Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cleaning up My Act

I haven't been doing much knitting the last couple of days. My brother and youngest nephew are coming to visit me next week and I have to make my apartment presentable.

Which is a much more Herculean task than you might think. Thirteen years of 70+ hours a week working (and other factors I won't bother to go into here) have made my apartment a pretty messy place, especially considering that I never fully moved in when I came to Chicago fifteen years ago. Most of my friends have never seen my apartment; the ones who have seen it haven't been here in over five years.

Not that it's gross, or anything (well, not too gross). It's just that when you've worked in the book business for thirteen years, and you've been knitting for over five years, you tend to accumulate massive quantities of books and yarn, and it gets hard to find places to put things.

But I'm making progress.

My brother and nephew are going to stay for a few days, then we're going to drive down to Austin for Thanksgiving. This will be the second year in a row I get to go home for Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday. It's all about the food!

And speaking of food (see how neatly I worked that into this post?), here's a lovely picture of something I cooked up with one of my favorite recent discoveries: instant polenta:
I love polenta but I hate making it. I like it firm enough to cut into squares so I have to stir it constantly for half an hour, which is a real bitch, and leaves an ungodly mess to clean up in the pot. Then one day in the grocery store I was browsing the import shelf in the Italian section (doesn't everybody?) when I noticed this:

It's just cornmeal, nothing added, but it's pre-cooked, then dried, so you only have to cook it five minutes! And there's just a moderately ungodly mess in the pan to clean up. I put a tsp. of basil in addition to the salt when I make it, then I stir in about 2Tbsp. olive oil right before I spread it out and it's mighty tasty.

The sauce is about as basic as a sauce can be. I slice up 6-7 cloves of garlic and saute them in a large skillet, then add a large can of stewed tomatoes (whole, diced or crushed), some thyme, basil, and salt, and let it simmer between 30 mins. to an hour, until it thickens up. Towards the end I throw in whatever vegetable I have on hand (it's especially good with eggplant, which is what's in the picture. I cut it in half, put it in the microwave for 5-7 minutes (or roast it in the oven for about 45 mins. in the winter), then let it stand until it's mushy, scrape the flesh out of the skin and add it to the sauce). The sauce is good with pasta too.

I'll probably be able to work on Mavis's collar tonight before the project class I'm teaching. And I'd like to finish Anya. It feels like all of my projects are dragging on and I'm never going to finish anything.

1 comment:

misreall said...

If you have a chance to try it the premade polenta from Trader Joe's (sweet, sweet Trader Joe's) is perfectly functional.

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