polenta appetizers

“nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time” –georgia o'keefe
two rose beds edge the street in front of one of the houses on my running route. a women lives there alone. her name is evelyn. when i pass by, if she's out there in her gardening gloves, i stop for a little chat with evelyn about how to tend to roses. it always results in me learning something about gardening . . . and life.
i try to study evelyn when we're talking because she is happy with where she has come to be. her hair is white. she accepts that her husband of 60 some years is gone now, "i miss him, but what more could we ask for after 62 years together." one of her top front teeth sticks out a little making her smile slightly crooked . . . evelyn smiles a lot. she wears just a little lipstick. her beauty has been softened by time– it's velvety now, like the petals of her roses.
           when i run by the blooming rose beds, empty of evelyn, i pause anyway, bend down, and consume their perfume. evelyn and her blossoms remind me to take time.
to consider a flower.
a leaf.
a friend.
when i do i am usually stunned.
made happy . . . well worth the few minutes it takes.
these pick-up polenta appetizers look like little food-flowers. my guests smile with the anticipation of eating the pretty, palatable bites. and while they do take time to make, the cheer they spread through a party gives me the same happy feeling as when i spend a small part of my day with evelyn in her rose garden.
• 1 box of polenta, cooked according to the directions on the box
• 1 small head of cauliflower, the florets sliced 1/8" thick
• 1 thin zucchini, thinly sliced
• 1/2 bell pepper thinly sliced
• 1/2 a yellow apple cut into wedges, and then sliced
• walnut halves
• black olives, sliced
• grated parmesan cheese
• aged goat cheese, cut into 3/4" triangles
• handful of micro greens
• olive oil to drizzle
• honey to drizzle
• cracked pepper
1. once the polenta is cooked, spread it on a large cookie sheet to 1/4" thickness. let it cool to room temperature.
2. . heat a large skillet or griddle with a little olive oil until it shimmers. gently brown the polenta on both sides and remove to a plate to cool.
3. in the same skillet, gently cook the cauliflower, zucchini, and pepper slices just until they start to brown and soften.
–you can refrigerate all of the ingredients at this point to assemble later.
4. cut the polenta into 1 and 1/4" squares, and divide the squares into four equal numbers (save leftover polenta to serve with fish, chicken, or meat)
5. put the cooked ingredients into a bake ware dish and warm them in the oven.
6. cut the apple slices while the polenta, cauliflower, zuchini, and pepper slices are warming.
to assemble
the polenta squares are the base for:
• zuchinni, goat cheese, cracked pepper and a few drops of olive oil.
• parmesan, apple, walnut and a drizzle of honey.
• goat cheese, bell pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
• parmesan, cauliflower, black olive and a drizzle of olive oil.
–top some of the appetizers with micro greens and serve.