Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fall Back

I think I am getting old. I don't remember the time change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time kicking my butt so much in the past. Sure, I have lamented about the lack of evening natural light for good photos of my dinner meals and recipes, but overall, the biggest pain has usually been climbing up on a chair to change the analog clock that hangs high in my kitchen.

This year, the early darkness is making me a crab-ass. My temper is short in the evenings and everyone needs to beware. Perhaps, it is due in part to the pups not getting the memo about the clocks moving. They are being kind of insane, too. At the first hint of dusk,--which, let's face it, is about 3pm--they start sitting at the side door and whining. No, they don't want to go outside; they could easily escape through the swinging puppy door installed in the back door. They want Hubs to come home. Never mind that Hubs' work hours have NEVER allowed him to come home at 3pm; at the first hint of darkness, they think it is time for him to be home to lounge together in his big leather chair. Who wouldn't be a crab-ass if they had to listen to two dogs' endless whimpering for hours and hours? Really.

Anyway, I am going to try to yank myself out of this funk (and not throttle the pups) by pulling from some recipes I tried during the long, endlessly sunny days of summer. I am going to fall back into a plate of Fresh Corn and Gruyère Polenta and Grilled Scallops and blissfully remember the night we first sampled these in a late evening dinner on the patio. It was still light at 9pm, and the heat of the day rose from the concrete. Although it had been a very lengthy day of working on the front porch project, we were at peace as the pups playfully wrestled on the grass at our side.

It wasn't dark.
There was no whining.
The food was good.
What more could I want?

for those kind of days to last forever...

(adapted from Food For My Family and Gwyneth Paltrow - I had first seen the blog post from Shaina at Food for My Family, and then decided that adding fresh corn as Gwyneth Paltrow suggested in her cookbook would be perfect for us. Loved the extra texture of the corn kernels.)

4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 sprig rosemary
1 cup cornmeal polenta
1 cup of fresh corn kernels (alternately, frozen corn may be used when fresh is not in season)
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup Gruyère, shredded

Bring water, salt and rosemary to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Reduce heat to low and remove rosemary sprig.
Whisk in polenta.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until polenta is thickened; stir frequently.
Stir in fresh corn and milk.
Add butter and allow to melt into the polenta and incorporate.
Stir in the shredded cheese a bit at a time to melt thoroughly into the polenta.

1 pound sea scallops (original recipe called for fresh, but frozen are better suited to my geographical location)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Heat grill to 600 degrees. (We used charcoal for the added smokey flavor, but use gas, if that is your thing...or even a super smoking grill pan indoors, if the weather isn't friendly.)
Combine olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
Add scallops and toss to coat thoroughly.
Place scallops on the smoking hot grill.
Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, just until grill marks are browned and scallop is cooked through.
(Don't overcook...rubbery scallops aren't so delicious.)
Remove from grill and place on platter.
Cover with foil and allow to rest about 2 minutes.

To serve the Fresh Corn and Gruyère Polenta and Grilled Scallops, use a shallow bowl or scooped plate to first add polenta, and then top with scallops. Season with fresh cracked pepper. (Serves 4)

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