Happy Halloween!

We have happy kids. Halloween has been a big success. Grace was a colonial girl with a lovely satin dress and a mob cap and Jan made her little stuffed ferret an outfit to match. Amelia was Medusa with hair coiled like snakes and painted green and rubber snakes embedded in it and a gold lame greek dress and she also had a small rubber snake she could keep stored in her mouth and vomit out when she wanted to truly horrify people! Jan was a gypsy fortuneteller with patterned scarves and makeup and false eyelashes. She made me up as a pirate with a bandana around my head and a little braid in my hair and a big sash and a tattoo on my neck and then she superglued a blue jewel to my ear. I have no idea how I’m going to get it off…

Beforehand we went over to Cassundra’s house and had soup and grilled polenta and salad. Jan and I made the polenta earlier in the day. One batch was flavored with sundried tomatoes and parmesan. The other was flavored with rosemary and parmesan.

Polenta with rosemary and parmesan and with sundried tomatoes and parmesan

You’ll need two flat oven safe dishes or trays for the polenta. You’ll also need two biggish pots. Put four cups of chicken stock in each pot. Then put it on to boil. Get about two tablespoons of fresh rosemary and chop it fine and put it in one pot. Dice up a couple of tablespoons of sundried tomatoes and put them in the other pot. When the stock boils, turn it down to a simmer. Then slowly sprinkle a cup of polenta across the surface of the stock stirring all the time and keep stirring until the polenta is smoothly and evenly mixed in. This should avoid lumps. Do the same with the other pot and then simmer them on very low for ten to fifteen minutes stirring at least every minute. As the polenta starts to thicken watch it more carefully and keep stirring. After ten minutes test it to see how much crunch is left in the polenta. When it is all soft, turn it off. It should be pretty thick – almost like porridge. At this point you should stir about a quarter cup of grated parmesan thoroughly into each pot. You can eat immediately if you want soft polenta. Put some kind of sauce on it if you want.

Alternatively, for set polenta to fry or grill, pour each batch out into its own tray and set it somewhere cool to cool down. After an hour or two it will be basically solid. You can cut it into slices or wedges and put it in containers and refrigerate until you need it. When you are ready, coat it lightly with olive oil and grill or fry it. You can put a little more shredded parmesan on it. I usually serve it with a heated up basic marinara sauce just to pour over.

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