Blue Cheese Polenta – To celebrate the Top Chef finale

12 Jun

Yesterday was the finale of Top Chef Chicago, from my sunny Island of Puerto Rico. 

I was rooting for either Stephanie or Richard to win.  To me, these were my favorites from the get go. 


They have both been extremely creative and innovative in their cooking, but what captured me from both was they were always nice, civil, collaborative and very complimentary to all their partners.  Here’s a few examples:

  • I loved the episode where the chefs had to work based on words from the Second City Improv troop and no one wanted to work with Richard because he had just won immunity and how cool he and Dale worked together making the winning dish for that episode. They collaborated well and they complimented each other’s work and ideas…
  • I loved how during Wedding Wars and Restaurant Wars both Stephanie and Richard were teamed together and they collaborated with other team members to ensure no one from their team was going home that week. Nobody was trying to take credit for anyone else’s ideas, no one wanted to steal the show… they just wanted to win for the team’s members’ sake.
  • I believe that in the Wedding Wars episode specifically, Richard won the elimination challenge and without hesitation he said he wanted to give the win to Stephanie. Stephanie then suggested they split the prize of a $2,000 Crate and Barrel gift certificate.
  • I loved during the first part of the finale, when Stephanie assigned sous chefs to everyone that she chose based on which sous chef who would get along with each chef, because she wanted the kitchen to be harmonious.
  • How Richard in last night’s episode asked Stephanie to draw knifes first… another gesture of his gentlemanliness.

They are plain ol’ nice people… and I believe that your intention and feelings are transferred into what you’re cooking and therefore experienced by those who eat your food.  I am very happy that in the final in Puerto Rico, the first female Top Chef was crowned – Stephanie…    

And to Richard… I am confident that in great Top Chef and American Idol fashion, he’ll get as much exposure and experience as much success as Stephanie.   Look at Sam and Marcel from Season 2 and at Casey from Season 3.  I will stay tuned to see what he’ll do next.  I may have to travel to Atlanta soon to try his cooking… maybe some not-so-perplexed tofu in green curry that please… does not taste like beef.  If you saw the show you know what I am referring to.

Well…  after all that, I wanted  to watch the show while eating some food worthy of the Top Chef finale show…  I debated if I was going to do something Puerto Rican or something more gourmet… I think I landed somewhere in between the two.  I made Blue Cheese Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and a Tomato Salad.  I am telling you, this Blue Cheese polenta is a knock-out and super simple and quick to make. 

My initial inspiration was drawn from a recent post from my dear friend Kathleen at Kathleen’s Vegetarian Kitchen.   I saw it and then yesterday, I improvised from what I remembered. 




1 ¼ cup of half-and-half
3 tbs quick cooking polenta – I used Colavita brand that cooks in 5 minutes
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Pepper
2 oz of Danish blue cheese – of the blue cheese of your choice
A few Marcona almonds to garnish – or any other toasted almond will also work
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the half-and-half to almost a boil.  Season it with salt and pepper while you’re waiting for the temperature to rise.  Be careful not to over-salt, because you’ll later on add Parmesan and Blue cheese which are both salty.
  2. Whisk in the polenta and continue to whisk until the polenta starts to thicken.   When it starts to thicken, add the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Remove from heat and add the blue cheese.  Stir to combine so the cheese melts in the polenta.
  4. Serve and add the almonds as garnish.


I am telling you… this polenta ROCKS!!!!!   It’s super creamy and super tasty.  I had polenta before and I was not a great fan.  Now I am willing to make this for company.  I see a dinner party in my future…


4 Responses to “Blue Cheese Polenta – To celebrate the Top Chef finale”

  1. fallenangel65 June 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    I was actually rooting for Stephanie but I agree with you 100% that both she and Richard handled themselves in honorable fashion.

  2. FlaNboyantEats June 21, 2008 at 9:19 pm #

    pero quien gano!!?!?! i watched the 2nd to last show when they were in PR (by the way, I wasn’t too impressed with the dishes. were you? maybe cuz this is stuff we eat all the time?); and then i totally forgot to watch the finale! I was rooting for Richard since he’s from the ATL!!!!

    on to ur food. Love the polenta. I’ve bookmarked it. It’ll be really good with a ginger, mango y cilantro salmon I just made! Glad you found me.. cuz now i found u!


    KFC: Stephanie won… I am soooooo impressed about you cooking with Emeril… go Latinas!!!

  3. joejhorn June 30, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    Love the polenta and your blog. I just made some polenta with gorgonzola and heavy cream and would love your opinion. Thanks!


    Have a great day!

  4. Kimberly June 30, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    I have never given polenta a chance. As I really love blue cheese – I will have to give this a try.

    One of the stranger things I have added blue cheese to is… red beans and rice. I think it would also work for black beans but some blue cheese from a salad got mixed in with my red beans and I was hooked.

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