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Musical pairing – Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Do you ever look at your life and ask, ‘How did I get so lucky???’ No really, I have moments where I look at my life and suddenly it hits me just how fortunate I am . . . and I really do wonder, ‘Why me? How did I get so lucky?’ And this isn’t to say that I don’t have or haven’t had drama in my life . . . believe me, I’ve had plenty of drama . . . and still have times when it circles like a vulture threatening to take me down a rabbit hole . . . but I’d have to say that for 99.99 percent of the time, I live what I call a Cinderella life . . .
I have been married to my best friend for almost 14 years, my sons survived my lack of single-parenting skills and came out on the other end as good citizens, I am blessed with great family and friends who not only love and support me but will also tell me the truth even when it is hard to do so. I have the privilege of having this creative space to share our photography and video work, and The Professor and I have been invited to participate in some amazing trips that have been both eye-opening and life-changing . . . just wow . . .
I remember at one point during the Oregon trip last fall, I was standing along an outside wall in one in the most beautiful wineries I’d ever seen; I was taking it all in – the food, the wine, the incredible people I had met . . . I remember shaking my head and saying quietly to myself, ‘I cannot believe I am here experiencing all this . . . how did I get invited to be with this group of people?’ Apparently I said it loud enough that the person next to me said, ‘What do you mean, why you? You deserve to be here as much as everyone else does. Just enjoy the moment!’
And suddenly, there was an entire shift in my head . . . a shift that I literally felt in my body . . . that one single moment changed my perspective about myself forever . . . so thank you for that Cheryl . . . it was one of those life-lessons that came in a nano-second but I learned something very important that night . . . that the ‘why’ isn’t really as important as simply enjoying the experience . . .
And to be open to whatever comes our way, bad or good . . . to be good stewards of our time and creativity and to share what we’ve learned and what we know. With that in mind, we have a couple of big projects we’re excited about and hope to share those with you soon!
In the meantime, I hope you put these super delicious polenta sticks on your list of things to make. They come together quickly and can be served as a side dish with a plate of Mozza meatballs (which is a wow all by itself), or serve them with a grilled steak or chicken dish . . .
So tell me, what has wowed you lately?
NOTE: These would be so much fun to serve at a party which is why we styled them in small individual Weck jars with a bit of marinara in the bottom; shot glasses would work if you wanted to put a single polenta stick in each!
CRISPY OLIVE POLENTA STICKS WITH MARINARA
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine
Serves 4-6 as a Side
- 3 cups chicken stock (I made ours vegetarian by using ‘Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base‘)
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 cup polenta, plus extra for dusting (I used a medium grind for texture but feel free to use what you like)
- kosher salt
- ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup rosemary leaves
- olive oil for drizzling
- Marinara of your choice, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place the stock, butter and bay leaf in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and slowly add polenta, stirring as you pour
- Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until polenta is incorporated into stock and is without lumps
- Reduce heat to low and place a lid ajar on pan; you want the pan covered to keep the polenta from splattering but you also want the steam to escape. Cook for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally to keep polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped olives
- Spoon mixture into well greased 9×5 loaf pan** and allow to cool completely
- Once cooled, turn polenta out onto a cutting board dusted lightly with extra polenta and cut into sticks
- Place polenta stick and rosemary onto a lightly greased (extra-virgin olive oil) baking tray, drizzle with just a teensy bit of olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy, turning halfway through the baking process
- Sprinkle with salt and serve with marinara
**NOTE: I used a loaf pan but you can also use a small 7×5 rectangular tart pan if you have one