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Robin and I were thrilled to welcome our friend David Katz back to San Francisco last night.  David has spent the past three years in Washington DC working in the DOE and then the White House.  He finally snapped out of the DC haze and has come back to SF to work on an energy start up.  This is the first of many fun dinners to come.

I had spotted this recipe on Smitten Kitchen over the winter break and a cold, rainy night seemed like the perfect time to try it out.  Like the blog post suggests, I left the mascapone cheese out.  I should have also cut the amount of grits in half and doubled the amount of mushrooms.  It is a great dish, though.  I served it with a green salad and some horribly over cooked brussels sprouts.

Creamy White Polenta with Mushrooms

My colleague and friend, Suzanne, lent me her copy of Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty too many months ago. I was intimidated by the beauty of the food and length of the ingredient list.  The most recent Bon Appetit, on my bedside table in Maine, featured Ottolenghi’s food and inspired me to try a few recipes.  Wow, I should have done this sooner.

Salmon Steaks with Spicy Tomato Sauce: Fantastic salmon preparation that was much easier than expected.  Without steaks available, I used fillets and it was quite tasty.

Mushroom & Herb Polenta: The cheese and mushrooms make this outstanding.

Robin has been looking at this recipe since my mom gave me Jack Bishop’s Italian Vegetarian.  For some reason I have never cooked it.  I wish I had gotten on the polenta with garlicky greens train earlier.  WOW, this stuff is GOOD.  45 minutes of total prep but totally easy prep and totally worth it.

One of my better platings to match the photo.  By the way, the bowl in the photo would serve about 17 people.

Polenta with Garlicky Greens (recipe on another blog)