THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Saucy Polenta Fingers December 10, 2009

After feeling like I hit a culinary wall of non-creativity (why is it that we always go back to the same old same old after a while??), I went a huntin’ in the great abbyss that is my pantry.  My prey?  Turned out to be a big fat zippy filled with cornmeal.  Enter… inspiration!  I’ve made both the store bought and homemade kinds before, but I wanted to jazz this lil diddy up, so I made this into fingers.  Cooled ’em, cute ’em, grilled ’em, then smothered ’em in sauce.  Outcome?  A brilliantly cheap, quick, hearty and luscious winter-time meal.  Bonus was the totally gluten-free day I had!  Woot!

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INGREDIENTS:

For the polenta –

4 cups water

3 1/2 cups of milk

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)

For the sauce –

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 cups diced canned tomatoes

1 tsp EACH dried parsley and dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring water and milk to a boil in a medium pot, then turn down to a simmer – watching closely so you don’t burn the milk.

2. Add cornmeal  into pot in a slow stream, stirring, then add dried basil and salt, and continuing to whisk for about 2-3 minutes.

3. Continue to simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes more – polenta will be gloppy and stiff, but try to keep stirring so the bottom does not burn, then remove from heat.

4. Mix in Parmesan cheese and butter, then plop into a greased 9×11 baking dish and cool for at least 30 minutes until completely solid.

5. While polenta is solidifying, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat, and saute onions until translucent, then add in garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and slighly browned (about 1-2 minute).

6. Add canned tomatoes and dried spices (and salt and pepper to taste), simmer for 5-7 minutes, then add in diced green beans and cook until tender – about another 5 min (simmer sauce on low until ready to use).

7.  Slice soild polenta into fingers, remove fro baking dish, and grill in a grill pan until heated and slightly browned (you could also broil in the oven, turning so all sides are browned).

8. Place grilled polenta fingers on a plate, and cover with sauce – sprinkle with parmessean and serve HOT!

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Polenta with Broccoli and Tomato June 11, 2009

I usually stick to grilling or toasting the pre-made roll-o-polenta, but after a week of unexciting regular go-to’s, I decided to branch out and experiment.  Success!  Not only is basic polenta delicious and cheap, it’s super easy to make and goes with just about anything you’d pair pasta with.  It’s hearty and luscious, and a great way to showcase your favourite vegetables … plus it suits gluten-free diets perfectly! I had a head of broccoli that needed some love, and one brand new hunk of tasty parmesan that was just begging to be grated … and voila!

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the polenta

4 cups vegetable stock (although you can use water too)

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/4 cups cornmeal

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

 

For the vegetables

2 tbsp olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 large bunch broccoli, chopped into tiny florets (5-6 cups total)

1/3 cup water

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (you can use canned if you forgot to buy fresh)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then turn down to a simmer.

 

2. Add cornmeal to stock in a slow stream, whisking, and continuing to whisk after it is all added for about 5 minutes.

 

Note – Allow to polenta to cook gently while the vegetables are prepared.

 

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, and once oil is hot, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute).

 

4. Add broccoli, toss with oil, then add the water and cover to steam until tender.

 

5. Uncover broccoli once tender, then add tomatoes, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes more) – season to taste.

 

6. Season the polenta to taste, mix in parmesan cheese and butter, then pour onto plates and top with cooked vegetables (serve with a sprinkling parmesan cheese).


polenta