I am back! After undergoing a series of life changes, I fear I will have to give up the plans for my spring garden :( But I will now, even more than before, have to get better at feeding myself on a budget. My financial aid money for school has not yet come in and I am getting dangerously low on petty cash. But not to worry! I have flour, cornmeal, a jar of tomato sauce, an assortment of dried legumes and spices. My goal is to impede on my new roommates as little as possible, grocery wise. Because I don't mind eating the same thing a few nights in a row, and I know how to dress up leftovers, I am optimistic.
For the last couple of nights, I have eaten polenta. Polenta is a peasant food from Italy. It is creamy and takes flavourings very well--making is delicious. It is also made from cornmeal so it is cheap to make. Traditional polenta can be a long process, but it doesn't have to be. Here is how I make mine:
One part cornmeal to three parts water (for example, 1/3 c cornmeal to 1c water)
butter or olive oil
Put water and a teaspoon of salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, sprinkle corn meal in and stir to prevent lumps. Continue until all of the cornmeal is incorporated. It will thicken up amazingly; turn down your heat to low. Keep stirring for a few minutes to prevent it from forming lumps. Add a lid and let sit, stirring every few minutes for up to twenty minutes. Add more water if it gets too thick and starts sticking. Remove from heat and it has reached the desire creamy constistancy. When it is no longer gritty it can be eaten, but it is better if it cooks a bit longer. You can eat it in its current creamy, delicious state, or you can spread it on a baking pan and let cool, cut into squares, brush with butter or olive oil, and broil for a few minutes. I like to eat mine right off of the stove with tomato sauce.