Picture it! Seattle, 2012.
Our intrepid bloggers have been dating for just four weeks. Everything is new. Everything is terrifying. Despite the anxiety, Mike doubles down on the terror and invites Sarra to his house for a home cooked meal. Now, you have to keep in mind that at this time, Mike was still an omnivore. So, what does an omnivore that is falling madly in love with a vegan do about cooking dinner? Well, in this case, he selects the most easily veganizable dish he can think of!
The story is true. I made this dinner for Sarra the first time I ever cooked for her. It was a recipe I got from the Seattle Times food section called “Summer Sausage Saute”. It was just a few ingredients, and the only non-vegan one was sausage…and there’s plenty of vegan sausages available. Lucky for me, she really liked it! As a result, we’ve had it multiple times since then. It reminds us of the early days of our relationship, but it’s also evolved as we have grown together over the years. Let’s face it, we’re just a couple of saps, so this is right up our alley.
Food is just a huge part of our lives. We have an amazing life together, and it is beautiful to celebrate that love through the sharing of food. Our big, big love feeds on the sustenance of food in both a physical and spiritual sense. It’s been an enormous part of our relationship from the beginning. We both have had a long-standing love affair with food, and bringing that love together with our love for each other is magical.
This brings us to today’s prompt: A dish with five ingredients or fewer (not including cooking oil and salt and pepper).
It’s actually a super-easy dish. I’ll post the full recipe below, but it’s just a stir-fry of everything but the polenta, served over the polenta. Five things! And yet, it’s magically delicious.
Five years ago, when I made this for Sarra the first time, we ate this with a rather complicated peach and walnut salad on the side, which is not in keeping with the spirit of today’s prompt. The saute could be a very satisfying as a meal in itself – there’s a protein, a starch, and vegetables all in there. However, we try to pack our meals with as many vegetables as possible these days, so I also added a side of roasted broccolini tonight, which gives me the chance to tell you about another love of ours, Penzey’s Krakow Nights spice blend.
Consisting of salt, black and white pepper, sugar, coriander, garlic, mustard, marjoram, mace, and savory, this blend really brings a lot to the table. For what it’s worth, I am Polish all the way down. That is, as far as I know, my entire ancestry consists of Poles. So this blend is like coming home, in a way. Sprinkled over roasted vegetables, it just screams eastern Europe. It’s salty, of course, but the sugar balances that out and the sharpness of the coriander takes it completely over the top. I added it to the broccolini, which I roasted in a cast iron skillet for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. What a treat!
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe:
COOK IT FOR YOUR LOVE SAUSAGE SAUTE (4 Servings, so they can have lunch with you the next day!)
1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 tube of prepared polenta
5 cups patty pan squash, quartered and then cut into slices (the original recipe called for a mix of summer squash and zucchini, you can really use anything here)
1.5 cups chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped elephant garlic (or onions, if that’s your inclination)
2 sausages, sliced into rounds (the first time I made it for Sarra, I used Field Roast Italian sausage, this time I did Tofurkey Spinach-Pesto sausage. They’re both incredible.)
Salt and pepper
- Slice the polenta into rounds and cook. You can cook them any way you like. The first time, I fried them in a bit of olive oil. Tonight, I tried to be a little more fat conscious, so I put our cast iron pizza pan in a 400 degree oven and let it heat up with 1 teaspoon of the oil drizzled on it. Once the pan was hot, I put the polenta rounds on it and baked it for 20 minutes, turning once.
- While the polenta is cooking, make the saute. Heat a skillet (it’s cast iron week – use it!) over medium heat, and add the remaining two teaspoons of oil along with the elephant garlic and bell pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes, and add the sausage. Saute for about 2 more minutes, and add the squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the squash is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Place three polenta rounds on a plate and top with one-quarter of the saute mixture – you’re done!
We love sharing food and we love each other more than words can describe. I hope that you can now go out and make this dish for your love, and share in part of our joy!