Tag Archives: polenta

Spinach Polenta

20 May

What to eat next to some Creamy Stuffed Mushrooms??    Well Spinach Polenta, of course…

It’s so easy to make. This was the first time my mom ate polenta… at least called polenta. – because she told me that when she was little they would serve something similar but with another complicated name in Spanish.

This is a great way to repurpose creamed spinach or cooked spinach you may have made for crepes…

SPINACH POLENTA

1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup milk
5 tbs quick cooking polenta – but make sure to read and make it according to your package suggested measurements
½ cup of creamy spinach mix – like the one I use to stuff crepes…
2 handfuls of shredded 5 cheese blend
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Pour vegetable broth and milk into a medium pot over medium-hi heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the polenta slowly while whisking the liquid to avoid any lumps. Stir occasionally until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. I like it smooth for this preparation.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the creamy spinach mix and the shredded cheese. Mix well using a spoon until it’s all well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Leave covered until ready to serve.

If you’d like, you could also add about ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese to add more flavor to it…

Advertisements

Smoky Soft Polenta

1 Mar

Until recently, to me creamy cornmeal was something to be had sweet and for breakfast.  But lately I have learned that this Italian staple is something to be savored as a lunch or dinner and depending on how you season it, it can certainly be very versatile.

I already shared with you a version using blue cheese as a flavoring component… but this time we’re going the smoky route.  When you add a smoky cheese to polenta, it brings a “bacony” taste without the guilt or repercussions to your health and conscience. 

 

SMOKY SOFT POLENTA

½ cup water
½ cup milk
¼ tsp salt
4 tbs quick-cooking polenta
About 1/3 cup smoked Gouda cheese, grated
¼ cup Pecorino Romano, grated

 

  1. I prepare my polentas according to the package directions of the brand I buy…  I first heat up in a medium-sized pot over medium heat the milk, water and salt.
  2. As soon as the milk/water mixture is starting to boil, add the polenta in small increments, whisking constantly with a hand whisk.  The polenta I buy thickens pretty quickly, in about 1-2 minutes of whisking.
  3. Add the cheeses and mix well to ensure they melt into the polenta.  If you find the polenta too thick, you can stir in a bit more milk if you want.

 

The taste is salty, creamy and smoky all in one bite…  I had this originally with these Braised Bell Peppers.

Pumpkin Polenta

30 Oct

I am a fan of Italian flavors… and this recipe fits very well with the flavors of autumn.   We do not have autumn here in Puerto Rico, but pumpkin is a favorite of mine and I wanted to do something that would highlight the flavor and nutrition of the pumpkin.  Plus, I still had some pumpkin seeds in my fridge I wanted to use up…

 Pumpkin Polenta

 

PUMPKIN POLENTA

1 ½ cups of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
4 tbs quick cooking polenta
½ cup of water
½ cup of milk
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted – as garnish

 

  1. First we steam the pumpkin… place in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes to cook thoroughly.  After the pumpkin is done, mash it well and place it in a colander lined with a coffee filter or a paper towel and let the moisture of the pumpkin drain out a bit.  This can be done well in advance before moving on to the rest of the steps.
  2. Then we make the polenta… I heat the water, milk and salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Add the polenta while stirring to avoid getting lumps.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the desired consistency, which is like a smooth cream of wheat.  I’ll be honest; I follow the instructions on the polenta package I buy.  If the instructions on your package are different, follow the instructions on your package, but what I do is to replace ½ the water the recipe calls for milk – makes a creamier polenta, in my opinion.
  3. When the polenta reached the desired consistency, add the drained pumpkin puree, the grated cheese and season with pepper.  Stir well for the cheese to melt and the pumpkin to combine well with the polenta cream.
  4. Serve warm and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Great vegetarian alternative for Thanksgiving lunch or dinner… don’t you think?

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. 

 

 

BLUE CHEESE POLENTA

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…

%d bloggers like this: