Cooking For Others Is My Medicine

While some might choose to meditate - others might choose to go for a run -some might even turn to shopping; but for me, I find cooking for others rather therapeutic and rewarding.

I am sure I get this from my parents. When we were younger (who am I kidding, dad still does this) my dad would find the way to show others you love them and truly care is to cook for them. Mom would find that she could share her feelings in baking. Every holiday or any chance family was visiting, mom would take the time to make one her "famous" goodies. Things I recall the most would be: Fruitcake, Kolache, Sugar Cookies, Apple Pie and Blueberry Pie.

And so I guess I took these lessons from my parents and twisted them into my own unique way of sharing the love via food.

"Cooking is love made Visible."

BUT since I am single and live solo these days, I don't often have the opportunity to cook for others. Especially since, when I do visit family, I don't want to compete with my parents' ability to share their love - which they take great pride in. Basically, what I am getting to is, it is a rare occasion when I do get to cook for others.

In a recent visit home, my sister had invited me over for a weekday dinner date. I immediately thought - great, who wants to work all day and then rush home to cook a dinner for guests? No one! I can certainly cook something during my workday, juggling conference calls and boiling water can't be too difficult, right?

I looked around to see what was currently not being eaten at my parents and begin thinking, what can I create from these ingredients?

Here is what the menu consisted of:
Mini Italian Sausage Meatloaves with a Brown Sugar and Pancetta Glaze
Scallion White Wine Polenta Croquettes
Roasted Mushroom and Onions
Italian seasoned Turnips
Fresh Tomatoes in a Balsamic Sauce

Meatloaf Recipe:
- 1 package of Italian Sausage
- 2 eggs
- A splash of milk
- 2 pieces of old bread
- Italian seasoning
- Splash of balsamic
- Tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
- Splash of Worcester sauce
Glaze Recipe:
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 pieces of pancetta

I added the eggs, milk, bread, Italian seasoning, balsamic, cheese, and Worcester's sauce to a bowl. Mixed well. Once mixed thoroughly, I added the Italian Sausage. I formed the mixture into three smaller meatloaves (this was done to reduce the cooking time). I placed two pieces of pancetta on each loaf and then slathered the brown sugar glaze on top. I cooked the meatloaves at 425 for 25 minutes covered and then 12 minutes uncovered, to caramelize the topping a bit more.

Scallion White Wine Polenta Croquettes
- 8 Cups of Water
- 2 Cups of Cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- A bunch of Scallions
- 3 Tablespoons Sourcream
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Breadcrumbs

Boil 6 cups of water. Add the salt, polenta, scallions, cheese and mix occasionally. Slowly add in more water, white wine sour cream as needed.

Once the polenta is soft, yet thick enough that it is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan - transfer to an oiled baking dish to cool.

Once cooled, cut into chunks and prep your egg wash. (Eggs, milk and bread crumbs). Heat up a frying pan with some oil. Dip the Croquettes into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes each.

Italian Seasoned Turnips
- 2-3 Cups Turnips
- 1/2 Olive Oil
- Italian Seasoning

I added all items to a Ziploc
bag and let soak for a couple of hours - or while I prepped all other recipes for the dinner. When the time came to cook, I tossed them into the oven at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

I would say the dinner turned out great! My sister and brother in law had been surprised with a great meal that they didn't need to prepare and my mom, who informed me earlier in the day that she "does not like polenta", truly enjoyed the dinner and would love for me to cook for her more often!


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