But first things first. This is our lovely beagle Made' - she is nearly 10 and I've been off the air, as far as this blog and most other things are concerned, for the last couple of weeks because she's not been well. After x-rays, ultrasounds, specialist exams, etc., she had surgery (we took her down to Toronto on Monday) yesterday - removal of the soon-to-perforate gallbladder. She came through it like the trouper she is, but she's not out of the woods yet. We're also waiting on some four biopsies. We should, however, if she recuperates at the expected rate, be able to travel down to collect her in a couple of days - well, sometime over the weekend anyway. (Photo shows her poor little shaved tum - her pre-summer bikini wax, if you prefer.)
But of course we have been eating at the same time as worrying and fretting and staying awake at nights, although it has been mainly quick and easy food, comfort food, nothing much worthy of reporting here. Still, if you're interested in what two devoted animal guardians do between stressing about the fate of one of their lovely companions, here it is:
This should have been a fairly easy thing to give you, since I wrote it down at the time and copied it onto my computer, but I have just succeeded in erasing the whole recipe. Would ya believe!!!!!! Nevertheless, here it is as I remember it now (sigh!).
JAZZY GREEN BEANS & TOMATOES OVER POLENTA
You'll need the following:
1 cup polenta prepared according to package directions, poured into a pie plate and kept warm. (I always say 'according to directions' because that makes it not my fault if this stuff doesn't turn out right. Frankly, I find a proportion of 3 to one for water and polenta works fine. I use water (not 'milk' or stock), I add no oil or salt, but I do like to stir in some finely minced/mushed garlic when it starts to thicken. You must please yourself how you like it.)
4 or 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and then chopped finely (reserve the soaking liquid)
4 or 5 sundried tomatoes, soaked and then chopped (reserve the soaking liquid)
Half a pound of green beans, cut into quarter-inch rounds, blanched for two or three minutes and set aside
a couple of slices of a large onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 large mushrooms, sliced
1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
dash of cayenne pepper
4 canned tomatoes (pureed to make a sauce)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste
In a skillet, 'saute' the onion, garlic and fresh mushrooms in a little water until the onions are translucent.
Add the fresh tomatoes, basil, cayenne pepper, the sundried tomatoes and the soaked mushrooms and as much of the soaking liquid for the above as you need to continue to cook the stew, another ten minutes maybe.
Cook until all is nicely blended and then add the green beans, pureed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a few more minutes until it all tastes just wonderful. Taste again to be sure (any left?).
Serve over triangles of polenta with a nice crisp salad.
Jack of All Trades
12 hours ago