I hadn’t seen my friend Suzanne in ages, and had been longing to talk to her. But this just never seemed to be happening, and my usual inertia prevented me from taking any real action to make it happen. Why not just call her, you ask! Somehow, we never manage to connect via phone unless we actually even have a date for that. Our schedules just seem to be in total conflict. Often we see one another at church and make our lunch dates then. Even there though, our schedules don’t mesh, as we usually go to different Masses. So I was thrilled when I saw her in the church parking lot last Sunday. She was leaving as I was coming. As a rule, I don’t make lunch dates on a day after working unless someone else is doing the cooking. I am too stupefied in the mornings, often not coming to life till dinner time. But I was so anxious to see her that I took a chance and invited her for lunch on a post-work morning. Sure enough, I had to stay until the wee hours, and was totally fagged by the time I got home. I still felt pretty knackered in the morning and had a major battle to get out of bed and get moving. “You had better get up,” I told myself. “There is plenty of time,” my other self replied. “Your meal will not take any time at all to fix. Besides, Suzanne is never on time.” Finally, I emerged, grabbed my shopping list, and cycled to the store. My favorite Real Change vendor was there, smiling as ever, and he assured me that all would be well and my meal would be ready on time. Of course, it wasn’t at all. “Suzanne is always late,” I kept telling myself as I was chopping and stirring. It’s true. I never prepare anything for her that requires a prompt trip from the stove to the table, because her arrival times can be very fluid. She was due at one, and at five after, there she was. I was stunned. “Sorry I’m late,” she said, smirking. She could see that I was amazed. “I have turned over a new leaf, and am getting places on time,” she explained. So we chatted while I finished up my preparations. I was only an hour late getting the food on the table. As a rule, I have a horror of being late for anything, but I took this pretty well. Suzanne understands lateness.
This meal really was actually quick to fix. Super Yummy Polenta Patties, and roasted asparagus. I made strawberry tapioca for dessert, starting the tapioca soaking before I went to the store, and quickly fixing it as soon as I got back. I roasted asparagus along with the tomatoes, made a quick Rebecca style salad – fennel, grapefruit, avocado, and served it with some nice bread from Trader Joe.All in all, a very tasty repast, and not much work to prepare. And as Suzanne was her usual hyper-wonderful self, I can say that I had a very pleasant day.
Polenta roll from Trader Joe
3 or 4 nice sized garlic toes
Fresh tomatoes - I used seven medium sized ones*
Mozzarella cheese, grated, about 2/3 cup **
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 375 F. Dice the tomatoes into dice sized pieces. Spread the pieces over a Silpat on a cookie sheet and roast for about 40 minutes. In the meantime, slice the polenta into 1 cm coins, and set it aside. Slice the garlic and when the tomatoes are nearly done, sauté the garlic in a nice big pan in tablespoon or so of olive oil. When the tomatoes are deep red and a little shriveled, scrape them off the Silpat and add them to the garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Have the grated cheese at the ready. Fry the polenta slices in a few more tablespoons oil. When they are hot and crispy on both sides, put about a tablespoon grated cheese on each slice. Turn down the heat and cover the griddle with a big pan lid for a minute or two until the cheese melts. When the cheese is melted, top each polenta patty with a nice blob of the roasted tomatoes. Super yummy.
*Even tomatoes that are pretty mediocre take on a new vibrancy when roasted. Sapor explosivo!
**I had planned to use fresh mozzarella with a slice on each polenta slice, but I forgot to get it when I went to the store. So I just used what I had on hand, and it worked very nicely. Maybe better, since it melted more quickly than a thick slice would have.