I made this Simple Vegan Polenta Zucchini many times and in many ways. Rather say, I made simple polenta many times with many additions, after I saw Nagi’s recipe for roasted mushrooms on polenta, on her blog Recipe Tin Eats. So I thought, why didn’t I think of that?! So simple, so simple and easy but so versatile and delicious! So firstly I made sautéed mushrooms on polenta that was eaten so quickly that I didn’t get the chance to make any photos. There is also sweet version of polenta with fruit, if you have sweet tooth these days.
I must admit, I wasn’t all that eager to cook polenta in the last few years. Not because I don’t like it or, God forbid, think something’s wrong with it. It’s just… polenta is something so simple, so horribly simple that I simply forgot about it. Further more, we didn’t eat it often when I was a child. My father often told me stories about his childhood. In the early ’50-s, after the 2nd World War, his family was poor. They had what they had – what they could grow themselves. And of course, there was corn. And of course, there was polenta. He would then enlist no more or less but 15 ways of polenta my Grandma Marija would serve her numerous family with. Polenta with milk, yoghurt, sour milk, sour cream, cream cheese, plain polenta, polenta with meat leftovers, polenta with jam, polenta with… I don’t know, but really, there were 15 ways.
So even though my father tells this story with a smile on his face, I would always notice little wrinkles around his eyes while he was talking. Wrinkles that were telling another story. About the boy who ran around bearfoot from spring till fall. About poverty, about shortage, fear, lacking, limitations, injustice. The boy that was thrown out of the Sunday school because his parents weren’t married. About knowing there is something better, more opulent, sweeter, indulging, promissing, and not being able to reach it.
And when he would count the 15th way of polenta, he would end his story by saying, “… and no matter how poor we was, my mom would give everyone the same exact amount on their plate, she would always divide food evenly to all of my brothers and sisters and we were happy. We were content, full, happy.” And then he would smile some more and the little wrinkles would be gone.
My mom once told me that that’s the reason I don’t have any brothers and sisters. Not because of polenta, but because of that constant burden of poverty my father was carrying untill his older sister took him to her family and put him through high school. Because of remebrance of my Grandma always cooking in huge pots and spooning food evenly on numerous plates with large ladle. So that I don’t ever feel lack of anything. My Grandma Marija had 12 children, 7 stayed alive. I got her name and I think, her body, character, her bread baking hands.
Being an only child wasn’t too happy either, because there IS something in sharing, even the smallest treasures like one peach or a chocolate bar.
Today I made this Simple Polenta Zucchini for late breakfast and we really enjoyed it. I did shed a few little tears remembering my father’s story and distant picture of my now long late Grandma. But my pantry is merciful, my fridge is brimming with shiny food and my kids are happy. And I’m grateful. Good times, good polenta.
Could it be simpler? Polenta topped with some sauteed veggies, ideal for any meal in the day! Inspired by Nagi's Garlic Butter Mushrooms from Recipe Tin Eats blog.
- 1200 ml (6 cups) water
- 10 tbsp polenta
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 small onion
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves or garlic powder to taste
- 1/3 tsp garam masala
- 1 -2 tbsp oil
- salt, pepper, provansal herbs to taste
Cook polenta by the instructions on the package. Instant polenta needs much less time to cook. Plain polenta will need up to 15 mins with constant stirring.
Sautee veggies till onions are translucent. Add salt and other seasoning by your taste. Add minced garlic at the end of the cooking.
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