It’s been cold, right? Thick-sock-wearing cold. Huddle-under-a-blanket-with-a-book cold. Even put-that-fireplace-to-use cold.
And I like it.
Know what else I like? Polenta. Specifically, when it’s cold enough for cooking polenta over a hot stove, steam in your face and those thick socks on your feet. I like all that stirring and watching the great golden bubbles rise to the top and audibly pop.
To my left, Quinn is populating a pretend “California” with a bin’s worth of Polly Pockets (the requisite accessories and outfits included). To my right, Emmie is puffing and piping clarinet scales.
Me? I’m stirring to the stories in Nicole Krauss’ “A History of Love”. No, it’s not the same as reading huddled under a blanket, but soon I’ll be tucking into this polenta, which might be better than than the blanket part.
Grab a medium-sized saucepan. Stir 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 2/3 cups coarse polenta into 7 cups cold water (cold water means fewer lumps). Add a couple small bay leaves and bring it all to a boil, then add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir — continuously so the polenta won’t stick — for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the polenta is thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan (and watch where you put your book — don’t let it get too close to the burner, especially if it’s from the library). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If, like me, you feel so inclined, add a handful or three of freshly grated Parmesan.