Tag Archives: grape tomatoes

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms Recipe

Gentle Readers, on rare occasions, everyone in the family likes the same thing. Team Practical Cook prides itself on individual palates, to the point that certain Practical Cooks regret raising Juniors with discriminating tastes. Overheard at the table: that’s not how it tastes to my mouth. Arrgghh!

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Yes, the Practical Cooks Junior are seriously 2.0, with all the requisite improvements, but you try cooking for short people with very clear notions of food. Enter Trader Joe’s shelf-stable polenta. It was the featured sample a few weeks back, and it’s graced our kitchen ever since.

Trader Joe's Shelf-Stable Polenta

Trader Joe’s Shelf-Stable Polenta

This time we made it hearty. The Youngest didn’t like mushrooms much before, so we had everyone select their own type of mushroom from the bin. Naturally, she went for the shitakes, at $9.99/lb. Oh well. They were delicious.

The More Affordable Portobella Mushroom

The More Affordable Portobella Mushroom

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms Recipe

1 package Trader Joe’s shelf-stable polenta, or feel free to make it yourself, I won’t wait
olive oil
3 cloves garlic
about a pound of mushrooms, any variety, cleaned and sliced
salt
red pepper flakes
1/2 bag prewashed baby spinach
6 grape tomatoes, quartered
3 – 6 eggs
Romano cheese

1. Slice the polenta in 6 to 8 slices, and prepare according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat a dollop of olive oil in a medium-high skillet and add the garlic cloves. When you can smell them, add the mushrooms. Add salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Saute until they lose their water and reduce.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the spinach. Saute until wilted. Add the grape tomatoes and heat briefly.

4. By now the polenta should be done. Turn off the heat but leave in the pan. Meanwhile, fry as many eggs as you want, over easy or medium, at least one per serving.

5. Make a stack: polenta, mushroom mixture, egg. Top with grated Romano cheese. Enjoy.

This was a runaway hit. It was beautiful, it felt special, and with some fruit on the side, made for a very filling meal. After all, polenta is really just Italian for grits.

Polenta Frying in the Pan

Polenta Frying in the Pan

Are you a polenta fan? How do you serve it? Post a comment below, I’m listening!

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Coming up Friday, on video: Booberry vs Frakenberry: The Ultimate FauxBerry Taste Challenge

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Garlicky Roma Beans with Tomatoes Recipe

Gentle Readers, the Practical Cook adores a simple summer side. Though she used to be a green bean hater, she has now been transformed because of her CSA, courtesy of Brinkley Farms, and a boatload of garlic. You see, growing up in the South, I was subjected to endless overcooked green beans that squeaked. I love you mom, but I do despise a limp green bean.

The Junior Practical Cook Assists with the Beans

The Junior Practical Cook Assists with the Beans

Enter the Chinese buffet. After some experimentation, and a natural prey drive (er, buffet drive?) to try one of everything, I discovered I liked very lightly cooked, slender, garlicky green beans. Preferably with soy. My Brinkley Farms beans are so good, I don’t even need soy.

This led to more experimentation, and the consumption of Roma beans. They’re the flat ones. Here’s a riff on my basic recipe, a simple side, and pretty too.

Garlicky Roma Beans with Tomatoes Recipe

splash of olive oil
1 lb Roma beans (or standard, government issue fresh green beans), washed, dried, and ends trimmed
minimum of 3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed (if you press, press them into a teaspoon of water to prevent burning)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil until shimmering over a strong medium heat in a medium skillet that has a lid. The lid is not on, but nearby during this stage.

2. When the oil is hot, toss the prepped Roma beans into the oil. If they are not dry, you will not be happy at this moment. Please make sure they’re dry or you’re standing back from the pan. Stir-fry the beans for a couple of minutes, tossing thoroughly in the oil.

Toss the Tomatoes into the Romas

Toss the Tomatoes into the Romas

3. Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds, then add a splash of water. Toss with the beans and season with salt and pepper. Slap the lid on the skillet. Steam/saute for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes. Stir, cook for a few more minutes, or until tomatoes are warm and beans are just cooked. (If you need them floppy and squeaky, I will avert my eyes at this point.)

Summer  Vegetables, Christmas Colors

Summer Vegetables, Christmas Colors

Pat yourself on the back, and serve the beautiful green and red side dish. Tastes even better if you employ small people to snap the bean ends for you.

Raising a Non-Green-Bean Hater

Raising a Non-Green-Bean Hater

What is your most loathed vegetable from childhood? Do you still hate it? Comment here, or Tweet.

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Coming up next, Kitchen Tool Talk, 3 More of My Favorite Things.

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