making food from anywhere, with anything

Posts tagged “polenta


Good morning everyone.

I did say that I would post again in a timely manner, so I’m attempting to make good on my word.

Two items are featured today: polenta that no one in my house liked, and pork that generally everyone felt tasted good.

Let’s begin with the polenta.

I tend not to post my failures on here, partly because I never take pictures of them, and also because I’m thinking of making a worst hits post in the future.

So, polenta.

cheesey, herby polenta cake

Polenta is essentially coarse corn meal cooked in water.  Typically, 1 1/2 cups of polenta is cooked with about 4 cups of water.  The water can be salted, as you would for pasta or potatoes.  The cooking liquid doesn’t have to be just water, of course.  For more flavor, you could substitute any stock of your preference, or you could even add a bit of heavy cream for some deliciously silky polenta.

I decided to just cook it in water.  To a medium sauce pan, add 4 cups of cold water.  Then, add 1 and 1/2 cups of polenta.  Begin stirring, and turn on the heat to high, bring to a boil.  This will need your constant attention…so keep stirring!  If you don’t, it will stick and scorch.  And who wants that?  Once it begins to form a porridge-like consistency, add seasonings, herbs, whatever you want.  After all the water has been absorbed, turn the heat down to medium-low/low and add 1 TBSP of butter.  Then, fold in some cheese, perhaps marscapone or creme fraiche for a really velvety consistency, or some gruyere or cheddar for a nice bite.  And there you have it.

You can serve it like that, or you can preheat your oven to about 350F and pour the polenta into a cast iron skillet (or some other oven-proof dish).  Spread it out so it’s even, top it with more herbs or cheese, and throw it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.  It forms a delicious crust on the outside, and maintains its creaminess on the inside.  *I* thought it was very good.

The other night, we were set to have pork chops.  So, with my day off, I decided to roast them until they were fall-off-the-bone tender.

roasted pork chops with roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs

I generally followed my previous roasted pork recipes and made an interesting sauce prior to putting this all in the oven.  In a medium saucepan, I combined 2 cans of diced tomatoes, about a cup of red wine, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and fresh basil, oregano, and tarragon from my garden.  I am LOVING my basil plant, it is going crazy  out there and it’s REALLY fragrant.  By far one of my favorite herbs.

In some olive oil, saute about half a vidalia onion until soft.  Then add garlic, loads of salt and pepper.  Stir, add the wine and cook out some of the alcohol.  Then, add the tomatoes and mushrooms.  Reduce about 1/4th of the volume.  Then, add the herbs.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to the pork chops and place in an oven proof dish.  Pour the sauce over the chops, and put in a preheated 350F oven for about 2 1/2 hours.  Serve with some egg noodles and you’re all set.

Tuesday, I am (hopefully) going to a book signing with Anthony Bourdain.  Holy. Shit.