January's cookbook of the month, but then added the book's basic tomato sauce recipe. I'm glad I made the addition - it was the perfect complement to the meal, plus it gave me a lot of tomato sauce for pasta later in the week. And it was one of the best tomato sauces that I've ever made thanks to the secret ingredient, cream cheese.
Now that I've tried a handful of recipes from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health, I can conclusively say that I love it. It surpasses the other Moosewood books, which is saying a lot. I appreciate that there's a lot of variety, including several gluten-free recipes. Everything that I tried turned out really well, and I'm having trouble picking my favorite, so I guess I'll just say that I loved the gluten-free apple and rice bran muffins, the dried fruit, nut, and coconut truffles, the eggplant, ricotta, and walnut pasta, the Mexican rice and pepper-stuffed portabellas, and this polenta recipe. It's tempting to stick with this book for another month, but I'll move on to another one. Don't be surprised if you see it popping up again soon, though.
Polenta with greens and eggs (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health)
3 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup stone-ground corn grits (polenta)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan
1 Tbsp oil + 1 tsp, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
10 oz spinach
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk the grits into the water, reduce heat to low, and cook while whisking frequently until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pan (about 20 min). When it's done, add the butter and parmesan.
While the polenta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper, and saute for a minute. Then add spinach, cover, and cook until it wilts (about 3 min).
Just before serving, heat remaining 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and cook until the whites are firm.
Serve a few spoonfuls of polenta topped with tomato sauce (recipe below), if desired, and spinach and an egg. Serves 4.
Creamy tomato sauce (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp red wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup basil, chopped
3 oz. cream cheese
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until tender. Then add the carrots, bell pepper, salt, pepper, oregano, and wine. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, recover, and simmer for 10 min. Stir in the basil and cream cheese, puree in a blender or food processor, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Makes about 5 cups.