Our weather just sucks. I hope I’m not offending anyone, but it’s in the 60’s, sunny, and the magnolia tree in the backyard is covered in plump, fuzzy buds ready to burst into bloom. Tahoe isn’t much better. It’s in the 50’s right now, and it’s January! The mountains should be covered in 20 feet of snow. Instead, not all chairlifts are open, scrub brush pokes through the snow alongside many runs, and we’re relying on the man-made stuff, which takes a lot of water. And we’re in a drought. Argh!!!
We’ve got two trips to Tahoe planned this month, one with two of our grandsons (age 9 and 11) for some snowboarding, and I’m hoping for a new weather forecast so I can get some skiing in to at least break even on the season’s pass I bought last May.
Luckily we don’t need much snow to have a ski party. A ski party only requires a fire crackling in the fireplace, good friends and family relaxing on the sofas in front of said fireplace, and good eats and drinks. So we might not all have snow, but we at Progressive Eats invite you to our (virtual) progressive ski party for an evening of fun.
Progressive Eats is a group I’ve just joined, and first month on board it was already my turn to host the party, since I replaced someone who’s turn it was. But no worries – it was a great way to get to know a new group, although several of them were already blogger friends 🙂 As hostess, I got to choose the theme, decide the type of courses people would bring, and create the entrée. I chose a Ski Party hoping to send a message to the snow gods, and decided on a vegetarian lasagna that uses polenta for the layers instead of noodles – perfect after a long day in the snow. And at Progressive Eats, you’ll be happy to hear that instead of progressing from house to house for the party, all you need do is go from blog to blog. Much, much easier. Especially if it’s snowing where you are, you lucky dogs.
Cheesy Polenta 'Lasagna' with Swiss Chard
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ sweet yellow onion about 1 cup, diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 orange pepper diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced
- ¼ cup chevre I use Redwood Hill Farm's Roasted Chile Chevre
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large bunches Swiss chard
- 1 1/3 cups your favorite marinara sauce (I use Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Basil Marinara
- 3 ounces sliced Fontina cheese
- Line a 9" X 13" baking sheet or pan with foil.
- Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy pot and gradually stir in the mustard, salt, and cornmeal. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the polenta, stirring often, until it's thick and not crunchy to the bite, about 20 minutes. There will be texture to the polenta, but it should be soft. Stir in the butter and spoon the polenta onto the baking sheet. Smooth it out using the back of a metal spoon and chill in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Whip the chèvre, ricotta and Parmesan together in a small bowl using a fork.
- Bring a large pan filled with water 1" deep to a simmer. Remove the center veins of the Swiss chard and reserve for another use. Coarsely chop the leaves and place in the simmering water for 5 minutes or until wilted. When cool enough to handle, squeeze all of the moisture out.
- Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and slice in half. Smear a little tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking pan and lay one of the polenta halves on top.
- Spread half of the cheese mixture over the polenta and cover with half of the Swiss chard and half of the pepper mixture. Pour half of the tomato sauce over the top.
- Repeat, and top with the slices of Fontina.
- Cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.
Now see what’s being served for the rest of the party!
Progressive Eats Ski Party Weekend
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. This month’s theme is Weekend Ski Party and is hosted by Susan Pridmore who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. Don’t consider yourself snowed in…consider it a party!
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.