Last night, I informed Mr. Onepot that we were about to order Chinese.  Then, out of some poorly defined but quite persistent guilt, I found myself preparing the following:

Polenta+spinach+black bean strata

  • 3 cups water + 1 cup milk
  • 1.25 cup polenta
  • .5 large onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • .5 lb spinach (fresh, in this case, but surely frozen would also do)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • salt, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 380F.
  2. Bring the water and milk to a boil.  (Remember that milk will trick you into thinking it’s nowhere near boiling, and then, in less than a second, puff up to an obscene height and spill all over your stove top.  So, sorry to say, you will have to babysit this just a bit.)
  3. Once it boils, stir in the polenta and salt.  Turn the heat down to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally.  (This you don’t have to babysit!  I’ve never understood why people complain about the intense attention polenta requires.  In the Old Country, we treat it roughly and it turns out just fine.)
  4. While the milk+water are heating up, start sauteing the onion.  Once it’s soft and happy, add the beans along with a touch of their liquid.  Season ever so generously with paprika and cayenne pepper.
  5. After the beans and onions have had, say, 5 minutes to get to know each other, turn the heat off, toss the spinach on top of them, and cover.  The residual heat will cause the spinach to wilt just a touch, making it more manageable.
  6. In an altogether unrelated bowl (oh, this is so not a one-pot dish), beat the egg and combine with the yogurt.
  7. Layer!  First the polenta, then the beany and spinachy mix, and finally the yogurty egg.
  8. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

(…In the end, I was so very glad we hadn’t ordered Chinese.)


I gave the herbs on our deck a buzz cut following that first wave of mid-October frost.  The party was over, I assumed, as I set an armful of oregano and thyme and sage to dry while muttering unladylike things about being cheated out of my favorite season.

Turns out, however, that the herbs interpreted that haircut , along with the current spell of intoxicatingly delicious weather, as an invitation to sprout dozens and dozens of new leaves:


Silly herbs!  This can only end in heartbreak.  But, I figured: as long as they are here, they should come in and hop into some breakfast:

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • oregano, thyme, sage (or, really, whichever herbs you have/like… but I recommend not skipping the sage, since it adds a touch of je ne sais quoi to the eggs)
  1. Saute the onion with a dash of salt and pepper, until it’s all soft and jolly.
  2. While that’s going on, whisk 2 eggs.  (I don’t know why I just said “whisk,” since my whisk hasn’t seen the light of day in ages.  A fork will do just fine.)  Add the yogurt and herbs and stir to combine.
  3. Pour the egg+yogurt mixture onto the onions.  Cook on low for ~4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The outcome will make you quite happy, especially if followed by some apple crisp…  But more about that later, as Mr. Onepot and I are off to catch the remaining hours of sunshine along Lake Shore Drive.


1) Cook the oatmeal.

2) Stir in a loosely scrambled egg.  (No worries; the heat of the oatmeal will cook it.)

3) Season with salt and pepper.

3) Swoon.



  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 green pepper (or bits and pieces of several, of different colors)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tortillas
  • salsa
  • your favorite seasonings


  • 1 tomato
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • cheese
  1. Saute the onion and pepper for 5-7 minutes; add the partially drained black beans.  (Yes, partially drained!  Don’t be afraid of that mysterious liquid; I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.)  Season with something interesting, like paprika or cumin.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Hollow out 2 holes in the beans and drop an egg directly into each.  Cover; cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Serve beans+egg on a warm tortilla, with salsa, and decorate in any way that makes you happy.  Best enjoyed with October sunshine and a handsome husband.