Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

Leave a comment

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

1-4-16 (75)

1-4-16 (112)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

1-4-16 (68)

1-4-16 (97)

What you see pictured here are actually grits.  Grits are the same as polenta but more coarsely ground.  And – if you are interested, yellow grits have fewer calories than white.  I used Red Mill grits (seen below in a photo I took from Google).

grits

12-23-15 (26)

They cooked up nice & creamy in less than ten minutes.  The polenta I used for my Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze – seen above – took longer but I cooked that in a slow cooker, so you could argue it was easier.

I really like grits (polenta) in pretty much any form (the soupier cream of wheat style being my favorite) and leftovers bake up will into delicious & guiltless fries (below).

12-28-15 (22)

0403

But – polenta can be served soft & creamy or in harder patties & it can be topped with just about anything.  If you eat seafood – Shrimp & Grits are pretty amazing.  But this dish here is very simple & straight-forward & delicious.  It comes together in the time it takes to cook your grits – and that depends on what brand you buy.

1-4-16 (70)

1-4-16 (73)

Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Polenta for 2 (this amount is your call- based on your appetite but know packaging usually defines a serving as smaller than is realistic – so err on the side of making too much & make baked fries out of the leftovers)

Mushrooms – I’d go with 8oz per person because mushrooms really shrink – sliced

Olive oil

1 or more garlic cloves (depending entirely on your taste for garlic) – minced

1-2 TBS fresh thyme removed from stems

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

S&P

Fresh parsley – chopped

NOTE: If you want more flavorful grits – use vegetable stock rather than water when you make them.

1-4-16 (71)

1-4-16 (81)

1-4-16 (62)

1-4-16 (64)

1-4-16 (65)

1-4-16 (66)

1-4-16 (108)

DIRECTIONS

Cook the grits/polenta according to instructions.  If it gets too thick – just add more water.

Meanwhile – heat 2 TBS olive oil in a pan over high heat & add the mushrooms.  Leave them in a pan a few minutes at a time without stirring to sear them.  When they are tender & browning, add the garlic & thyme.  Cook for 1-2 minutes (do not burn the garlic or it gets bitter) then add the balsamic.  It will cook off fast.  Add S&P.

Serve over polenta.  Garnish with parsley.

1-4-16 (99)

1-4-16 (104)

1-4-16 (120)

Easy Vegan Baked Polenta Fries

3 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

12-28-15 (14)

12-28-15 (30)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

12-23-15 (26)

I made Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze (seen above) the other day but I had a ton of leftover polenta.  What to do with it?  Once polenta gets cold – it sets – so I packed it into a greased loaf pan & chilled it.  Then – I flipped it onto a cutting board & sliced it up to make baked fries & they were TREMENDOUS!   Nearly guiltless, crunchy & crispy yummy!  I dipped one batch in ketchup & another in a warm & spicy pasta sauce.  You could use any dip that floats your boat but these are really easy & delightful to I recommend them very highly!  You can either make fresh polenta or buy some premade in a tube – the latter ratcheting up the simplicity of this recipe exponentially.  The fresh polenta that I used came together (polenta & stock) in a slow cooker in two hours, though, so it isn’t like fresh polenta is labor intensive.  I only seasoned with S&P but fresh herbs might make these that much more elegant.

12-28-15 (33)

12-28-15 (26)

Easy Vegan Baked Polenta Fries

Some prepared polenta  (from a tube – or my slow cooker recipe for the polenta is HERE)

S&P

Cooking spray (I used olive oil cooking spray)

Parchment paper (optional but awesome)

12-28-15 (1)

12-28-15 (50)

12-28-15 (7)

12-28-15 (8)

12-28-15 (9)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut your polenta into fries & place on parchment paper or directly on a greased cooking sheet.  Spray with cooking oil & add S&P.

Bake for 20-30 minutes – flipping once – or until cooked to your desire.  See?  EASY!  Now – get your ass to dipping these motherfuckers!

12-28-15 (10)

Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

2 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

12-23-15 (24)

12-23-15 (23)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

12-23-15 (33)

Once again, I created a dish out of an effort to use what I had on hand and, I must admit, I am quite delighted.  I had a bag of polenta from the bulk section at Lassen’s (a store that is a wonderland of healthy foods but 1) mixes meat & vegan items in the same cases & it can get confusing and 2) is SO FUCKING claustrophobic that I am in a mild panic the whole time I am there).  I also had some roasted beets I needed to use.  Voila!

I am a huge fan of both polenta & grits (grits being the same thing, really, but just not as finely ground).  I especially like them creamy & soft – like a porridge.  Most polenta & grits recipes have cheese in them & you can certainly add cheese but this didn’t need it.  AND – I cooked the polenta in my slow cooker while I went spinning this morning!  I came home, exhausted, to a vat of steaming, creamy polenta.  Win win!

If you are not vegan, some crumbled goat cheese on this would be divine!  Actually – they make lots of vegan cheeses that are like goat cheese or Boursin & a little bit of one of those might be a nice addition to this dish.   If you don’t like or don’t have walnuts – I think pistachios would be better, anyway – I just didn’t have any.  Oh – and polenta is naturally gluten-free.  This is a very low fat recipe but is warm & hearty & great for winter weather.  If you really want to get all cold-weather crazy – stir a small can of pumpkin puree into the polenta.   Yuuuum!

I used this balsamic glaze (below) but a balsamic reduction is VERY easy to make.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Simply boil a nice balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your pizza – just boil down some more.  Be careful not to burn it! I used about a tablespoon of the reduction on this polenta.

12-23-15 (6)

12-23-15 (11)

12-23-15 (15)

Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

This makes enough polenta to feed 4 easily.  The quantity of the toppings is up to you.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dry polenta

8 cups vegetable stock

Beets

Walnuts (or pistachios)

Fresh thyme removed from stems

Balsamic glaze (see recipe above if you want to make it yourself)

(Adding vegan goat cheese – or any other very soft cheese) at the end with the beets & nuts would take this to the next level.  Fried sage – in place of the thyme – might also be nice.)

12-23-15 (27)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

I cooked my polenta in a slow cooker by simply putting the polenta & stock in there, setting it on high (cover on) and two hours later – I had a lot of creamy goodness.  If it gets too thick, add more water or stock.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer (taking the top off accelerates this process).

OR – cook your polenta according to the package (using stock rather than water).  Stove top – this should take 30-40 minutes.

Wrap beets well in foil. You might want to drizzle a bit of olive oil in there but that is not necessary.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until beets are slightly soft to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool beets and then rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).

Toast the nuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes – stirring frequently so they do not burn.  Set aside.

Now – assemble your bowls.  Spoon in the polenta, top with beets & nuts & a drizzle of balsamic glaze & some thyme leaves.  Add cheese – if you are using some.  I did not.

Eat’m up!

12-23-15 (18)

12-23-15 (30)

Gluten-Free Polenta Crust Pizza & Pizza Towers

1 Comment

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

This couldn’t be much easier to make – unless you just bought a pre-made pizza.  Polenta (the quick cook kind) is done in 5 minutes.  Or – you could buy it like this:

Image

If you buy it like that – then these are just really glorified English muffin pizzas.  SO EASY!  If you buy instant polenta like this:

Image

then it comes together in about 5 minutes for a more traditional pizza – like I posted above.  For the towers – you need to chill it in the fridge for a while (30 minutes?) til it sets – like this:

Image

See?  I just poured it into a container – chilled it – then sliced it up & cut rounds with a cookie cutter (or the top of a glass).  The chilled polenta lasts for days & can be used to make little pizzas on the spur of the moment.

ImageImage

ImageImage

I added a TBS or two of fresh thyme to my polenta as it cooked.  This is totally optional.

ImageImage

So – calling this a recipe is overstating things.  I used some homemade red sauce that I had around.  You can use your favorite recipe (I have a 5-Minute arrabiata here & also a marinara) or a jarred version.

I used a combination of fresh mozzarella & Parmesan.  You can use any cheese or any other pizza toppings you desire.  I added fresh basil (and I recommend this as it really does add a lot) and a few sprigs of arugula.  Both of these are optional.  I found the larger pizza to be a bit more moist than I would have preferred so I really suggest the little mini pizzas over the larger one – even if you do not care to present them in tower form.  I’ve been popping little cookie-sized pizzas into my mouth all weekend.  I recommend it highly!

ImageImage

Gluten-Free Polenta Crust Pizza & Pizza Towers

INGREDIENTS

Polenta (either pre-made or instant made as the package instructs)

Fresh thyme – optional (add to the polenta as it cooks)

Tomato sauce and/or sliced fresh tomatoes

Pizza cheese

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh basil and/or arugula – shredded as garnish

ImageImage

DIRECTIONS

Make the polenta & either take a portion & spread it into a 1/4 inch pizza crust on a greased sheet or pan covered in parchment paper.  Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the edges crisp.

ImageImage

Top the pizza with sauce, tomatoes & cheese & cook until the cheese is melted & beginning to brown.  Garnish with basil and/or arugula & eat it up!  OR!

ImageImage

Chill the polenta until it is firm (maybe 30 minutes – or overnight).  Slice it to your desired thickness & (optionally) cut it into little rounds.  Or – just open that pre-made tube of polenta and slice that fucker up.

Image

Place on a greased cooking sheet or on parchment covered pan.  I then doused mine with crushed red pepper.

ImageImage

Bake these at 450 degrees for about ten minutes & then top them with sauce & cheese.

ImageImageImageImageImage

Then bake until they look done to your eye.

Image

You can garnish them with basil & arugula & serve them like this or let them cool for about a minute & stack them.  You will likely need a toothpick spiked through the center to keep them from sliding into a gooey mess.  Whatever you decide – pop open a bottle of wine & get your munch on!

ImageImage