My husband saw a sign out and stopped for fresh, local, organic produce on Friday. He brought home some beautiful okra, two large Florida avocados, and summer squash. I finally drove passed Downtown Orlando to a favored vegetable market and purchased some exciting vegetables. Full story tomorrow.
This is polenta, a traditional, Italian peasant dish. It can be served creamy or sliced in this fancy fashion pictured above, possibly even rewarmed on an oiled skillet producing a great brown crust. In America, we'd just call this grits. Or cornmeal. The polenta in Italy generally is very similar to yellow grits. I make it at home with cornmeal for two reasons. For one, cornmeal is reasonably cheap. For two, if I just change the recipes to cornmeal, that's one less item that gets lost in my pantry.
Based on Soft Polenta from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
3 cups water or vegetarian chicken-flavored broth
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt if not using broth
1/4-1/2 teaspoon celery seed (original recipe calls for fennel seeds)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, topping
Black pepper to taste
Bring water or broth to boil in a large pot. Slowly pour in cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. A whisk works best for me. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until polenta is thick. Season. Serve topped with cheese.
Moosewood adds a note that the grind and variety of cornmeal influence the cook times. Be prepared to add hot water to cooking if necessary. However, I don't recall ever needing to.
I'm really excited about our plan to try at least one new thing a month. I think we're even a little ahead of the game. And it's good for the spirit to be a little ahead. And it gives me a cushion in case I lose track of time or something. Below are the new foods we have tried so far this year. Please feel free to make recommendations. And remember, the goal is to buy and cook something I haven't eaten or might have eaten out in order to broaden our horizons.