Saturday, May 23, 2009

Polenta Makes us Snicker with Glee

Polenta is one of those things that I can either love or loathe. I guess I really just don't love cleaning up afterward but that holds true for most of what I cook!

I made polenta the other night, and dumped it into tupperware thinking I would warm it up
nother night for my Guido (he's all about comfort food)
Then... I remembered Polenta Fries!

Take cold, leftover polenta and slice into fry shapes.
Toss in a small, blue, glass bowl (bowl must be blue, trust me) full of raw corn meal, to help it get crispy on the outside.
Prep cookie sheet with parchment, spritz with oil, lay your polenta fries in a nice row.
Bake at 400* Speedbake/Convection for 11 minutes per side, turning once and hit it with a few grinds of sea salt once you turn it. Wait around until they are brown, it's worth it.

Polenta (in my mind) is just Italian Grits.

For my Polenta I used 2.5 c organic chicken broth, 1/3 c half and half (I only had vanilla soy milk so I had to use the cow!) and 1 c fine ground cornmeal (it was gifted to me, so I decided to see if it would make good polenta!) - I brought the broth to a simmer, stirred in the polenta and prayed, added the half-n-half, stirred like a fool, s& p (lots of p!) and tasted- BLAHand (bland)
More pepper, more stirring and then I diced up a leftover hunk of mozz (from when I made the eggplant parm!) and THEN I added some butter.

If you want to do this all the same night, I'm willing to bet it's better if you let your polenta get cold in a thin layer- like maybe spread it out on a 11x17 or something... You'll get more 'fry' looking pieces.

Guido ate his with Heinz (gag) - I just had mine plain.

Wait! No I didn't... I also made Hoagies, and topped mine with leftova chimmichurri sauce- so I ended up dragging the fries through that.


So- the Hoagie is a beautiful, fanciful creature that some people call a 'sub'. I am not one of those people. Relax, I only ate 1/2 of it. Yea, it was a biggunn! Peeking out from the roll is yellow Florida tomato (so nice) and some turkey, some pastrami, and my chimmichurri (LOVE IT)
Note: the extra cheddar balanced on the rim at 10:45 is for my dogs. It's a good way to get them off my back when I'm tryin to eat while watching t.v.

Hoagie = Good roll, cold cuts, s&p, oil & vinegar, produce of your liking, cheese, banana peppers & love. I like a tiny schmear of mayo & spicy brown on the roll. I do not believe in excessive lettuce, it just falls out and makes crazy stains on your shirt, shoes, tie, whatever...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eggplant Sunday

I happened to pick up the cutest Purple Eggplants this weekend at the Farmer's Mkt.
This one I named Priscilla.

Lazy Girl's Eggplant Parm
1-3 Purple Eggplants
1 lb Mozzarella Cheese (don't bother with pre-shredded, buy the block)
Parmesan Cheese
1 small container of Ricotta Cheese
4 C Tomato Sauce (I cheated and used Bertolli Fire Roasted)
handful fresh flat leaf parsley
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375*

Peel and slice the eggplants either into planks, or rounds. There is no need to salt them- they really aren't bitter anymore like they were back in the old country, when Nonna salted them before frying.

Mix up a few eggs with a splash of ice water in a shallow bowl

Use a flat dish for breading, season your breadcrumbs (unless you are using the yucky pre-seasoned kind)

We won't be frying today kids- we are gonna bake them. Frying eggplant is nuts- they soak up SO MUCH oil it's disgusting. This tastes fantastic and you can go crazy with the cheese because you aren't using oil.

So- egg, then crumb, then do just ONE LAYER on a pan-sprayed parchment or foil lined cookie sheet. Spritz the tops with more pan spray (just a little, it doesn't matter, they will brown either way if you don't want to use it)

Cook these for about 15 minutes, wait for them to get golden and gorgeous. Meanwhile mix up your ricotta (we say Ree-Got) adding minced parsley, and a few handfuls of parm. I don't care if you want to use the green can, but it's much tastier if you get a block of parm and grate it. Ok, I do care. NO GREEN CAN!! Get the good stuff, again you aren't frying- go for it! You can do some lunges later to make up for it.

Where am I? Ok yeah, once they are all baked nice and golden, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan (I used a 5x10) I guess it was. It's a dark pan. I wanted the cheese crusty.

It's easy now- one layer of cooked eggplant, followed by some sauce, the ricotta mix, another layer of eggplant, sauce, now top with the mozzerella and some more parm- let it snow.

<---- I wish I wiped the plate before I took this shot.

Just bake it in that 375 oven if you want, or crank it back to the 350*standard that I grew up hearing. It took 30 minutes and it was sublime...

<---- No one cares if you apply the mozz all sloppy-like. See mine? I added some dried basil and oregano, just cuz.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Watermelon Feta Salad

When I look back on these dark days (yeah, I'm still sick-not really tasting-sore throat-tired-grumpy) at least I can say "I tried."

There was this crazy sale on watermelon, 59c a pound! I picked some up and it was so good I got another hunk of it before the sale ended. This stuff kicked around in the crisper for a week until I hauled myself into the store for feta. I kept reading about

Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad

Cut ripe watermelon
Cube/crumble feta
thin sliced red onion
tiny minced jalapeno
olive oil
splash of lemon juice
DOES NOT KEEP WELL-serve fairly quickly

Some recipes include black olives, mint, even honey.

I served it with sliced, cold (rare) London Broil, horsey sauce (horseradish, Dukes, black pepper) and a torn off hunk of Naan that I wish I had heated first because it tasted much better warm.
Watermelon salad is good- not life changing like I had read, but maybe when I get my taste buds working again, I'll change my mind. Of course I'll let you know.
Now- what to do with the rest of this feta? Hmmm...

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