Deep Dish Polenta Pizza: A One-Pot Wonder!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I don't know about you, but following a full day of work (and usually some meeting, outing or exercise class thereafter), cooking can seem like a tremendous chore. Granted, making food generally acts as a therapeutic hobby for me, but there are days when picking up a phone and ordering a house chow mein is tempting.

Don't get me wrong: I have Shanghai Garden on speed-dial.

This polenta pizza will take less time than it would take a delivery man to get to your door, and the preparation is easy, too. You can variate it by adding your favorite pizza toppings. Deee-licious.

Deep Dish Polenta Pizza
adapted from Real Simple

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 cup polenta (not instant)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced garlic
4 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 lb pork sausage, italian style

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or pie plate; set aside.

2. Brown sausage. Drain, set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2¼ cups water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until the polenta starts to pull away from the side of the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

3. Using a spoon, spread the polenta over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
In a bowl, combine the spinach, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the polenta and bake until the polenta is crisp around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

Book Update

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This 25 Books in a Year thing is going to be easy-peasy.

1. The Help: go and buy/rent/check-out/sell your vital organs for this book.

2. Cleaving: throw it in the trash, preferrably the one you use for your meat scraps.

3. Sarah's Key: great storyline, a tad juvenile. Read it if you're 15 years old.

4. The Art of Racing in the Rain: the author does an outstanding job of narrating from a dog's perspective. Sure, as if I would know, but still.

"What? I Totally Paused." And I Come to a Screeching Halt for this Eggplant Chana Masala

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In 1995, while sitting in my friend, Tanya's, basement on her 15th birthday, eating Sugar Daddies, flirting with the nerdy band geek who wore wingtips and watching Clueless, the last thing on my sugar-buzzed brain was that Cher Horowitz would create a vegan cookbook 13 years later.

And Alicia Silverstone has come up with a good one, at that. And biznatch looks even prettier AND younger than she did in the Aerosmith video!

I'm not Indian food's biggest fan. It lost me at yellow curry. However, this dish is wicked easy to make and the addition of cumin, garlic and eggplant, you may jump on board, too.

Eggplant Chana Masala
courtesy of The Kind Diet

1 1/2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 (15 0z) can chickpeas, drained
1 can peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can vegetarian chili (I used Amy's)
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro

1. Saute the onions and garlic with the oil, curry powder and cumin in a large pot until onions are soft or translucent. Add eggplant, saute for five minutes longer until lightly browned.
2. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and chili, simmer for 20-30 minutes. It will reduce to a thick, stewy chana masala. Add more spice to taste and top with cilantro.

This serves roughly 3-4. Serve over brown rice with pita bread!