The Cooking Class I Didn’t Give
Posted on May 23, 2008 by Glutenfreeda
Last weekend the Pacific Northwest experienced the nicest weather so far this year. Temperatures reached 86 degrees for two glorious days. In a normal year this would cause northwesterners to propel themselves into full throttle summer behavior even if only for two days. But last weekend was preceded by a tumultuous spring that delivered snow at the end of April, making the spontaneous hot weather even more tantalizing. In a normal year, 50 degrees is all it takes for Seattlites to pull out the flip flops and for men, it’s off with their shirts! A 35 degree change in temperature was definitely more than most of us could resist. Last weekend was also Whatcom County’s first Gluten-free Food Fair held at the Fairview Food Pavillion in Bellingham, Washington. For those commited souls, I say ‘thank you’, for coming out and showing your support, for those who were swept away by the sun God, who can blame you? In any case, the event was a success and proved a great opportunity for the Fairhaven Food Pavillion to demonstrate their commitment to carrying gluten-free products and for consumers to sample gluten-free foods and to familiarize themselves with the many products available at the store. I participated at the event and had intended to demonstrate a short class on appetizers using polenta rounds and to bake and offer samples of our product line, Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies. To make a longer story shorter, I did not give the polenta class and instead baked cookies for those that wandered back to my area. I did however, promise to offer the polenta class on our blog, and here it is.
Making polenta rounds
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and in a steady stream, add the cornmeal, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir for 8-10 minutes, until the polenta is smooth and leaves the side of the pan. Transfer polenta into a 9×13” baking dish and smooth and flatten until it is level in the dish. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When set, cut out appetizer size shapes with cookie cutters. With a pastry brush, brush both sides of rounds with olive oil. Heat a non-stick skillet and fry rounds on both sides until slightly brown and firm. You can also brown them by placing them under a broiler. The rounds are now ready for a topping of your choice.
If you prefer not to make your polenta rounds from scratch, you can buy cooked polenta in a tube. Simply remove the wrap and slice into rounds. Brush with oil and fry or broil.
- One package Hormel’s pepperoni slices
- One can gf pizza sauce (we used Muir Glen’s Organic Pizza Sauce)
- Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Remove polenta slices to a baking sheet and top with pizza sauce, one slice pepperoni and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top. Serve immediately
Polenta Rounds w/Black Beans & Pico de Gallo
- 6 ounces gf cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon chives, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed thoroughly
- 1 cup Pico de Gallo
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, chives, Italian parsley and thyme. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Prepare Pico de Gallo or your favorite gf salsa.
To serve, spread cream cheese mixture over polenta. Top with black beans and pico de gallo. Serve immediately.
- 2 tablespoons gf cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1-1/2 ounces gf smoked salmon
- Fresh dill for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine gf cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon zest. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on top of each polenta square. Top with a small piece of gf smoked salmon and garnish with fresh dill. Serve immediately
Polenta Triangles w/Peppers & Gorgonzola
- 3 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/3″ strips
- 3 yellow bell pepers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/3″ strips
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- Olive oil
- 4 ounces gorgonzola or goat cheese, crumbled
In a large skillet heat oil over medium-low heat. Add peppers, garlic, 3 tablespoons vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining vinegar and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
To serve, place 2 polenta slices on a plate, top with warm peppers and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
Polenta Triangles w/Caramelized Onions & Feta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons dry red wine or 2 Tablespoons chicken stock
- Olive oil
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled
In a medium skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add onion slices and salt. Cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are very soft, increase heat to medium. Add wine, scraping bottom of pan to release sugars. Onions will turn a nice, rich caramel color. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove triangles to a serving platter and top each with a small amount of caramelized onions and sprinkle with feta. Serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy these recipes! All can be partially made ahead and finished right before serving.
- Chef Yvonne
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