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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Basic Polenta

9 Cups Water
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Cornmeal; coarse−grain


Bring water to a boil in a large heavy pot. Add salt and reduce heat until
water is simmering. Take cornmeal by the handful and add to water very
slowly, controlling the flow to a thin stream through your fingers. To avoid
lumps, stir quickly with a long handled wooden spoon while adding cornmeal.
If necessary, stop adding cornmeal from time to time and beat mixture
vigorously. Cook, stirring constantly, 20 to 30 minutes. Polenta will become
very thick while cooking. It is done when it comes away cleanly from the
sides of the pot. Pour polenta into a large wooden board or a large platter.
Wet your hands and smooth out polenta evenly, about 2 inches thick. Let cool
5 to 10 minutes or until polenta solidifies. Cut cooled polenta into slices
1 inch wide and 6 inches long. Place slices in individual dishes. Serve hot,
covered with your favorite sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Variation: Fried Polenta (Polenta Fritta): Prepare polenta and let cool
completely. Cut cooled polenta into slices 2 inches wide and 6 inches long.
Pour oil about 1 inch deep in a large skillet. Heat oil until a 1−inch cube
of bread turns golden almost immediately. Fry polenta slices on both sides
until light golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. It is importent to
insure the oil is hot enough, otherwise the polenta will absorb oil and your
polenta will be greasy and unpalatable.


1/2 Pound sliced Genoa salami
1 slicing tomato
1 large white onion
2 roasted red bell peppers
1 Pound sliced provolone
2 cans black & green pitted olives
1/2 Pound sliced Prosciutto
1 small jar of Pepperoncini peppers
2 stalks of celery
1 can of rolled anchovies
Mozzarella (your choice)
extra virgin olive oil


Use a long platter, and arrange in the following order:
Salami, provolone, tomato, onion, red peppers, and achovies. Put the baby corns
and olives in the center of tray. Take and cut in half celery sticks. Then
slice each again length wise. Arrange celery sticks in between each
antipasti. Sprinkle some salt lightly on everything. Then drizzle olive oil
on everything. Let the antipasti sit covered in the refrigerator till ready
to serve. Sitting helps enhance the flavors.

Soft pretzels


700g/11⁄2lb plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons softened butter, plus
a little extra, melted
225ml/8fl oz warm milk


• Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/
Gas mark 6. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
• Put about 125g/4oz of the flour, the sugar, salt, baking powder, yeast
and the 2 tablspoons softened butter in a large bowl. Mix until smooth
and the yeast starts to froth.
• Sift in the remaining flour, and continue mixing until a stiff dough forms.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and
allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
• Punch down the dough and knead for a minute or so. Divide into eight
equal pieces. Roll or cut each piece into a rope 45cm/18in long and
1cm/1⁄2in in diameter, and twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Allow to
rest for a couple of minutes.
• Using a slotted spoon or broad spatula, slide the pretzels into the boiling
water one at a time, and boil each one until they float to the top.
Remove immediately, drain off and transfer to the greased baking sheet.
• Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Brush the pretzels very
lightly with melted butter as they emerge from the oven. Serve warm.

Courgette fritters

                                                                         serves 6

100g/4oz self-raising flour
2 eggs, beaten
50ml/2fl oz milk
300g/11oz courgettes, grated (Zucchini)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

• Sift the flour into a large bowl, and
make a well in the centre. Add the
eggs to the well, and gradually
draw in the flour from the sides
using a wooden spoon.

• Slowly add the milk to the mixture,
stirring constantly to form a thick
batter. Add the courgettes and
thyme, season with salt and
pepper, and mix thoroughly.

• Heat the oil in a large heavy frying
pan until hot. Cooking in batches,
carefully drop in tablespoons of the
batter to make the fritters. Shallowfry
for 3 minutes on each side.
• Remove the fritters with a slotted
spoon, and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve hot.

Roast garlic toast

                                          serves 6

1 ciabatta loaf
2 whole garlic bulbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin
olive oil
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground
black pepper

• Preheat grill to high.
• Slice off the tops of the garlic bulbs. Leave the cloves whole with their skins on.
• Brush with some of the olive oil. Wrap the garlic bulbs in foil with 3 sprigs of the rosemary. Grill for 25 minutes, turning occasionally.
• Slice the bread and brush each slice with olive oil, then lightly toast both sides under the hot grill.
• Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins onto the toast.
• Chop the leaves of the remaining rosemary sprigs, and sprinkle over the toast. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and serve warm or hot.

Leek & Potato soup

serves 4

50g/2oz butter
450g/1lb leeks, trimmed and
finely sliced
700g/11⁄2lb potatoes, roughly
900ml/11⁄2pt vegetable stock
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
450ml/3⁄4pt milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
salt and ground black pepper

• Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and sweat gently for
5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes, stock, rosemary and
milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for
20–25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat.

• Cool for 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary, then pour into a blender or
food processor, and purée until smooth. Return to a clean pan, and stir in
the parsley and crème fraîche. Season to taste.

Reheat gently and serve.


Serves 4

•2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred or sifted before measuring
•2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•3 tablespoons granulated sugar
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•2 large eggs
•1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
•2 tablespoons melted butter


Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk; add to flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Blend in melted butter. If the batter seems too thick to pour, add a little more milk. Cook on a hot, greased griddle, using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, a little dry around the edges, and lightly browned on the bottom; turn and brown the other side. Recipe for pancakes