Monday, November 9, 2009


I use to be an okay cook but my skills have deteriorated over the years. First I was married to a man who thought that Chef Salad was the height of cuisine and now I live with a man who cooks far better than I have ever dreamed of. I still enjoy cooking... I am just no damned good at it. So while my boyfriend is away for a few weeks to explore our vast country I have taken to blaspheming his kitchen.

I am celiac, thus cannot eat wheat/gluten. Pasta is right out. I have been wanting to try Polenta Lasagna for a while as a way to get my cheesy goodness spot satisfied. I had all the ingredients I thought appropriate but was too cavalier to look up a recipe. Really how hard could it be? Polenta, sauce, fresh mozzarella, pesto-right? I layered, baked and awaited my righteous reward.

I suppose there are cookbooks for a reason, like say, to tell you that a bunch of moist ingredients will blend into a monolithic pan of ingredient. It didn't taste too bad but there is something about the word "lasagna" that evokes distinct layers of different textured items. This had turned into a loaf of very cheesy, slightly tomatoey polenta. In and of itself- not terrible.

I had it for dinner two nights in a row and then had it for lunch today (the downside of cooking big complicated dishes is eating them for several days.) I mulled about what had gone awry. I realized it wasn't the food, it was my attitude. If I stopped thinking of it as lasagna it became more palatable. When I thought of it as a lovely, cheesy side dish I loved it a little bit more. But what would I call it- polenta pudding?

I am guessing there is a larger life lesson here.


smith kaich jones said...

I am not much of a cook but I have a great cold fried okra/squash/tomato thing I call Aunt Debi's Famous Okra Salad. The secret and the lesson is definitely in the title.

:) Debi

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm with Debi. And I think you should call it "Sarah's Polenta-Tomato Gratin"... gratin means with cheese, right? And it makes everything with cheese SOUND like it's gourmet and delicious, and comforting in the way that lasagna should be.

So what were you "supposed" to do, by the way, that you didn't? Spread the polenta thinly over a cookie sheet and bake it first?

SMC said...

I guess the polenta is suppose to be baked in a loaf first, then sliced thinly to make layers. I may give it a try again when the boyfriend is gone for a while so I don't have to subject him to my experiments.