April 14, 2008

Creamy Polenta

Saffronrose, 3 Mar 08, comment to ‘Recipe Day’

serves 6-8
Source/comments: Marina Fournier. I am attempting to duplicate the best I’ve had, which was at the Willowwood Market Cafe in Graton, CA. They add cheese at the last moment, but I didn’t hear what kind. The vanilla in my version softens any acid in the wine, just leaving the rounder flavor.

1 c. polenta
2 1/2 c. milk
4 oz. margarine or butter
2 c. water
1 c. white wine
(1/4 t. vanilla)

Soak the polenta in milk for about an hour. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces. When you are ready to cook it, add the butter or margarine, and water. When the butter is all melted, gradually add the wine, in order to avoid curdling. Heat gently over low heat, stirring with a whisk, to avoid clumping. If the mixture is getting too thick, add more water, and stir constantly until the texture is the same throughout. Cook gently until as firm as you desire (I like it about 15 minutes thick), and then add the vanilla if needed, and any grated cheese, just before serving. Two generous spoonfuls of pesto and a large spoonful of goat cheese instead of grated cheese goes well, and is how Willowwood serves it. I have since found out they do not use wine in theirs, so substitute water or what you please for the cup of wine in the recipe.

Please feel free to use these recipes, but cite me as the source if you pass them along. They are copyright to A. Marina Fournier 2008.

Italian Polenta Shortbread

Saffronrose, 3 Mar 08, comment to ‘Recipe Day’

Makes about 5 dozen 1 1/2” cookies
Source/comments: Adapted by Marina Fournier from a recipe for Orange-Polenta Shortbread, in the San Francisco Chronicle cookbook Vol. II, developed by Shanna Masters, now the editor of Veggie Life. I took out the orangeness. I was seeking a recipe to mimic Fat Rascals’ Polenta Sweet Cake cookie, which comes in a huge round. I adore them, but they’re not sold anywhere near me, and they’re larger than I should eat, and more expensive ($US 1.85) than I like.1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. lemon zest, or 2 T. lemon extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. polenta (works with a cup of polenta as well)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Put butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add beaten eggs, mix well. With the mixer running, add dry ingredients.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface, flour the rolling pin as well. Knead dough a few times until smooth. Roll out dough into a rectangle, and cut cookies with a favorite cutter, a circle cutter, or in triangles, about 3/4” thick, otherwise they are crispy rather than chewy. Place cookies about 1” apart on a baking sheet.

Bake cookies until edges are lightly golden, 20 to 22 minutes–but you might want to start watching around 18 minutes, depending on your oven. Transfer cookies to plate; let cool about 10 minutes.