Tag: polenta

How to Make Polenta

by in Robin's Healthy Take, June 24, 2013

Traditional Italian polenta is basically porridge made with cornmeal, water or stock and patience; sometimes lots of patience because, for the best results, the cornmeal needs time to absorb the liquid and fully cook, which brings out the sweet corn flavor. The cornmeal can be ground coarse, medium or fine, but traditional Italian polenta is never instant or precooked and packaged in tubes. Polenta can become a healthy cook’s best friend because it’s endlessly versatile – you can serve it as a side dish or top it with meatballs and gravy, braised chicken and tomatoes, or grilled vegetables and a shaving or two of Parmesan cheese. You can also prepare firm polenta that’s then cut into squares or wedges and baked or grilled.

A few tips for the perfect polenta:
• For soft polenta, the ratio is typically 5 to 1 (liquid to cornmeal); for firm polenta, the ratio is around 4 to 1.
• Bring your liquid (water or stock) to a rapid boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal; whisk constantly for the first minute or so, until the mixture thickens.
• Reduce the heat to low and allow the polenta to bubble/sputter gently for the entire cooking time.
• Stir every 5-10 minutes while cooking.
• Always check the liquid level and don’t allow the mixture to become too thick (it won’t cook properly).
• Depending on the cornmeal you’re using, allow up to 1 hour for fully cooked polenta (it may take less, but play it safe).

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Robin’s Healthy Take: Tubed Polenta, Two Ways

by in Robin's Healthy Take, March 16, 2012
polenta
Grilled Polenta With Creamed Spinach

Ever seen those tubes of pre-cooked polenta in the store and thought, “Cool, but what the heck would I do with that?” Prepared polenta is your best “kitchen buddy” because you can skip the time-consuming process of making polenta from scratch AND you get a cornmeal-based dish with dozens of options. Think of polenta as a creative, fiber-rich alternative to your traditional starch – pasta, rice, potatoes, bread. Since tubed polenta is pre-cooked, you simply slice and reheat by sauteing, grilling, roasting, broiling or even microwaving. Once the slices are tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside, top them with just about anything – your favorite sauce, vegetable, meat, seafood and/or cheese. You can even use cubes of polenta in vegetarian recipes that call for tofu. Check out my recipes below: In the first, the polenta is grilled and topped with Parmesan-spiked creamed spinach and the second is seared and then topped with Caprese-style toppings. Got fun ideas of your own? Send them my way!

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Have You Tried?… Gluten-Free Flours

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes, July 13, 2010

gluten free blueberry muffins

Whether you need to steer clear of gluten because of an allergy or just like to experiment in the kitchen, there are plenty of choices beyond good old wheat. Mix things up with these flour alternatives.

Try 5 flour alternatives »