Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Polenta for dinner; polenta for dessert

Winter snowstorms make for a very lazy cook in me. Instead of planning ahead for meals I just use whatever happens to be in the cupboard. I do try to be creative rather than predictable (there are only so many tomato and pasta meals one can have in a row!) Tonight, I tackled the large container of cornmeal sitting on the right hand shelf. Here is the beauty of cornmeal:

It's easy. AND It can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or dessert, as it turns out!)

I started with a basic polenta:

3-4 cups of water
1 cup of polenta
a pinch of salt

Boil water in a pot. Slowly pour polenta into boiling water while stirring vigorously with a spoon. I say "vigorously" because the polenta tends to clump up otherwise forming blobby, gooey lumps filled with uncooked cornmeal. One can rectify this problem by blending with a handheld mixer (although I'd recommend not getting to the globby stage to begin with - I am speaking from experience...)

Meanwhile I made up an easy topping of sauteed diced potato, onion and bell pepper. After the potatoes had cooked through I plopped a bit of polenta on a plate, topped it with the veggies and grated on some fresh parmesan cheese. A little salt and pepper and that was that. Eh. It was good but not fabulously exciting.

Following the meal I felt like having something sweet. The polenta had been neatly packed up in the fridge and was primed for grilling. I thought it might go well with a little berry compote:

1 cup frozen berries (raspberries and blueberries work nicely!)
5 tablespoons honey
Lemon juice

Add berries, honey and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes.

I grilled up the leftover polenta on the George Foreman, poured on some berry compote and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

YUM. The polenta was transformed.

Not bad considering I'd just had more-or-less the same thing for dinner.

Here's to the lazy cook in you!

Image from www.quakeroats.com

p.s. Breakfast will likely consist of grilled polenta topped with maple syrup and berry compote. Another good way to use up those leftovers!

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