now TELL me that doesn't sound good to you). It's thick, creamy, buttery, cheesy comfort food that sticks to your insides and subsides the screeching hunger pangs. It's fast and easy to make (if you do it my way - which - let's get real, any Italian would laugh/curse at me for even suggesting), you can really add anything you want to flavour it, and then you top it off with a perfectly fried egg like a little golden crown jewel. Best part? You can eat polenta for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Polenta's pretty flexible you see.

Seriously.

You should try it.

Polenta with Fresh Sage and a Fried Egg (serves one person)

1/2 C water

1/3 C milk

1/4 C polenta (you can look for Italian polenta or you can just use regular cornmeal)

1/4 small onion, chopped (I like onion in my polenta)

1/4 tsp salt

dollop of butter + more to fry your egg in

small handful of grated Parmigiano (aka Parmesan but you can use any cheese you want. Brie or goat cheese are both really good)

3-4 fresh sage leaves, torn (use any herbs or spices you like - sometimes I like to add a bit of smoked paprika)

1 egg

- in a microwave safe dish, stir together water, milk, polenta and onion (it's here that you can either add your herbs/spices OR you can do what I've done in the picture above and sprinkle your herbs on at the end). In one minute intervals, microwave polenta until thick and creamy, stirring well after each minute (mine takes 3 minutes total) - add butter and 3/4 of cheese to polenta and mix well to combine - spoon polenta out onto a plate or into a bowl

- fry an egg in butter to your liking - place egg on top of polenta - sprinkle with torn herbs and remaining cheese

- eat

Tuesday
Sep272011

Chai-Spiced Rice Krispie Squares

I have eaten four 8 x 8 pans of Rice Krispie Squares over the last three weeks. Considering Sean doesn't love Rice Krispie Squares the way that I do, I figure I've eaten about 240 large Jet Puffed marshmallows, over 1 cup of butter and 22 Cups of Rice Krispies.

 

That's a lot of Rice Krispies.

 

Although nothing beats the standard marshmallow/vanilla version, after the second pan, I decided I wanted to jazz them up a little bit - introduce a little spice to my vanilla-flavoured world. Since the cooler weather has me thinking of curling up in a cozy sweater sipping on a cup of Chai, I thought about it - why not add a little homemade Chai Spice to the melted marshmallow? Oh yeah - now we're talkin'. 

Homemade Chai Spice

In a small bowl, mix:

3 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp white pepper

Chai-Spiced Rice Krispie Squares

Buttered 8 x 8 Square Pan

1/4 C Butter + 1 Tbsp

1 package (250g) Jet Puffed Marshmallows

1 tsp Vanilla

3 tsp Chai Spice

5.5 C Rice Krispies

Non-stick Baking Spray

Piece of Wax Paper

  • fill a large pot 1/4 full of water and bring to a boil - set a large heatproof bowl over the pot to act as a double-boiler - when water is boiling, add butter to bowl - melt - about 5 minutes
  • when butter is melted, add marshmallows - because the heat of a double boiler is more gentle, the marshmallows will take about 10 minutes to melt, maybe longer - be patient - the slow gentle heat is what will keep your Rice Krispie Squares chewy!!
  • when marshmallows have melted, add vanilla and chai spice - mix well
  • add Rice Krispies to melted marshmallow - fold until all Rice Krispies are coated - spoon into buttered 8x8 pan - spray wax paper lightly with baking spray then use to press Rice Krispies lightly and evenly into pan
  • cool and eat!!

Take two squares with a fuzzy hoodie, a pair of comfy slippers, a French Vanilla Cappuccino, Season One of Game of Thrones and call me in the morning.