I’m shaking in my space boots! Another winter storm is on its way…supposedly. Whatever, guys. It can’t get much worse than Sandy in NYC, so unless we are literally going to experience the apocalypse, I don’t really pay much attention to whatever red and orange flashing lights are going off on The Weather Channel. Those people are a bunch of damn fear mongers, getting people all riled up and buying unneeded bulk supplies of water, batteries, and who knows what else. Every time some “storm” is coming, it’s like Walgreens and your local meteorologist have teamed up and cut one another in on some deal. Maybe they have. Maybe we’re all just living in a snow globe. What is reality? Who am I? Why am I? Are you all have flashbacks to when you learned about JFK’s assassination and conspiracy theories in junior high? You’re welcome. I hope that was a nice distraction from your usual Wednesday morning routine (mine being pack a lunch, make and drink coffee, then rush to brush my teeth and comb my hair to make my usual train). I think that I may be lacking in sunshine/vitamin D. Who knows? I do hope that we at least get a tiny bit of snow tonight before spring, then summer, has me sweating my ass off all over the city. I am not looking forward to that. I’d rather have a million blizzards than have to deal with touching other sweaty people on a packed morning commute.
Speaking of food-centric books, after reading Heat, I was inspired to make my own polenta, which I had never done before. Now, when I first made it, it was a laborious process, albeit completely worth it. In the book, Bill Buford talks about how polenta shouldn’t be something that is made quickly or carelessly, but something to be stirred, thought about, and cared for. I get that, but for my purposes, which were a long Friday night followed by a painful Saturday morning, I wanted something fast, hearty, and rich to cure what ailed me. Enter this quick polenta. Just stir it for 20-30 minutes, add some butter and cheese, if you want, cook up some vegetables and bacon, top with a beautiful fried egg, and call it a day. If I can make this when I’m suffering from a hangover, you can make it too, I promise. Kramer couldn’t believe I woke up and started cooking, but sometimes when you’re in a state, there’s nothing like a home cooked meal instead of ordering delivery (which often takes forever and is cold by the time you receive it, anyway). This obviously isn’t a life changing polenta (that’s for another day – get excited), but it is creamy, absolutely delicious, and ready to sooth you and your family by the time your coffee is ready. The caramelized leeks, crispy bacon, and nature’s perfect sauce (egg yolk, of course) make for an irresistible combination.
Crisp up your bacon and then cook the leeks in its fat (or use olive oil or butter – your call) while simultaneously cooking your polenta low and slow.
- 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal + 1 cup of water
- 2 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 6 slices of bacon, chopped
- 3 large leeks, thinly sliced
- 3 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the cornmeal and 1 cup of water, whisking well (this will keep your polenta from becoming lumpy). Bring the other 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot and add 1 teaspoon of salt. When boiling, add in the cornmeal and water, then bring to a simmer. Stir over medium heat, scraping down the sides as necessary, then reduce to medium-low once the polenta has started to thicken. Stir every 5 minutes or so until the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes), check the consistency, and maybe add another ¼ to ½ cup of water, depending on the thickness. Fold in the butter, cheese, and any additional salt. Taste and adjust as needed.
- While your polenta cooks, fry your bacon in another pan over medium-high heat until crisp, then remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Cook the thinly sliced leeks in the bacon fat (or oil or butter if you aren’t using bacon) until softened, about 8 minutes, then add the bacon back in to warm it up. In yet another pan, fry your eggs until the whites are set. Place a big spoonful of polenta on your plate, top with the bacon and leeks, then your fried egg. Season with some freshly ground black pepper and serve.