I sighed and closed my laptop. “I just ordered $400 worth of shoes.”
“I need a new pair of shoes for the wedding we’re going to. I can’t wear any of the ones I own.”
“You know why. Stinkee got to them.”
Roo laughed, “They’re not that bad. No one will notice.”
“There are chunks missing! I can’t go to the wedding, looking like I anxiously gnawed on my shoes the whole car ride down.”
“It does make a great story.”
I didn’t laugh. “Listen, I’m planning on returning all but one pair.”
Three days later
“So…I’m not returning any of the shoes.”
“Lys, you can’t keep them. You said it yourself, it’s $400 worth of shoes.”
I looked up from the floor, hugging the ripped open box, “I like them all. I didn’t think I would, but I do.”
“I’m going to say it again, it’s $400 worth of shoes.”
I started pulling out pairs of strappy heels, creamy colored pumps, then a set of ruby peep toes for good measure. “Look at them! Who knew I had such good taste!”
“Lys, you wear leggings and a t-shirt to work everyday. How are you going to wear those on the train? Never mind the bus.”
“I could do it.”
“How are you going to afford your share of groceries?”
I looked away, “We could totally still eat well.”
“What, what will we eat besides ramen noodles and canned fruit cocktail the whole month?”
“Polenta.” I replied, still feeling Roo’s eyes still on me. ”Polenta with roasted veg. Super affordable and delicious.”
“Yes, I love polenta, but the shoes. We’re trying to save up for a house, remember?”
“But what good is a house when there are no cute shoes to wear walking around it?”
“This from the girl who makes everyone take off their shoes upon entering.”
“Polenta, Roo. And cute shoes. It’s a win win,” I replied, and began carefully putting my
children new shoes back into their own boxes.
I didn’t keep the shoes. But we have had this a few times this week.
Polenta and roasted veg is a quick, lovely meal. The coarsely ground cornmeal is thrown into a pot of simmering vegetable stock while the asparagus is given a good toss in olive oil before roasting. The two make an easy supper for a weeknight or a lazy lunch on the weekend. Lemon zest brightens up the succulent, crispy oven roasted asparagus, complimenting the woodsy rosemary stirred into the creamy polenta. The oven roasted tomatoes are optional, however it gives your forkful a bit of tangy sweetness after scooping the whole lot together. And what meal isn’t great when you get to enjoy it, taking an extra large bite at a time?
Serves 2 – 3
A baking sheet/cookie sheet
A medium sized pot with lid
A spatula or wooden spoon
4 oven roasted plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise
For the Asparagus
1 bunch (about a pound) of aspragus (thick spears are best for roasting)
1 tablespoon of mild tasting olive oil
A big pinch of coarse sea salt
Zest from 1 lemon
For the polenta
Two and a quarter cups of low sodium vegetable stock
Three quarters of a cup of polenta
Half teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of butter (like Earth Balance), optional
Place your oven rack to the middle position. Preheat your oven to 400F.
Break off the ends of your asparagus with your hands. Place the spears on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the spears and roll them back and forth on the sheet till they’re well covered. Sprinkle the asparagus with a big pinch of coarse sea salt and roast for about 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how thick your spears are. The asparagus should be tender, lightly browned and crispy.
While your asparagus is roasting, make the polenta.
Add the stock to your medium sized pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the rosemary and polenta. Stir the polenta with a spatula, until thickened to your liking. Taste. If you’d like it to be a bit more creamy, add the tablespoon of butter. Place a lid on your pot and set aside until your asparagus is done.
When the asparagus is ready, remove it from the oven and zest 1 lemon over the spears. Serve with polenta (and roasted tomatoes, if using) immediately.