Creamy Herb Polenta; Easter…

Creamy Herb Polenta

Oh, I could write a sonnet, about your Easter bonnet…..

When I was fourteen, and at the height of fashion, Easter meant shopping.

New clothes for Easter.

Head to toe.

A new spring coat: in a pretty pastel.

A new dress: something a bit fancy, and to go with the coat, naturally.

New shoes: taupe or black patent leather (Not white, of course, as one could not wear white shoes until after the end of May…sheesh!)

New purse: to match the shoes, which matched the coat, which matched the dress.

New hat: something contrasting, to accent the aforementioned outfit.  At 14 I was allowed something with a bit of a gauze veil; the very image of maturity.

And gloves. To match the hat.

Yes, gloves.  Cotton gloves.  Pastel cotton gloves.

At one point, in my early teens, I probably owned 5 pairs of cotton gloves: pale pink, mint green, ice blue, lavender, cream; wrist length, tea length, elbow length…..

Easter morning the family, dressed in the new Easter finery, went to Church: to Praise the Lord and admire and critique all the other families’ Easter finery.

It’s hard to believe that just 4 short years later my wardrobe alternated between mini-skirts so short they barely qualified as a belt and bell-bottoms (we called them ‘flares’) so long and so wide I could hide a small dog.

My spring coat was traded for an Army field jacket two sizes too large (de riguer wear at my college).

The black patent leather pumps were set aside for something we fondly called ‘shit-kickers’.

The pretty pastels were scrapped in favor of psychedelic tie-dyes in fire orange, blood red, deep purple and (of course) grass green.

And I was the very height of fashion!

Oh, I still had to go to church…

But my mother made me go by myself.

The only pastels were the Easter eggs.

Here in France all of our eggs are brown and I have never seen any ‘Easter Egg Dyes’.

No Pastel Eggs for us!

Our tradition is to buy a flat of quail eggs.  They’re speckled, cute and just a perfect bite-size snack.  The chocolate eggs truffles are rather nice, as well….

Speaking of eggs: I just saw guidelines on caring for Easter eggs.

The food police have decreed that “Easter eggs that have been used in baskets or hunts can still be safely eaten if they have not been outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.”

We boiled the eggs on Friday or Saturday.
They sat on the counter until Saturday night when they were dyed.
Then they were hidden around the house overnight; collected the next morning by the youngest kids and put into Easter baskets.
The Easter baskets sat on various tables as decoration, with the eggs, all of Sunday and Monday.  If there were still eggs left on Tuesday morning they were refrigerated…maybe….

Every year we did this.  Every year we were all fine.

When did everyone get to be so afraid of food?

The daughter of a friend of mine was amazed when she saw me picking herbs from my garden – and nibbling on them without washing them first.

I wash them if they’re dirty…

I’m just so happy to have fresh herbs to use again!

Not many: the chives and garlic chives are coming up; the oregano and marjoram are getting a few leaves; the tarragon is peaking through.

But I’ve never been patient and they taste so wonderful this time of year; like a breath of spring air.

I just picked a few.

I love garlic chives, aka Chinese chives.  Unlike regular chives, which have round, hollow leaves with an onion taste, garlic chives have wide, flat leaves with a garlic taste.
Like chives and other members of the onion family they are full of vitamins, (C, B1, B2) and contain sulphur-rich mustard oil that aids digestion.

They can add just the right, subtle note of garlic to egg dishes…and Polenta!

Creamy Herb Polenta

Check the package directions for quantity proportion – you may have to add more (or less) liquid to get a soft consistency. It can be adjusted at the end, before serving. This should be quite thin, more like grits than mashed potatoes.

1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup polenta
2 tbs milk
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded Cheddar
2 tsp garlic chives
1 tsp regular chives
1 tsp oregano

Heat stock in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When stock is simmering slowly pour in polenta, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until done. Add herbs, milk  and cheeses. Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Serve.  

Don’t forget I’m hosting Weekend Herb Blogging, started by Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen, this week.
Still time to get your entries in….  Send them to

Come on…you can do it!

Happy Easter!

28 thoughts on “Creamy Herb Polenta; Easter…”

  1. Actually I always did love the gloves, tho was never a fan of the hat. Today, I love your reminder of polenta and your recipe sounds great.

  2. Yes,HERBS! Couple more days I’ll be able to pick maybe four leaves of basil! It’s like I’ve been starved all winter.
    Oh my the hat, the dress, the shoes (not white), and the gloves! We really did that didn’t we.
    Beautiful polenta!!

  3. I can definitely tell we’re close to the same generation, both by your description of the Easter clothes,and by your college wardrobe. Isn’t it funny to think about it now?
    Lucky you to have even a few herbs! I haven’t even thought about my garden yet this year. Sounds delicious!

  4. Happy Easter to you too Katie!
    I am in no Easter spirit here — it’s snowing and we’re planning tartiflette for Easter lunch! At least it will be original and memorable…

  5. Happy Easter, Katie! Love your herbed polenta dish. Herbs are the only culinary part of my garden – they are so forgiving!

  6. Very interesting post… I remember at my home hard boiled eggs on the table for even few days… and no one never got sick. The same with Easter eggs, we were boiling them, painting, then after day or two eat them… But we were making very colourful Easter eggs… with paint or brown with onion shells… Tomorrow we have only chocolate egg hunt and then Easter breakfast with eggs and cress, then cupcakes with Easter decorations for dessert. Happy Easter Katie!

  7. Pshh- I hardly ever wash anything! I do understand that you can get sick from stuff, but…I guess I’m just impatient! lol. Or lazy.
    Mmm, the polenta looks DIVINE! What a perfect Easter dish! Yum!

  8. I think you and Kalyn and I must be about the same age. My god, what a trip down memory lane you just took me on!
    I won’t be able to participate in WHB this weekend. Haven’t been blogging. Been working. Dammit! I should be enjoying semi-retirement right about now, but Nooooooo.
    Okay, got that off my chest. I await your roundup with pleasure. Have fun!

  9. Katie, my herbs are coming up at about the same speed as yours, though I haven’t seen any tarragon yet. My garlic chives have gone crazy, they have spread all over the herb bed! Happy Easter!

  10. I’m often shocked by how “scary” food has become to people… our Easter eggs kept much the same schedule as yours… and my butter sits out on my kitchen counter. 😉
    Happy Easter!

  11. VegeYum, The gloves were fun… I remember the pair of ‘above the elbow’ ones I wore for prom….
    Lydia, they are trying very hard to grow – but it was in the high 30’s last night….
    Tanna, the basil isn’t even in the ground yet. Yes, we did that. I have pictures.
    Kalyn, yeah, that college wardrobe…. I can now understand why my mother was so disgusted…
    Snow? Please, keep it in the south, Betty. We have cold and windy but at least some sunshine. And the ham truck came today… I’m thinking something ‘avec jambon’
    Toni, my herbs are usually forgiving… though I’ve learned they don’t like damp summers (like last year)
    Margot, eggs and cress? Sounds yummy. I saw the first cress at the markets – but it was still too expensive to buy. Another week.
    Ley, if it has actual dirt on it I wash it…you know the kind, aka soil; sand…
    Otherwise, I rarely bother. I’m from the ‘shine the apple on your shirt’ generation; not wash in ‘special vegetable detergents’
    Christine, semi-retirement? I did that a few years back…and must say I enjoyed it. Rather like to do it again, actually…. Does anyone even do full-retirement?
    Pam, my tarragon is always ‘iffy’ one will poke through, and not the rest. I replant all but 1 or 2 each year… But the garlic chives are tough little guys.
    Michelle, where else would one keep the butter? Certainly not in the fridge…it would be cold!

  12. Oooo…I never thought of doing polenta this way. It looks divine!
    Happy Easter. I am sorry I couldn’t get a post done in time for WHB!

  13. when i was little, we celebrated easter twice — regular easter, with church and brunch at our country club, and greek easter a week or two later, a huge family meal with my mom’s extended family (my sister and i weren’t raised greek orthodox, so no church on greek easter for us). lately we’ve only been celebrating regular easter, but i miss some of our old traditional greek dishes!

  14. Buona Pasqua, Katie! This looks perfect. (And, I am so sorry I didn’t get it together to participate to your hosting of WHB!)

  15. Ha, ha, my garden is blooming too! Only had flowers and trees, but this January my dad asked me if he could plant some garlics… they are 25 or 30 cms high!!!! I’ll get a good bunch!

  16. Oh Katie, you brought back soooo many old memories from this post, but good ones. Easter, back then, was such an occasion. We lived at church (catholic) from Wed thru Sun. But on Sunday, we were decked out from head to toe, gloves and all. I remember one hat had all of this plastic fruit on it…now I must chuckle! Thank you for the memories!
    Your polenta looks marvelous and I cannot say enough about herbs, oh so yum!
    Sorry I missed your herb blogging weekend. Fund raisers and jury duty…it was a time thing:( Hope you had a Happy Easter!

  17. I swear I grew up in a mirror image family to yours – same outfit, same gloves, same eggs. Although we did have one element you didn’t mention, and that is the annual fight over the family Easter photo. And thanks to the photographic evidence I can remember every one! As for your polenta holy moly, does that look good.

  18. We lost great style when hats and gloves went out of fashion. Now we can only get away w/ them for weddings. I’m still nuts about the veiled pillbox I wore for mine.
    That polenta, impossibly comforting and rich!

  19. Kevin, it is – and so versatile!
    Jeni, I’m learning about polenta…lots of possibilities.
    Katy, 2 Easters? Wow, all that wonderful food…
    Thanks, Chris – and a Happy One to you!
    Sandi, weren’t they a hoot? Well, not at the time, of course…
    loulou, I love mine, and I trim it back all summer to keep it fresh..
    Nuria, I planted garlic one year…then pulled it all up and eat it green – it was wonderful!
    Deb, I have pictures of some of those hats….My but I was fine!
    Laurie, we did the photos, too…Holding the Easter baskets… Aren’t they a scream?
    Emiline, a woman of few words…
    Susan, you’ll have to move here… You can still get by with a hat on occasions!

  20. I grew up with the strict not wear white in winter rules, (still feel guilty when I do even when I call it winter-white) we were not allowed to wear jeans or sneakers on Sundays, always had fish on Fridays, funny because we’re not a religious family. No gloves and hats, but I’m 43 and European…
    Love the polenta, very yummy!

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