Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Box Lunches

I have been quite busy lately and it seems like May is just slipping away! My bees are changeling me in way I did not expect. Our contract negotiations are not going well and it has been a very disheartening process. As I write this post, I am preparing for another informational picket this afternoon, wondering if I will be part of large labor strike in a few weeks. We are still celebrating Tina's appointment and busy with end of the academic year activities! My friends Mara and Miryam are still in crisis mode so I have been delivering food to sustain them every Tuesday. Today I made lunches for my upcoming work weekend. It took less than two hours total to put these together and I can assure you my colleagues are going to be salivating when I dig into these gluten-free meals. I have been cooking out of Grill Every Day by Diane Morgan, she is simply genius. Every single recipe is a winner and I am working my way though each and every one of them. I have never prepared polenta by scratch or using the precooked tubes, nor have I had polenta very often. The photo of this dish looks so good I had to try it and decided to pair it with a Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad. I love chickpeas and figured if the polenta dish failed at least I would have the salad. Both are wonderful.

Grilled Polenta with Sweet Red Peppers and Onion Wedges

serves 5

1 tube, 18 ounces precooked Polenta (I used San Gennaro)
olive oil
kosher salt
2 red bell peppers, or any peppers of your choice, quartered, seeded and deribbed
1 large walla walla or other sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Prepare grill.

Trim off the irregular ends of each, slice the polenta into ten half inch thick slices. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Generously brush slices, both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, add any other herb you might like. Brush peppers and onions with olive oil and season them.

Oil the grill grate. Arrange polenta slices directly over the hot fire and grill, turning once, until they have grill marks etched across both sides, 8 - 10 minutes total. While the polenta is grilling, arrange the peppers and onions over the fire and grill, turning once, until the edges begin to char and they are tenter but still firm, about 6 minutes.

To serve, cut the peppers into thin strips, slice the onion rounds in half, arrange 2 polenta slices, slightly overlapping them on each plate and top with some peppers and onions. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.

Chickpea Salad

6 tablespoons meyer lemon olive oil
freshly grated zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can pitted ripe olives, halved (I used Kalmata)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne.

In a large bowl,combine the chickpeas, olives, tomatoes, parsley and feta. Add the dressing and toss gently to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Alternatively, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, remove from fridge and allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen said...

I am sorry things are so crazy right now! I love polenta and that lunch looks delicious! I hope things get better soon!