Polenta Under Italian Eggs

Coming home semi-early most of this week, Lennon and I have settled into a cozy routine of cooking dinner and then settling down to watch Chuck DVD's that our friend Elizabeth from church loaned us.  It feels nice to just be "existing" and not focused on working towards something: graduate school, moving out of state, some giant project - it almost feels like vacation.

I've had a blackboard over my "desk" (antique kitchen table) since we moved in, but didn't buy chalk until last Saturday.  I can finally keep menus and grocery lists at an easy glance - no more sighing and buying $2.50 Tony's pizzas or opening a box of HEB mac n' cheese (no offense to those amazing and frugal food products) when I am unmotivated to find a recipe and cook.

First up on the roster this week was a recipe from Cooking Light, which I love and always does a vegetarian feature.  I found Polenta + Italian Eggs (they list it as a breakfast food, bah) on their website.  They recommended buying a tube of polenta from the grocery store as the base, but anything that comes in a tube is de facto questionable.  It's too easy to make polenta from scratch to submit to the campy, mega-mart Americana that is tubed-food. 

Easy-Peezy Polenta

5 cups water
1.5 cups cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tbs butter

1) In a two quart saucepan, stir together water, cornmeal and salt until there are no lumps.
2) Bring to a boil over medium/high, stir continuously.

3) Reduce heat, simmer, stirring constantly until the polenta leaves a clean path when you scrape the bottom of the pan.  Not gonna lie, this can take an hour.  I camped out by the pot with my copy of Julie Powell's Cleaving (also have to admit, as a vegetarian, that book makes me squeamish).

4) When thick, add butter and stir till melted.
5) Spread into a pan and let cool.  Voila.  I mean, "bon appetite!"  Actually, don't eat it yet, it's better with sauce, kind of like chips. 

This pan is only half of what the recipe makes.  I split it into two pans and stuck one in the fridge to eat later.  For this pan, I had big plans:

Italian Eggs With Sauce! 
(recipe for 4, I made for 5, but served two eggs to the boys)

Pat of butter
2  cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
1  (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
4  large eggs

2 cloves minced garlic
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese

1) Heat stove up to broiling.
2) While stove heats, pour sauce into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium/high heat.
3) Stir in the spinach and garlic and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring all together.

Gratuitous shot of delicious cheese

4) Make four indentions in the top of the mixture using the back of a wooden spoon.

5) Break one egg into each indention, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until eggs are done to taste.
6) While eggs heat, spread a bit of butter on top of the polenta and broil  in the oven for three minutes.

7) When eggs are finished, scoop them out, along with sauce, and arrange on top of polenta on a dish. 

8) Sprinkle cheese on top, and serve! 

Both of my roommates highly approved.  The next task, aside from joining a CSA, is to tackle is learning to make my own pasta sauce - I haven't tried it since college when I stewed tomatoes all night long and made enough sauce to last a semester, (all night studying? pfft).  I'm all about the trial and error, as the salsa making adventure I will share in the near future will attest. 

Does anyone else cook by the "maybe a little of this, little of that" method, or do most people adhere to recipes?  Sometimes, I definitely wish I'd adhered to the recipe!  But what is life without a little experimentation...

And don't forget, if you haven't entered my giveaway for a song bird necklace, be sure to do so before Monday night!  You can enter here.