Monday, February 9, 2015

I am a terrible overthinker. I analyze many things to their deaths. I have even been known to resurrect a few topics and beat them with a stick all over again. It is not something I am exceptionally proud of. In fact, I (try to) put great effort into not being so thoughtful each day. I tell myself to be more like my husband; to compartmentalize; take out one drawer at a time and close each drawer before you open the next. Stop thinking so much! It seems to be more of a girl thing, this overthinking, as most of the women I know confess to analyzing certain areas of their lives to a detriment. Being a mother surely does nothing to alleviate this tendency. Some days the puzzle of my to-do lists, my methodical order and multitasking comes together wonderfully and I pat myself on the back and tell myself, I can do it all. There are other days where I overwhelm myself and I try to move too quickly and do too much.

The purpose of this post was not to share a recipe of my own, but to make a dish, any dish that I enjoy, and then to enjoy the process of making it. When the days of shopping at the farmer's market and spending a Saturday cooking in the kitchen have been replaced with scrambling to get dinner on the table with small children at my feet, the exercise of cooking transforms from a state of enjoyment to a three times daily job of short order cook. I decided on making something from Sprouted Kitchen, a cooking blog that I turn to quite often for recipes and meal inspiration. The process of going through recipes, jotting down ideas for now and future meals is therapeutic.  I settled on making something new to me; their Mushroom and Poblano Tart in a Cornmeal Crust. I wrote out my grocery list, went to the store and managed to clear my home the next morning to cook the way I once did, without an agenda or expectations and most importantly, without a racing body and mind. It was nice to follow a recipe and cook just for cooking sake.

The flavors came together in this healthy California Mexican inspired dish. The chilis were mild, the mushrooms a little earthy and the cornmeal crust was hearty without feeling too rich. Tangy feta and the bit of cilantro are necessary toppings. I also added a few chunks of avocado. As most of the recipes from Sprouted Kitchen, this tart was exactly my vegetarian tastes and the exercise of making it was just what I needed. We had it that night for dinner alongside some sautéed rainbow chard and then as leftovers on Saturday morning alongside a glass of fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. I imagine it would certainly be a wonderful centerpiece for a simple brunch not needing too much to go alongside.

Mushroom and Poblano Tart

This recipe comes from the Sprouted Kitchen blog. (Plus or minus a few words.)

Serves 6-8


1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
fresh ground pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 small Poblano chilies (I actually used 2 Anaheim chilies)
5 eggs
3/4 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, plus more for garnish

chopped cilantro
hot sauce
avocado (my addition)

In a medium size sauce pan, bring the broth, water and salt to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta and continue to stir. Turn the heat to low, cover, cook for 10 minutes while giving it a stir every 2 minutes to prevent the bottom from burning. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, egg and lots of fresh ground pepper. Let sit another 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie pan. Transfer the polenta into the pie pan and use wet fingertips to press into an even layer on the bottom and sides. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and the poblano pepper and saute until soft. Turn off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cumin and black pepper together until well combined. Stir in the scallions and the vegetables. Add the egg mixture into the cornmeal crust and sprinkle the feta on top. Bake until the center is just set, about 20 minutes. (My tart took over 40 minutes to cook in my incredibly slow Italian oven... A story for another day.) Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Top with crumbled feta, cilantro, hot sauce and avocado.


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