Polenta!

polenta

(with an exclamation mark because this is my 100th post!)

I thought about this polenta all night after having it for dinner and thats why I’ve elected it worthy to be # 100.  This is some serious comfort food goodness AND has been great as a leftover as well. (Breakfast polenta with a poached egg. Lunch polenta with grilled vegetables). It’s just really good. But here’s the thing…. I just used cornmeal. Is the corn meal called Polenta different? I’m not sure, but I’m sticking with corn meal. Love to hear if you do something different!

Original recipe here  (I’ve made a couple edits)

ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp chicken bullion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Leaves from 4-5 springs of thyme, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of polenta [I used cornmeal that my farmer friend grew and ground herself!!]
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste

directions:

  1. Put the milk, water, bullion and the minced garlic in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the thyme and some black pepper. Add the polenta in slowly in a steady stream while constantly whisking so there won’t be any lumps. Reduce the heat and cook for 25 minutes while constantly whisking. [It was pretty soupy after 25 minutes but i couldn’t wait any longer to eat it and like i said, it was great.]
  3. Remove from the heat and add the mascarpone and parmesan and whisk well until smooth and creamy. If too thick add a little more mascarpone. Taste for salt.
  4. Serve few tablespoons per person with whatever you’d like on top. We topped ours with sautéed Portobello and Oyster mushrooms.

 

tags: 100th post, appetizer, dinner, side dish, breakfast

Horchata

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Horchata is great to have in the fridge because you find uses for it all day long… coffee creamer, added to oatmeal or your morning cereal,  in smoothies or just a protein rich snack. But BEWARE. This looks like milk but it is not. Do not go to take a sip of this and think milk or milkshake. I did and it was almost a deal breaker. BUT when I finally started appreciating it for what it was, I loved it. Also its vegan and gluten free. win-win (win)

original recipe here

(Makes about 7 cups)

ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (or use raw or blanched almonds)
  • 2/3 cup white rice, uncooked (medium or long-grain preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups water + 3 cups water
  • one 3-inch cinnamon stick [We used two]
  • 2/3 cup sugar, or to taste* [We only used 1/3 cup and it was perfect for us]
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (increase to 1 teaspoon, or to taste, if you love vanilla)

directions:

  1. In a large blender canister, Vita-Mix canister, or large bowl combine cashews, uncooked rice, 2 1/2 cups warm tap water, cinnamon stick, cover and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Remove canister from the refrigerator, remove the cinnamon stick, and blend the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes on high speed, or until blended as smoothly as possible.
  3. Add sugar (to taste), vanilla extract, 3 cups more water and blend again for 2 more minutes, or until mixture is as smooth as possible.
  4. Let the blender mix sit for about a minute. (all of the solids will sink to the bottom). Then blend again for an additional minute.
  5. If desired, strain horchata through a sieve or cheesecloth [The Almond mush at the bottom of our first batch was a bit grainy for drinking but was lovely in oatmeal so if you strain it, keep both components.]
  6. Serve immediately as is, over ice, or refrigerate and serve chilled, shaking before if mixture has separated. Horchata will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days; use common sense.

Notes from PearAndPlum:

FIRST time through we made this with almonds (which is the the traditional way) and it was great.

SECOND TIME, we tried cashews and it was a much smoother drink. We also added 2 cinnamon sticks instead of the 1 it calls for and sweetened it with a combo of honey and sugar instead of just sugar.

NEXT TIME we may also use some lime zest?

Notes from original recipe: *I used traditional recipes as reference for the sugar (and they use more than I did). You may wish to start with 1/3 cup sugar, and increase from there if you prefer something less sweet. You can use another form of sweetener, to taste. All amounts are to taste. If you are serving over ice, it will also water down and become less sweet, something to keep in mind. This is a sweet beverage; it’s not supposed to be “barely sweet”; it’s supposed to be sweet. The Mexicans are not shy with sugar; they pour sweetened condensed milk over sweet potatoes as I witnessed in Mexico City. If you prefer a thinner horchata increase the amount of water, to taste, or strain it. Whatever blender you use, blend, blend, blend. Depending on type of blender used, and taste preferences, strain if desired.

tags: almond milk, cashew milk, gluten free, homemade nut milk, mexico, oatmeal, rice milk, smoothies, vegan, drink, breakfast, snack

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pizza

BreakfastPizza

I often see pictures of food and then, too lazy to really read all the steps in the recipe, I make up my own version. I use what I have available and do whatever I think I need to do to get it done as fast as possible. This is one of those and it turned out really really good (they dont always).  I used our large iron skillet to cook the pizza but i would imagine a pizza stone would work just fine. (Original recipe here.)

My recipe makes one personalized sized pizza.

ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • about 9 oz of store bought dough (about 1/2 bag) [No time for homemade.  I’m hungry]
  • a little coconut oil to grease the skillet
  • some black beans [as many as you want on your little pizza]
  • a little parsley
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • grated cheddar cheese [as much as you want]
  • 1 egg

directions:

  1. Saute the sweet potato with garlic and onion in a small pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large oiled cast iron pan, make dough into a pizza shape
  3. Put cooked sweet potatoes, black beans, parsley and green onions onto the dough
  4. Grate cheddar over the top
  5. Crack an egg in a dish (in case of shells or a nasty egg. You dont want this last step to ruin your dinner)
  6. Create a little nest of ingredients and pour the egg in.
  7. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.  I kept checking the bottom of the pizza to make sure it could stay in longer and let that guide my cooking time.

 

tags: breakfast, dinner, vegetarian, cast iron skillet 

Avocado Tomato Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

AvocadoSalad

I’ve altered and edited this recipe every time i’ve made it, but its always been awesome. Its really simple and quick and tastes just like summertime. Also, perfect as a side salad with a prosciutto tomato sandwich at lunch. (I actually just ate that).

(The original recipe from here.)

salad ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup diced Cilantro [if you have it, use it. If not, its still really good without it]
  • 2 large ripe Haas Avocados
  • 1 medium ripe Tomato
  • 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced [you can use less, but dont skip these]

vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lime Zest
  • 2 teaspoons Whole Grain Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste

directions:

1. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together and set aside for flavors to blend.

2. Chop avocados, tomato, green onion & cilantro into small pieces.

3. Toss all vegetables and vinaigrette together.

tags: dinner, side dish, guacamole, chopped

Lemon Garlic Hummus

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This is how we do hummus in our house. None of us are big fans of tahini so I leave it out and it makes for a super smooth and low key snack or dinner side.  (I would imagine if you cant live without your tahini, you could just add it in) You can also serve this warm with some butter blended in like my very favorite restaurant  does …..mmmmm…. and its wrapped in Basturma….. oh I need to go back there soon.  I love you  Oleana Restaurant.

(updated and reworked recipe on 2/17/13)

ingredients:

  • 1 (15.5 oz) Can Chick Peas
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped fine or crushed.
  • 1/2 Lemon zest and juiced
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin (quickly toasted in a skillet until fragrant)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sumac

directions:

  1. Smash the garlic in a garlic press and put into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest over the garlic and let it sit for 15 min.(this takes some of the heat out of the garlic). Also, make sure to squeeze the lemon into your hand to catch the seeds.
  2. Drain the chick peas and add them to the food processor.
  3. While you’re waiting for the garlic, toast the cumin in a med-low frying pan until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then add it to the peas.
  4. Pour lemon mixture over chick peas and process for about 20 seconds. Add some olive oil.  Process and check the consistency. Repeat until your happy with the smoothness.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste,  and a dash of sumac on top for prettiness and you’re done.

(other ingredient ideas – dukkah, roasted garlic, red peppers)

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tags: snack, appetizer, dinner, dip,spread, sandwich spread, middle eastern food, vegetarian

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Lemon

Theres a big time brussel sprout situation happening over here. I seriously cant get enough of them. I roast them with maple syrup. I  food process the hell out of them, mix in kale and saute with pancetta… and now THIS.

The recipe originates from food52 but I made it based on what i had available.

 

[pic to come]

 

[my version served 2 adults with a tiny bit of leftover. The food52 version serves 6]

ingredients:

  • about 6 large brussel sprouts
  • as much onion as you want – sliced thin. [I’ve never once enjoyed an onion on a salad before this one. See why below]
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon zested first and then juiced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • shaved pecorino [if you have it… we didn’t and the salad was still great]

directions:

  1. Soak the chopped onion in a bowl of water for 20 minutes while you prepare all the other ingredients
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Trim all of the Brussels sprouts, cutting off any bruised outer leaves and slicing off a good portion of the hard root end. Using a food processor pulse the brussels until chopped or shave on a mandoline, one at a time.
  4. Drain the onions, put the sprouts in a serving bowl and toss gently with the onions and the dressing. Fold in the pecorino, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately, before it starts to wilt!