spinach and cornmeal


i trade notions on occasion with a foodie from upstate new york. she suggested a soup, soothing and timely, made of spinach and cornmeal, done up in chicken broth. her tomatoe-y 'red' version sounded delicious, one could virtually taste the creamy, thick stuff looking at her image.
her blog inspires, so go look it up: (whatjuliaate.blogspot.com/2010/10/roasted-tomato-and-polenta-soup.html)
i'll try the spinach version tonight, after my nap. my beautiful dayplanner is off working spokane, so i'm keeping odd hours and it'll be midnight on this coast before i get around to do soup. and so it goes.
often i can't bare the idea of following a recipe. feels like trailing a car too close, tailgating. i do things the sinatra way, so i play with ingredients, approximating results, tasting much along the way. reading recipes in the afternoon, getting the hang or the way of a dish, simmering thoughts of how this or that might turn out, if. i have it easy, stephanie aside, i don't really cook for company, excepting the some time occasion of guests, when i do what i know will turn out perfection.
two tiny cipollini, chopped fine and slowly glazing in butter. then an instant of high fire and in goes the corn. the scent of the quick roast is heaven, dousing the yellow with broth, loving the sound of sshhhhh as it staves off the torch. broth by the ladle, stirring till the maize cooks translucent. after that i sit and begin my story of a spinach and corn soup.
i worked for the times in claiborne's kitchen out on the island. i was lucky to see how he and pierre hammered out an idea as a team. pierre on the stove, arguing in his french on variant amounts, an isle across sat craig, tippy-tiping on his red selectric, bickering, mostly in jest. the two were delightful to watch. to observe how a certain recipe came about forever changed my course.
no claiborne me, and no pierre neither, my mac book sits stove side, one eye on the gentle bloop-bloop of the mess. scraping down the crust once in a while. corn needs time. a slow poke, i think of two hours before it has jelled into that creamy, deliciously smooth constant, the beginning of slow, very very slow cooked polenta. i advise against tasting the soupy hot from the stove. just let it be. it'll get done in a while, 's no rush on this.
while i mull over my notions i think of porcini. those in the fridge from some yesterdays. they would be delicious in the soup, so, as it is, it turned out a wily concoction of corn, spinach and porcini. a midnight's potion, ambrosial. not bad for a slant on my friend's red version.



thank you, julia, for the inspiration, your blog is a treasure, i'll keep watching your happy splendor.