Saturday, February 26, 2011


Food. Here's the thing,  I self-medicate with food. Reading about food. Shopping for food. Cooking food. And of course, eating food.  When the everyday stress of stomping feet, slamming doors, piles of laundry, broken dryers, and a working-away-from home husband pile up on me... I either shut down and tell them to make themselves peanut butter sandwich, or I create food. I create something I have control over. I look in my cupboard and dream something up with a little of this, a little of that, and somehow, out of nowhere, something delicious appears. Something good. Something wonderful. Something to enjoy. Something to savor. Something I'm good at. And usually, something to share.  When I'm missing my friends and my heart is aching, my eyes are full, and I can't curl up in Ry's arms... I either curl up in bed and try to stay there forever... or I bake. I cook. I create. And while I do, I think. I process. I unravel the strings wrapped around my heart. I untie the knots in my head. And while I have something to focus on that I love to do... my heart doesn't hurt so much for a minute.

Sometimes food is the way I say "I love you."  Sometimes it's the way I say, "I care."  Sometimes it's the way I say "I'm listening."  And sometimes it's the way I say "I'm there."

And sometimes, it just looks good and I don't need a reason to eat it. :)

For tonight though, polenta said I'm missing Ry. Marinara said I'm missing my sisters and my friends.  And chicken was just the easiest thing to cook:) While I cooked, I thought of Belinda. Ephriam and his baby sisters. And I tried to sort out why it's all connected to what's been going on lately with Baby Tori. Vicki. Katie's Oliver. Val. Broken friendships. Memories that hurt. And friendships that heal.

I also wanted to make a good meal for my sweet chili peppers. Mom's been working a lot lately, and they already had "make your own sandwiches" for lunch. I wanted to make them a real meal.

Overall, the meal was delicious, and the only thing missing was a dob of sour cream (I am my mother's daughter) and a garnish of fresh basil.  At least that's what I tried to tell myself.

The real thing missing was Vicki. Alina. Val. Joe. Elizabeth. Danielle. Katie. Travis. Zach. Manda. Ellen. Nan. Belinda. Ephriam. Kristine. Mike. Pheobee. Faith.  And of course, Ry.

Don't ask me how you are all woven together, and don't ask me why your name isn't on this list. It's not because I don't love you, it's because I'm processing through a lot of stuff and you're not in the current tangle of fresh experiences, old memories, lingering heartaches, or hopeful prayers and wishes.

Anyway, enjoy the recipes.

Polenta with Garlic Chicken, Marinara, and Asiago
In a non-stick 4 quart pan, boil 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water while you saute 1/2 and onion and a clove of minced garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onions to the broth mix, and add 1/4-1/2 tsp seasoning salt. Slowly whisk in 1 3/4 cups coarse ground cornmeal, and then add 3 Tbsp butter to keep it from going lumpy.  Cover, reduce heat to low and stir every 5-10 minutes for the next 45 minutes until it is creamy and thick. Add 2 oz cream cheese and stir it in thoroughly. Pour into 2 buttered pie plates and place in the freezer or fridge to cool and setup. When it is set, pull it out, and pan fry it in a hot pan with lots of butter til it has a nice golden crust. (Flip it carefully.)

Pan fry some chicken breasts with garlic and herb seasoning... or fresh garlic, a dash of salt and pepper. Open your favorite brand of marinara sauce and simmer the chicken in it while the polenta cools.  (Mine is Angela Mia's... but you probably can't find it at the store.)

Serve the polenta with the chicken and marinara on top, a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of asiago, and a garnish of fresh basil.

Eat, and enjoy.

Preferably with friends.

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