Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to Make Creamy Polenta

Creamy Polenta photo by Candy Dorsey
Polenta has a reputation for being difficult, hard to work with and must be watched constantly. None of those things are true, unless you think occasionally stirring something in a pan is problematic. Polenta is easy to make, there is absolutely no prep time and the result is a smooth and silky delight. It's perfect for breakfast or a side dish at dinner.
I made this Creamy Polenta for breakfast and topped it with chorizo (I love chorizo, I would put it on ice cream) and paired it with a Clementine and yogurt.


The simple ratio to remember is:

4 parts liquid to 1 part corn meal


Liquids to use could be: water, milk, chicken or vegetable stock.

For this recipe I used:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal

Directions:

In a medium saucepan bring chicken stock to a boil then pour in corn meal. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon to break up lumps. When it starts to pop lower heat to low and let cook for about 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the corn meal is creamy.

Add any toppings or mix in shredded cheddar or grated parmesan. There are no rules!

Enjoy!



Monday, October 9, 2017

La Scala Chopped Salad

Chopped Salads were all the rage during the mid-twentieth century but, for some reason that I can't explain, they fell out of favor. Not at La Scala Restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA. Chopped Salad is still on their menu and it's one of the many items the restaurant is famous for. While most salads use large pieces of lettuce leaves, chopped salad is exactly what the name implies. La Scala chops lettuce into fine pieces then serves it in a mound with marinated garbanzo beans on top. La Scala's Chopped Salad is magnificent in its simplicity.  Here's my copycat recipe!

Start by mixing all the marinade ingredients, then add the garbanzo beans. Let that rest while you prepare the salad.

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans/chick peas, thoroughly rinsed and drained

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. Genoa salami, julienned
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, julienned
This is how you want the salad ingredients to look. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to distribute evenly. Then add garbanzo beans and marinade, toss to coat.


Or you can serve individually in a mound topped with garbanzos. That's how La Scala serves individual portions.

Enjoy!



   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cajun Sliders

Cajun Sliders photo by Candy Dorsey


I love sliders mostly because they're just so cute but besides that, they're just the right size. If one isn't enough then have 2 or 3 more. I made these a little on the spicy side but you can adjust the heat to your liking.








Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 3 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay
  • 1 tsp. red pepper sauce
  • oil for frying (vegetable or canola)
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
Shape into balls no bigger than a walnut, then flatten into patties in the palm of your hand.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet. Place patties in skillet and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Carefully flip and brown the other side for 3 more minutes.

Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
Serve on dinner rolls or miniature hamburger buns with all your favorite burger toppings and sides.


Would you like Cole Slaw on the side?  Or maybe Amish Onion Fritters?


  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mexican Corn Soup - Sopa de Maiz

Mexican Corn Soup - Sopa de Maiz photo by Candy Dorsey

I love soup any time of the year but frankly, autumn and winter seem to say 'hot soup'. One thing I never, ever do is buy canned soup for any reason. I don't use it as base for casseroles either. Truth is, I haven't opened a can of soup in about 40 years. Yes really! So, here is my recipe for Sopa de Maiz.






Ingredients:

  • 2 cups corn, frozen is okay
  • 1 cup homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (plus a little extra for garnish)
  • 1 cup salsa (hot, medium or mild.  It's up to you)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Puree corn and stock in blender or food processor, just enough to get the kernels broken down but still visible.
In a medium saucepan combine butter and corn mixture. Simmer until butter is melted, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Add shredded cheese and salsa. Cook and stir until soup gets slightly thick. About 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls or cups and garnish with shredded cheese and anything else you might have on hand. I had red bell pepper left over from another recipe.

Enjoy!



Monday, October 2, 2017

Struffoli - Italian Honey Balls



Struffoli, another one of those fantastic sweets that my Italian family made for Christmas. It's just little balls of fried dough covered with honey then decorated with colored sprinkles. It can be shaped into a wreath, piled high like a Christmas tree or served in a bowl. After a big Christmas dinner, everybody sits around the table talking and nibbling on the little balls of honey.






Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • colored sprinkles or red and green sugar crystals

Directions:

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix until blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board, kneading until smooth. Add more flour a little at a time if the dough becomes sticky.
Shape dough into a ball, cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces, rolling the pieces into a ball as you go. (The balls don't have to be perfectly round).

Heat oil to 370ยบ. Gently and carefully drop dough balls into oil and fry until golden. About 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oil and place on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Continue with remaining dough.

In a shallow pan or skillet, heat honey just to a simmer. Remove from heat and add struffoli, mix well.
Pile struffoli onto a serving platter and shape as desired. Decorate with sprinkles.  

Let the nibbling begin!



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