Polenta with Basil and Sun-dried Tomato

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 06:56 Written by Flax Wednesday, 27 October 2010 02:49

Polenta is a dish made from corn meal, the thicker corn flour. It is quick to make, easy to cook and can be eaten straight away, rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter or refrigerated, cut into square and then, either grilled or baked. The terms polenta, corn meal or corn flour are interchangable and any/either/all of these names might appear on the package. The corn meal that I use in this recipe is the darker thicker corn meal-not the maize which is also corn meal but is a thinner and a lighter color.

I recommend this recipe as a kugel alternative. It is egg free, low in fat-it has only 2 tbsp olive oil, and like a kugel, it is good when reheated even on the shabbat plattah.

Another advantage of polenta is that it is extremely versatile. You can spice it up any way you please. In this recipe, I went Italian, because in my experience, anything Italian gets eaten!

Ingredients:

olive oil
6 shallots, diced
10 basil leaves, chopped fine
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
2 cups water
1 cup soy milk or oat milk
1 cup polenta
salt
pepper

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Add the water and soy/oat milk and bring to a boil. Add the basil, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully pour in the corn flour, while stirring gently, to avoid lumps. Simmer, while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes until the polenta mixture thickens and pulls away from the edge of the pan.

Serve immediately or pour into an oiled baking dish and refrigerate.

If you chose to refrigerate this dish then leave it refrigerated for 20 minutes (or more), cut it into squares, brush with olive oil, and reheat it by baking or grilling it in the oven– or by heating it on a warming plate.

A special thanks to Zahvie Appelbaum for helping to inspire this dish.

Note: Most people will only like polenta if it is served warm so do not serve it directly from the refrigerator

Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

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Heavenly Artichokes

Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:08 Written by Flax Tuesday, 6 July 2010 10:59

No matter how you serve them, artichokes are always delicious. This recipe however is simply devine. The long baking time softens the artichoke’s leaves to the point where they practically melt in your mouth. The blending of the delicate artichoke flavor with the stronger flavor of pesto is so incredible that when I take a bite of this dish I feel like I’m in heaven.

I’ll be honest, it is a little annoying to make, scooping out the artichokes isn’t exactly fun, (all those pokey hairs) but if you read the above paragraph, you know that I think it is way worth the effort.

I serve this dish as an appetizer and I figure 1 artichoke per person. If you make more, I promise you, they will be eaten.

Use a sharp knife to slice of the tips of the artichokes so that the artichoke is even on the top. Slice the bottom of the artichoke so that it sits nicely without falling over.

Place the artichokes in boiling water for one minute so that the choke softens up a little bit and is easier to pull out. Remove the artichokes from the water and pull out the choke with your fingers. Use a spoon, preferablly a grapefruit spoon if you have one, to scoop out the hairs. Fill the emptyp center of the artichoke with pesto (see recipe below) and place in a single layer in a dutch oven. (Any oven dish with a tight lid will work for this dish, but my personal favorite for this dish is my leCreuset.) Put an inch of water at the bottom of the pan to prevent it from burning and place in a preheated oven. Bake at 180 c (350 f)for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Pesto

Ingredients:

1 bunch basil
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly roasted
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
Atlantic grey sea salt
pepper

Puree until smooth

Enjoy!

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