Trying out recipes to pass on to you.

dave lieberman’s creamy parmesan polenta

Posted: July 12th, 2009 | Author: leah | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments »

by request of Bakezilla¬†(check our her fab blog), i’m happy to share with you the 99%** no fail Creamy Parmesan Polenta.

for some people it’s mac and cheese. for others it’s risotto. for me polenta is about as comforting comfort food as you can get and this recipe from Dave Lieberman’s Young and Hungry cookbook was the first i tried and the one i go back to.

if you grew up with hot cereals like grits, malt-o-meal or cream of wheat you get the consistency you’re going for. cheese grits is a common breakfast menu item in the south (maybe other regions) and even though the basic idea is always the same everyone prides themselves on their version and accompaniments. i encourage you to do the same.

For two hearty servings of parmesan polenta:

1/2 cup instant polenta (it’s ground cornmeal and cm can be subbed but i buy Roland brand usually near the italian foods like sauces, pasta, pine nuts, etc.)

1/3 cup grated parmesan

2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

combine the polenta with 2 cups of water. bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. as the mixture starts to thicken, add the parmesan and butter. continue stirring until the polenta becomes fully cooked and thick, about 3-4 minutes. season with salt and pepper to taste.

serve immediately. once it cools it is chunky, not creamy. but you’ll want to eat it warm.

add more butter, more cheese, try another cheese, stir in herbs. would be good with shrimp. i often serve with steak in place of baked or mashed potatoes.


** the last time i made this polenta it tasted like soap. i used the same pan as always, same ingredients. added cheddar cheese. the consistency was perfect. i’ve come to think it might have been…..soap residue in the pan. bah!

pay more than $2 for steak, trust me

Posted: July 9th, 2009 | Author: leah | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

sometimes…recipes are silly. they look good on paper. but during the execution a step might make you stop and say “why?” like buying chives or parsley only to realize it’s just to sprinkle on the top….no real flavor purpose.

i wanted to add a beef to my ‘cheap week’ and all i had to buy here was the steak and a can of diced tomatoes. and doesn’t “Pan-Seared Steak with Pizzaiola” sound….fun? apparently the pizzaiola is a type of red “sauce” but i don’t get how it added to this dish at all. strike 1.

this recipe called for a rib-eye but i took a hint from Clean Eating Magazine and bought eye of round cuts. VERY lean and about 150 calories per 4 oz serving it said. problem is less fat means less flavor and less juicy. strike 2.

looks purdy like the mag pic, yeah? well tasted like a magazine page. in case of emergency i also made (normally no fail) cheesy polenta. kind of like cheesy grits. i made them the way i always do and….they tasted like soap!? i added salt. more pepper. another hunk of butter. grated some cheddar in the with parm already mixed in. soap. strike 3.

you wins some, you lose some. here is the LINKto the full recipe in case you think you can improve this somehow.

Hubs meter: he dutifully chewed. and CHEWED. he might still be chewing. let’s save the embarrassment of asking and give this a 1 star rating.

Price meter: this is mostly spices, garlic and olive oil. your cut of meat will make a difference. $4.29 got me 3 nice sized eye of round steaks. a can of name brand dice tomatoes was$1.35. divide that by 3= $1.88. of course you will need to add one heck of a side dish or dessert to make up for this mess.

Health meter: we’ll go with “good.” a lean cut of meat is going to give you vitamins and protein without all the fat and cholesterol. and we know tomatoes are a super food. the lack of taste here will send you to the¬†cupboard for cookies later…so it’s a toss up.

So what did we learn this week:

A) it’s fun to try new things

B) planning a menu ahead of time saves money and frustration. we’re talking $19 for 2 people to eat 4 meals this week. and 1 trip to the store. keep your pantry and fridge stocked with some basics. an inspirational (or “duh!”) article HERE:

and C) go with the flow. sometimes you’ll have a hit. sometimes you’ll have a flop. and there’s always pizza delivery. that’s my recovery plan :)