Tasty Thursday

July 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

I promise this blog won’t morph into a food blog.  Partly (okay, mostly) because I do not innately possess fabulous cooking/baking skills, or food presentation skills à la Smitten Kitchen. But a girl can dream.

So this week, in my personal quest to be good at everything, I have decided to concentrate on food. This month brought some food changes for me, as well as food inspiration.  I started off with a 3.5 day cleanse in which I drank citrus-infused water and ate 2 oranges a day. Yes, I came up with that magical little recipe myself. Day one wasn’t so bad. Really!  Day two was hell. And day 3 swung back around to easy-town where I coasted pretty easily until the end of the cleanse. Part of me wanted to “purge toxins” and the other part just wanted to see if I could go that long without raiding the cabinets (not having any food in said cabinets was a big help). I’ve done the Whole Foods cleanse-in-a-box before, but this was the first time where I actually fasted for several days.  While I (sort of) enjoyed the experience, I don’t think I’d rush back into it any time soon.

This month I also read Jonathan Safron Foer’s Eating Animals. While I’ve been vegetarian for over three years now, I still ate eggs and dairy and fish.  I reevaluated my diet after finishing the book and although I don’t think I could go full vegan (I have an addiction to cheese) I have since cut out fish and drastically lowered my consumption of products made with egg and/or dairy.  I may not feel comfortable with eating fake cheese (the fact that they have to advertise that it “melts” weirds me out more than excites me), but I am comfortable eating tofu cream cheese and substituting skim for rice milk. In a nutshell, I’m making more conscious decisions and diverting to the vegan option when possible.

A casual glance at packaged polenta at one of my recent grocery store jaunts made me curious. I had some cornmeal in my pantry for sprinkling on the bottom of my bread pans, but hadn’t thought of any other ways to use it. I started looking into some recipes. Many included butter, but were quickly nixed, as I have no butter substitutes in my fridge. Other recipes just made plain, stove-top polenta.  As a plain grain itself, I knew this wouldn’t provide much flavor, so I looked for something more.  I finally stumbled across a polenta pizza recipe. Bingo!

I modified the recipe with rice milk and the vegetables I had on hand (tomato, corn, and onion) then added a little black pepper and basil for added flavor. After making a creamy polenta on the stove-top, I poured it in an oven-safe dish to let it set (it’ll set in about an hour but I let mine sit overnight).  The next day I popped it in the oven for about 20 minutes with some tomatoes and basil while I caramelized some onions with corn and pepper. I poured the veggies on top after the polenta was done baking and violà, polenta pizza!

It was pretty good, considering my tendency to mess up every cooking experiment I try.  Next time I would add a little salsa, fake (or real) cheese and sour cream on top to give it more of a pizza taste. But I’ll definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire.

Polenta ‘Pizza’ with Pancetta and Spinach [New York Times]
Your Morning Pizza [New York Times]


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