Day 211: Maybe the first version was a fluke

July 30, 2007

This afternoon we made the third and final installment in the pumpkin polenta trilogy: Vegetarian Pumpkin Polenta with Spinach and White Beans [recipe (wrong photo)]. The first version of this recipe, with chorizo and black beans, was good, the second version, with sausage and fennel was ok, this third version was, in a word, bogging. Somehow the polenta turned out lumpy. I have no idea why but it just didn’t work out as well as the first time around. Anything which is gritty to begin with really suffers when there are big lumps of grit in there. However, I will readily admit that that was something that I did wrong, i don’t know what, but we know the recipe can yield good results; we enjoyed the dish on Saturday.

The spinach and white bean topping, however, was just rubbish. The onions and garlic were fried in olive oil, then cooked drained frozen spinach and white beans were added to the pot. Once they were warm, the food was seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and served on top of the lumpy polenta. Draining frozen spinach in a “clean kitchen towel” is a gigantic pain in the behind. The towel ends up looking like a slimed extra in a horror film, and there is goopy green water all over the countertop. The most annoying thing is that the spinach ends up dry, so, when added to the onions and beans, with no other liquid or sauce, it is a bit like eating cotton wool. The lack of flavour plus the overly dry texture is reminiscent of the taste in your mouth after a long night drinking, if I can remember those days. When your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth because you are so dehydrated. Not exactly the best taste sensation in the world. And who would warm up a tin of white beans and just put nutmeg, salt and pepper on them? surely no-one with taste buds. This meal would have been much better if there had been some liquid, any liquid added to the beans and spinach. Spinach water, dish water or ketchup, who cares what, this food was just plain nasty. But hey, at least we get to move on two days of frittata, starting with Broccoli Frittata with Goat Cheese and BLT Bread Salad. And given our collective love of eggs, those meals can only be fun ones.

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  • Reply Joannie July 31, 2007 at 7:21 am

    I used to watch RR’s show and she seemed to use the frozen spinach a lot. I was always skeptical about squeezing it out in a towel. That’s the sort of technique that is thought up by someone that doesn’t have to do the dishes or laundry.

  • Reply Liza July 31, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    I always use a strainer to squeeze the moisture out of frozen spinach. Remember, you’re preparing recipes from someone who fries bacon in olive oil and spins salad in the washing machine. A lot of her instructions will not make a palmful (in RR’s vernacular) of sense.

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project August 1, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    So very very true!

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