Potluck-Ready; Polenta Tips

I have been microwaving this week’s polenta artichoke spinach strata with a little gorgonzola on top, or red sauce. FANtastic! Even better, slice and pan-fry both sides to get a crisp bottom and sprinkle bleu cheese on top.

In fact, I’m making basil polenta squares as appetizers for a large BBQ party this coming weekend, as well as “Firecracker” Slaw (beets, carrots, apples in chipotle vinaigrette) and many other delectable things. The next day I’ll be demo-ing Thai-curry mushroom & TVP bruschetta, pineapple cilantro cabbage slaw and other starters.

For those of you who are curious about polenta, I’ve found that the difference between instant polenta and the organic ground polenta I buy at the co-op is that the co-op’s is more yellow, more coarsely ground and tastes more corn-y.

Ground Polenta Corn Meal

Dry Ground Polenta (corn meal)

Its cooked texture is more glutinous and ‘creamy’, especially after it cools and sets. Yes, it takes an hour to make, but, you do NOT have to constantly attend it, despite what they say. In fact, I find it very easy. NYT’s Mark Bittman’s sage instructions: You stir w/ a squared wooden spatula every 10 min while it’s simmering. If after 30 min simmer it seems too thick to stir, add 1/2 cp water & mix well. Don’t want it too thick & dry bc the grains need to break down further. Later after the texture is no longer grainy, if it seems you added too much water/ it’s too thin, then simmer at a slightly higher temp.

I believe Bob’s Red Mill brand packaged ground polenta is similar to the bulk stuff at co-ops, although ground a little bit finer. There’s nothing wrong with instant polenta and it’s certainly works in a pinch*. So does the cooked polenta that comes in a tube (nice fine texture). It’s just not as lovely as whole grain polenta.

* Package instructions say 5 min but the texture is grainy, so I simmer for another 15.

COMING MENUS  (see more descriptions on DDoW Menu Archive)

Nopales Cactus Salad

Nopales Cactus Salad (internet photo)

 June 13 – 19

1) Chipotle Rum & Molasses Baked Beans. Vegan & Gluten-free.

2) Southwest Nopales Cactus & Rice Salad in Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette. Vegan & Gluten-free. 

June 20 – 26

1) Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing. Vegan; soba noodles contain wheat gluten; sweet potato noodle option avail; soy-free option also available w/ notice.

2)  Edamame & Shitake Salad. Vegan & Gluten-free. 


June 27 – July 2 (week approaching Independence Day Holiday)  Since that next Monday is July 4th holiday, you can order these dishes for July 3rd Fri or weekend delivery, however, you must special order by June 26th.

1) Firecracker Slaw. Vegan & Gluten-free. 

2) Fireworks Wheat Berry Salad. Vegan; contains gluten.


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