Friday, March 4, 2011

One More Meatless Night

Ok, I’m not a fan of the Beatles, but after writing the title for this post, I just can’t get that song out of my head.

You know the one.

Think about it.

I’ll wait….

Anyway, while I normally get very vague responses to any of my inquiries about what I should cook for dinner, Offspring #2 was very adamant that she wanted polenta, and she wanted it NOW (NO idea where she gets her bossiness from). And I just could not for the life of me think of a meat course to go along with it that

a. sounded appetizing at the moment, and
b. I had enough motivation to cook.

So I decided to just go with the polenta, add a little tapenade and cook up some sprouts (yeah, those again).

This was not a VEGETARIAN meal, by the way. I did use chicken stock to cook the polenta. If that’s not how you roll, then by all means, use water or veggie broth. In my definition of a meatless meal, I just don’t count broth. Sue me.

Polenta is another one of those dishes that you can customize to your particular taste. Add roasted garlic, parsley, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or anything else that suits your fancy. Also, the type of cheese you use can obviously change it dramatically. I topped mine with a little mascarpone, but try stirring some in for a creamier, more decadent version.

I had plans for the leftovers as well (also very versatile), but Offspring opted to take what was left in her school lunch today. That’s my girl. No pb & j for her. She’s got polenta.

Buon Appetito!


2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or substitute water or vegetable stock)
1 cup water
½ tsp salt
1 cup polenta (or use a medium - course ground cornmeal)
2 Tbs butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup mozzarella or provolone, shredded
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock, water and salt to a boil. Using a whisk, slowly stir in polenta. Stir until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken (this will happen pretty fast). Lower heat to low and cover pan.

Cook about 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick but still creamy.

Remove the lid and stir in butter and cheeses. Season with pepper. Serve immediately.

Sun-dried tomato and Kalamata Tapenade

2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs fresh basil, roughly chopped

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of hot water or a little more olive oil.

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