Recipe: Polenta with Eggs Poached In Tomato Sauce

I love breakfast in Autumn.  The crisp air and morning light lends itself to heartier breakfasts than the heat of summer.  Being that I prefer lunch over breakfast, and heartier breakfasts are my kind of thing.

This meal was a mess – but it was fantastic!

Recipe: Polenta with Eggs Poached In Tomato Sauce Polenta November Egg Cornmeal [Read more...]

Experimenting with Polenta: Using a Pie Plate

I’ve been working  on polenta for some time.  Here’s a few of the previous highlights:

My biggest problem with polenta is that I don’t plan well enough ahead so I there’s some lost time as I wait for it to cool before pan frying or baking it.

Today we tried a different solution to speed up the cooking process:

Experimenting with Polenta: Using a Pie Plate Polenta goodpic Cornmeal Cooking Recipes

[Read more...]

Tips for Better Polenta

I am obsessed with polenta and have learned a lot about making it since I originally shared our recipe and one of the meals I cook with it (polenta, chevre and roasted peppers).

Since that time I’ve spent a lot of time cooking it, discussing it with others and picking the heads of some of the best Chefs in the city who have all been glad to offer their opinions and techniques. I thought it was time to pay back their generosity with me and return the favour.

Tips for Better Polenta Polenta Cornmeal Cooking Recipes [Read more...]

Farmer’s Market Cornmeal – A Rare Favourite

I was so excited to see that cornmeal had returned to my favorite farmer’s table – an excitement that would quickly turn bittersweet.

I have become a giant convert to eating – and making – my own polenta (originally posted as Polenta – the Easiest Thing I’d Never Made).  My recipe has been tweaked since its early days (I’ll gladly share as I perfect it).  It’s now common that dehydrated products such as our own celery, onion and mushroom powders often sneak their way into the cornmeal bath that becomes a little log of heaven.  I also adore it because it is a natural pairing with our preserved tomato sauce and polenta shares my adoration with cheese.

It’s nearly perfect.

General consensus (on the blog, Facebook and in the Chef circles I have asked) is that the slower you cook it the better – I have yet to try the overnight method in a crock pot but boy I’m willing.  The general thought is that the slower it cooks, the creamier the final product (though you can make some tasty morsels in about 5 minutes if you’re in a pinch).

So I was thrilled that cornmeal was back at our market.  It generally arrives late winter – once the corn has dried and the farmer has time to grind it but before seeding and prepping for spring arrives.  Once spring hits its stride, there’s simply no time to grind last years crops.

The 1-pound bags don’t last long.  The coarsely chopped meal barely resembles the yellow powder so commonly available in bulk bins.  It is this combination of texture and the size of the chunks (the larger the piece of dehydrated food, the more flavor it retains as a smaller percentage of its contents are exposed to the air which rob it of flavor) is simply the best cornmeal I’ve ever encountered (before finding it, I didn’t know there was such a category).

Farmers Market Cornmeal   A Rare Favourite Polenta

I had been waiting with eager anticipation for the start of this years cornmeal.  I arrived at the market late (so late that they were packing up).  This typically is a massive disadvantage as you miss on selection – but such is the requirements of life.

“Cornmeal’s here!” I could see both excitement and concern on the face of my friend Shannon who tends the co-op, “But this is it for the year.”

My head tried to catch up as I asked the details.  The grinder had broken and time had run out for processing for the year.  We all shared the disappointment (and a bit of self-depreciating humour at the fact that we were even mildly upset at the loss of something so small in the big picture of all that is going on in the world).

There was a silver lining – being last meant that everyone had their turn.  I was able to bring home the remaining 6 pounds (which will go surprisingly fast).  I was also offered whole corn if I could just find a way to process it and imagined returning home with bushels of dried cobs to the horror of all who love me for being just that crazy.  In the interest of my own sanity (and the fact that I couldn’t think of a connection with a grinder off-hand), I passed on the offer and have decided to make the most out of ‘my’ bounty.

real cornmeal, ontario organic cornmeal, organic ontario cornmeal,
kawartha ecological growers, polenta" src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5226/5662806250_c098759f1d.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="374" />

It’s amazing to think how scarce some of our food actually is – and how involved people, machines and nature all are in bringing it to our tables.  Buying artisan-produced product like this has it’s downsides because of circumstances like this but it’s absolutely humbling to have connections directly to a source and a great reminder of the human connection involved in every meal that crosses our plate.  It’s tough to see that in a world of mass production – and it’s an inconvenience that only makes me want to make my polenta even better than it is now – after all, there’s probably about enough for 12 meals and it will go fast!

Polenta with Chevre and Red Pepper Puree (Recipe)

It`s been a long time since we`ve posted a recipe – especially one focussed on an economical meal.  A good friend (the lovely Jesse) recently pointed our that she`d love to see a return of our Cheap Tuesday Gourmet series. Back then we shared about 25 recipe ideas that were considerably less than $5 a portion and had an emphasis on flavor as well as often showing that season and local could be fused into the same theme.  The series also often included some of our preserving efforts as ingredients.

Life is a little busy these days to commit to a weekly posting like that but we thought we’d share the odd idea and recipe from our kitchen that’s in the same spirit.  Today’s recipe can be followed loosely if you don’t have all of the ingredients – the cost was about $2 a plate:

Thick slices of polenta are seared in an oven, rested on a bed of red pepper puree, topped with goat cheese which is dusted with beet powder and thinly sliced leeks:

Polenta with Chevre and Red Pepper Puree (Recipe) Polenta Peppers (Bell) Cornmeal Cooking Recipes Chevre Bell Pepper [Read more...]

Polenta: the Easiest Thing I never Made

I have a soft spot for polenta. I love to slice it about half an inch thick and sear it in a hot frying pan before covering it with some of our canned tomato sauce or other yummies. It`s also wonderful baked in the oven with an egg and salsa.

I didn`t grow up eating polenta.  It`s something I buy from time-to-time and wish I`d eat it a whole lot more.  It`s generally after eating it that I wonder why I don`t eat it more often.  I know that this was the case when we had a delightful evening out with a friend last evening and I had an appetizer which consisted of polenta, goat cheese, pepper puree.  It was stunning – and I knew I had to eat more polenta (even though it was the second time I`d had it in a week).

Polenta: the Easiest Thing I never Made Polenta Cornmeal Cooking Recipes [Read more...]