April 3, 2010

Things to Do: Garden, Cook, Read, Crochet, Relax

A blustery, winter-like Saturday and I would like to stay home and enjoy life in my little peaceful world as much as I can this weekend: garden, cook, read, and get some crocheting time in. We might go on a short hike through the woods or in town, but that's a joy and part of relaxing.

I have almost enough vegetables to do whatever meals I want to create for our weekly staples. I really don't have to go the market unless I want to. I have some beans soaking and am skimming the vegan and vegetarian blogs and websites for other ideas. I do like it that my kitchen is pretty much transformed to a kitchen full of whole, fresh ingredients. There are very few processed food items around and when I see something I want to prepare, I usually have most, if not all, the ingredients. I am also finding that I am spending less than we did as carnivores. I only needed some fruit and a few vegetables when I stopped at the produce stand yesterday. I spent $33 and have enough food to get us through at least four or five days. I think I am spending about $75-100 a week for two people. That will go down too when the garden starts producing.

I did find a baked vegetable polenta dish that looks fun. I might have to run to the produce stand for an eggplant. I've also been craving some roasted fennel, think I'll do something with that. I almost always have some. I found some organic strawberries yesterday and I want to make some coconut milk ice cream. I think that will be yummy. I am going to make the foccacia bread I posted the other day with a different filling, not sure what yet.

I also have some gardening to do in the basement to transplant broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant seedlings into some larger containers. I only have three fennel coming up healthy right now, they are really pretty little plants. I had two in the garden last year and want more. We eat them in our salads a lot. I'll start some more today and see if I can get any better success. Remember, this is only my second year at gardening after not really doing it for ten years. I've had potted plants on my deck, but not a full garden as we do now. Most of what I am starting has been successful, but I am having some that haven't worked out like I'd like them to.

Now I have made my wish list for this weekend public. I am really good at doing what I say, so maybe I will get it accomplished. Oh No, I just remembered the farmer's market starts this morning. Guess I do have to go somewhere. I'm outta here, gotta welcome my farmer's and get some greens. I think my CSA farmer is bringing me some fennel plants, hope so.

I'll let you know what I do with my vegetables later. I will probably change this a little bit, such as using my own marinara sauce and adding some more fresh herbs.

Found this on the Food Day column on The Oregonian Live website. The link is "What's for Dinner."

Polenta and Vegetable Bake

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 10-ounce bag baby spinach
  • 1-1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 14-ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced lengthwise into 6 thin slices
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (divided)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water and spinach; cover and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.
Place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit, if necessary. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese, top with the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Cheri Swoboda

No comments:

Post a Comment