Often for my lunchbox, and dinner at home too, I end up with a vegetarian form of whatever I make my husband for dinner. This meal is one of my favorites and will appear more often both at home and at work: Mushroom Ragout over Creamy Polenta, Brussels Sprouts blanched in vegetarian broth, large Spanish Green Olives, and Medjool dates and Orange slices for dessert. Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables. I love their full rich earthy taste savored along with the brightness of green vegetables. They're the meat of the garden group so that's what makes them such a hearty anchor for this meal. When I made this meal, I found that it was easy to adapt it to my meat-eating husband by dropping a chicken breast into the mushroom ragout after I'd pulled my own portion out, while I myself didn't miss the chicken at all. I love polenta and it's rich taste from my youth. The Italians say polenta, my southern roots say corn meal mush. No matter. It all comes out beautifully in the wash.
And as for Brussels Sprouts? I thought I hated them. I've thought I hated them for all but this last year of my 42 years, but you know what? What I've found is that I do like Brussels Sprouts IF they're not gussied up. Add a bunch of butter and bacon or walnuts and orange and they take on a bitterness I don't like, BUT, if I simply blanch them in a little vegetable broth I could eat my weight in them. Who knew? Well I do now and enjoy them often. Mushroom Ragout Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse 8 oz. Mushrooms (I had white buttons on hand), washed and quartered 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 medium onion, diced 1 cup red wine (I had cabernet handy) 1/2 tsp dried thyme Salt and Pepper to taste
Over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil. Add mushrooms and saute until browned and aromatic. Add wine, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until wine is reduced by half.
Polenta Recipe courtesy Mario Batali 4 cups water 2 tablespoons salt 1 cup polenta or cornmeal In a 3-quart saucepan, heat water and salt until boiling. Drizzle in polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until all polenta is incorporated and mixture begins to thicken. Switch to a wooden spoon, pull off heat and continue to stir until thick as paste. Brussels Sprouts, Like Revenge: Served Cold Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
1 quart water 1 Tbsp vegetarian boullion 2 cups cleaned and quartered Brussels Sprouts Bring water and boullion to a boil. Drop in sprouts for one minute. Drain in collander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Salt and Pepper to taste. Chill before serving.
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