I have two jobs and work no less than 60 hours a week. If I am lucky, I get one day off a week. Unfortunately, I made the grave mistake of taking a job for which I operate as an independent contractor. This means I have to pay my taxes quarterly and for the month that those taxes come out of my accounts, I am left picking coins off the street in hopes that I’ll make rent (ok, not literally, but I did have to ask my mom for a loan of $20 so I could do laundry this month). The first luxury to go when this happens? Grocery shopping (when you live on a tight budget, this IS a luxury, btw).
Don’t think I’m whining, by the way. I love my jobs and I live in a really nice apartment in a really nice neighborhood …granted, that’s because I used to be rich and then I got screwed by my landlord, but I digress. I just want to explain the background of today’s lunch: a meal born of necessity and inspired by the weather. The weather, by the way, is fucking freezing. It makes me endlessly glad that I don’t, in fact, live in Downton Abbey/Tara/wherever that American Girl Doll Kirsten lived/Dolley Madison’s White House/etc where this shit would be normal all winter (‘sup, Mini Ice Age?). Normally, my 230 sq ft apartment is roughly the same temperature as the face of the sun, but this year, the apartment that pumps hot air into mine is, unfortunately, vacant and unrentable (remember that part where I said I got screwed by my landlord? Yeah, I’m not the only one), so, this winter, it’s not quite South Pole cold, but let’s go with arctic tundra cold nonetheless. As far as temperatures go, I’m starting to relate a little too much to Jewel’s family on that Discovery Channel show (except, I have indoor plumbing and don’t eat bear).
I should also mention that I’m on a wedding diet. My sister is getting married in October and I have to wear a sleeveless dress in front of people because I’m the Maid Of Honor. Choosing pasta (sup, Trader Joe’s $0.99 mac’n’cheese!) every night is out the window. Not that this is necessarily the healthiest – but also not the least healthy option!
And that is the story of how I found myself bundled in a scarf and gloves in addition to my red flannel onesie, on a stepladder, digging through the back of my freezer and the top of high shelves in my tiny kitchen. The results of my search: polenta, tomato paste, frozen sausage that was about to croak. Dinner, ladies and gentlemen, is served.
Andouille And Polenta With Tomato Sauce
- tomato paste
- polenta (Duh)
- Scrape your pathetic can of tomato paste into a pot and add two cans of water to thin it out
- Season the sauce according to your tastes/what you have on hand. I opted for garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, sugar, and a splash of creamy milk
- Let sauce simmer so flavors can marry while you prepare the polenta according to the package, since some types of polenta vary (roughly: 3 cups of boiling water + a tsp of salt, then stir in a cup of polenta & let it do it’s thing for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is gone and then cover and let stand. Something like that). I added a touch of butter for creaminess.
- Prepare the sausage according to package instructions (mine allowed me to nuke it for 2 minutes, because I buy the good shit), then cut into medallions or chunks
Granted, now, I have tomato sauce on my jeans but, fuck it, I also had a delicious lunch. And will have delicious lunch for the next three days. Obviously, you can fancy it up with veg and different kinds of meat, fresh parmesan, real tomato sauce, maybe an egg, but I don’t have any of that right now, so you can suck it. <3
If I had those things, though, I probably would have prepared it a little differently. Instead of cooking dry polenta, I would have opted for the tube of polenta, sliced thinly and cooked in olive oil until crispy on the edges. As soon as they come out of the pan, hit them with salt, pepper, a liberal grating of fresh parmesan, and torn, fresh basil. I also probably would have cooked the sausage in the tomato sauce if it was real sauce and not something you were completely winging and desperately hoping that it wouldn’t murder you when you tried to eat it. I definitely would have fried or poached some eggs to put on top.
I also would probably drink it with a nice red wine, but I’m at work so let’s go with: Diet Coke and the sugar-free instant chocolate pudding that I found in my fridge this morning.