I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the root canal wasn’t bad at all; drilling is still no fun, but it was sweet relief to be free of the throbbing.
But the drilling and scraping required an ample dose of Novocain, leaving me with the sensation of a silicone loaf pan in place of cheek, lips and tongue. So I arrived home in the early evening with my frozen face, and wondered what to do next. Kevin and Nick were outside playing, the morning snow having given way to a beautifully sunny afternoon. I stayed inside, dreamily fatigued, ready for the day to come to a close. How many hours until this stuff wears off? Waiting can be such a consuming affair. I knew I should have figured out what to make for dinner earlier; I 'd lost confidence in any of my ideas. I had not given the problem of a numb face, and its effect on my mood, due consideration; it annoyed me to have to give it consideration at all.
I made a cup of mint tea, which I sipped and dribbled while half-heartedly flipping through a few cooking magazines, followed by the opening and closing of the refrigerator door several times over. I poked my cheek; nothing. By 6:30 I was bored with waiting for my face and dinner. I pulled out the box of polenta I had pondered in the morning and set to work.
By 6:45 I had halved a package of mushrooms (neglected from an earlier shopping trip; another day or two and they were destined for the dustbin) and begun sautéing them in olive oil; a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and thyme were added to the mix. The kitchen began to smell pleasantly of food (I’m glad there’s no call for administering Novocain up the nose). The pan was removed from the heat, covered to keep warm, and replaced with a pot of broth and milk. It only took a few minutes to bring it to a boil and whisk in the polenta. The meal suddenly seemed endowed with success.
Nick was beginning to clamor for his bath (Kevin fed him dinner while I whisked), so I hopped to it and got the polenta in the bowls, followed by the mushrooms, and topped it all off with a few blue cheese crumbles (from a morsel of forgotten, but still acceptable, gorgonzola at the rear of the cheese drawer) and a handful of arugula leaves (leftover from Thursday's bbq tofu sandwiches). It was good. Really good. Even Nicky ate several spoonfuls, including a balsamic mushroom and a piece of arugula (although he promptly spit the latter right back out). Then I chomped my tongue, and felt it (just a little bit). Hurrah!
Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Arugula
This is an approximation of what I did last night; there was no precise measuring as I went along, except for the proportions of liquid to dry polenta. The leftovers were delicious rewarmed for lunch today--even pretty enough to be photographed.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 and 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth, to make it vegetarian)
1 cup dry quick-cooking polenta (or yellow cornmeal)
3/4 teaspoon salt
About 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
About 2 packed cups pre-cleaned baby arugula leaves
In a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season with the thyme and salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the vinegar. Cook about 1 minute to glaze the mushrooms then remove from heat. Keep the mushrooms warm while preparing the polenta.
Combine the milk and broth in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and gradually add the polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 2 minutes. Add the salt; cover and let stand 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Top the polenta with the mushrooms, blue cheese crumbles and arugula. Makes 4 main-dish servings.
Nutrition per Serving (1/4 of the dish):
Calories 412; Fat 10.1g (sat 3.1g, mono 3.3g, poly 2.6g); Protein 17.7g; Cholesterol 9mg; Carbohydrate 69.8g; Sodium 267mg.
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
I am submitting this in the Tried, True and Tested Roundup! Here is the link to the great site!