Thursday, January 20, 2011

Polenta heard me right.

My walk home from work put me in a nasty mood last night because most of the neighborhood hadn't shoveled their sidewalks and my usual 10 minute walk turned into 20 minutes. I walked into the house to find a sink full of dishes and felt defeated. I had NO desire to cook, however, my boyfriend and I have enforced a new rule that we are only allowed to dine out twice a month (take out included) and I didn't want to waste our second dine out pass on my nasty mood. My wonderful boyfriend hiked up his sleeves and got to work on the dishes while I casually flipped through Vegan on the Cheap without much intention of cooking.

I came across Robin's recipe for Polenta Pizza and was intrigued. Polenta is one of the easiest grains to cook. It's super cheap, but very filling and tastes great if seasoned well and paired with veggies. We didn't have all of the ingredients to make Robin's version, but we figured we'd wing it and see what happens!

Results: Not too bad! But I'd like to try my hand at it again. I don't think we seasoned the polenta enough (interestingly Robin's recipe doesn't call for anything other than salt, but that still leaves the polenta tasting fairly bland). Also, although it's called "pizza" you still need to eat it with a fork unless you want to make a crazy mess on your lap. I'm going to experiment with various sauces and toppings next time...but for now, I'll give you the basic recipe so you can try it at home!

Polenta Pizza adapted from Vegan on the Cheap

3 cups water
olive oil
1 cup corn meal (polenta)
herbs....basil, Italian spices, experiment!

Boil the 3 cups of water with some salt and olive oil. Add in the polenta, stirring the whole time. Reduce heat to Medium and cook for about 12-15 minutes. BE CAREFUL! Polenta is a crazy beast that likes to bubble and pop and make a mess on your stove if you aren't keeping a watchful eye on it and stirring constantly.

Once it's finished and seasoned to your likings, spread it out in a thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick, in the bottom of a 9x13 pan (pre-oiled so it doesn't stick when you're all done). Bake at 425 for 12 minutes so that it becomes nice and firm.

After that---add your toppings! We sauteed some veggies (spinach, broccoli, onion sauteed in white wine & olive oil) but you could also do a layer of tomato sauce with veggies on top; roasted veggies; seitan...the possibilities are endless!

Then bake it for another 10-15 minutes....and serve!

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