Cooking has become a new pleasure for me and using the freshest ingredients that I can find is important. Luckily summer brings the farmer’s market and while the variety isn’t all that great, the quality of the products are.
This tasty little lunch is a fried polenta with a tomato/bean salad. I used a basic polenta recipe – no cheese – and made a very small batch last night. This morning I threw together some olives, white beans (I used cannellin beans) capers, red onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes and my very own basil. Then I mixed up some olive oil and red wine vinegar, added it to the mix and let it marinade for an hour at room temperature.
I cut my polenta into four pieces and pan fried them in some olive oil, plated the salad and put the polenta on top. It was a very satisfying meal.
The other night I made some barley and used it in place of rice for a bunch of vegetables I had sauteed. I have never made barley as a stand alone dish, I’ve always added it to soups. My water to grain ratio was definitely off. The barley turned out too mushy – I would have prefered that it still have a little tooth to it.
On the note of cooking – I’ve started exploring some of the ethnic markets near my house. I picked up a huge bag of red lentils and some dates (dates are nature’s candy) at an Indian grocer for a lot less than my neighborhood market sells it. They also had huge bags of rice, duram flour (good for pasta dough) and tons of spices.
I wasn’t an adventurous cook in the past and it is too bad because I am finding some wonderful flavors.