Guest Feature – Language


Silence is one part of speech, the war cry
of wind down a mountain pass another.
a stranger’s voice echoing through lonely
valley’s, a lover’s voice rising so close
it’s your own tongue: these are the keys to cipher,
the way the hawk’s key unlocks the throat
of the sky and the coyote’s yip knocks
it shut, the way the aspens’ bells conform
to the breeze while the rapid’s drum defines
resistance. Sage speaks with one voice, pinyon
with another. Rock, wind her hand, water
her brush, spells and then scatters her demands.
some notes tear and pebble our paths. Some notes
gather: the bank we map our lives around.


– Camille T. Dungy

Tomato and Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Caroline Murphey

Today’s special recipe is a feature from Kathy Gizzi, of Rotonda West, Florida. It looks so tasty I cannot wait to try it myself. This time, we’re all going to do it together, yall with me? Tonight’s dinner is: Tomato and Beef Casserole with Polenta Crust. We’ll need:

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper < or zucchini. I don’t care too much for it so I substituted with bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Spread cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is well done; drain and transfer to a bowl.

3. Sauté onion and bell peppers in hot oil in skillet over medium heat until crisp-tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture over cornmeal crust. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle casserole with parsley just before serving.


Do you have a tasty recipe you would like me to try? Send it in! I love recipes and will try it seriously, no joke. :). Just be sure to send a picture along with it so I can feature it on Recipe Sunday.