Friday, July 27, 2012

Polenta Bowl

Kind of like a teriyaki bowl, or maybe a soba bowl, but this is a polenta bowl. As opposed to rice or noodles, the base of this bowl is polenta. Shaun and I are WWOOFing at Pine Meadow Farm and are learning how to eat very seasonally. In addition to produce Pine Meadow has goat's milk, eggs, and staples such as beans and grains. So right now we are eating a lot of beans, grains, lettuce (not featured in this recipe) and beet thinnings. Garden tip: You plant beet seeds in very dense rows and then pull most of them out so the healthiest can grow to full size, but you can still eat the greens.

You can only eat so much beans and rice, so we started looking for another grain we could use. We arrived at corn.Expect more bean related posts in the future...

OK here are the components of the bowl:

Kidney Beans
Sauteed Beet Greens

For the polenta
Polenta is super quick and easy. We have been eating a lot of it on the farm since it is so much faster than rice. When making rice you usually use a two parts water to one part rice. With polenta it's four parts liquid to one part corn meal. I combine four cups of liquid (some combination of water, broth and/or milk) with one cup of corn meal, stir, and let simmer on low stirring occasionally to frequently for five to ten minutes. Or until the mixture looks thick and porridge like. I use normal corn meal, sometimes fine grind, sometimes corse grind depending on what I have. While on the farm I have been using two cups of goat milk and two cups of water for the liquid. At home (where goat milk is in much shorter supply) I usually use four cups of vegetable broth and then a little half and half or a tablespoon of butter added at the end.

For the Beans
I had leftover beans... They had no seasoning what so ever, so they were pretty bland. For this preparation I used two cups of cooked kidney beans and tossed them with a quarter cup of balsamic vinaigrette.

For the beet greens
Take all of the beet thinnings you have, or remove the tops of one large bunch of beets and use the root for something else. I might suggest beet feta gratin. Saute the greens and one or two minced cloves of garlic in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the bowl
For each bowl I used one cup of polenta, 1/2 cup of beans, and 1/4 of the available greens. I thought the assembled bowls were quite visually appealing.

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