Monday, November 23, 2009

Asiago Polenta with Swiss Chard

Yesterday was the first day of hunting season. We could tell by the gunshots reverberating off the ridge. It's surprising to hear the first booming sounds. It's much louder than you would think and vaguely unsettling. I'm a gatherer, not a hunter. I remember first being aware of hunting driving home from college and seeing all the deer carcasses strapped to car fenders, slack jawed and bloody. Or even closer to the bone, coming home to my apartment in High Falls to see a split open deer hanging from the tree in the parking lot, while a fire burned in an oil drum to warm the neighbors huddled from the cold. That lurid spectacle didn't stop me from asking for some meat, but I don't remember if it was ever given. A few years ago a friend gave me an tenderloin and it was so incredibly good. Even still, that and the game cooking book I've had hanging around my bedside table, I'm not going hunting anytime soon.

Fittingly, we had a vegetarian meal last night that took all of ten minutes to make. The chard, purchased at the market from a witty young man, was just sauteed in olive oil with garlic and finished with a generous squirt of lemon juice. The polenta was instant organic and I now know what I'll be eating all winter. It really took just a minute to make, and I added some cream and two handfuls of some nice asiago chunked in cubes and let it sit for a few so the cheese got soft. There was tang and bite from the cheese and the chard, that little bit of oxalic acid drying your tongue, while the pillowy polenta softened it all a bit.

You have respite for now, my deer.