Archive for the ‘Polenta’ Category

There is a reason that street foods are eternal and craved relentlessly; they’re just damned good.  When you load your diet with legumes, you’re always after new ways to be creative with them.  In my opinion, the queen bean is without a doubt the garbanzo.  Call it ceci, chickpea or Bengal gram, it’s still the reigning sovereign of many vegan’s diets and a favorite of omnivores the world over. 

Here I celebrate and pay homage to panelle, a Sicilian street eat that is traditionally served as a simple sandwich filling on a bun.  One of the reasons that I love panelle so much is because, when pan-fried and warm,  it has that contrasting textural thing going on with the crispy edges and a velvety soft interior.  It is, hands down, a great sandwich.

Panelle [Chickpea Polenta]


1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Olive oil


Slowly add broth to the flour while whisking to avoid lumps.  Add in the oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring the entire time.   (It does not need to boil and shall spit molten chickpea lava at you if you do let it boil, so be careful.)  It is going to be very thick once finished but you want it to have that consistency because you want a substantial texture for a sandwich filling.

Transfer panelle to a non-stick pan and tamp down with a spatula. (I used a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil.)  Place into the refrigerator until chilled solid.  Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  You can either pan fry in oil (as is traditional) to crisp it up or do as I did and simply give a quick spray of olive oil to each slice and place in a pan until the sides are golden.

As always, my predilection for the savory-sweet combination shines through here.  I like to add a nice slather of apricot jam to my panelle sandwich, though it’s entirely up to you how you wish to assemble your own masterpiece.


[This slightly-modified post/recipe was originally published at VelvetPark last year.  I wanted it here, on my personal blog, because it is one of my favorites and I felt it was important to include it here in my collection/index.]

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This dish was the result of another farmer’s market excursion.  It’s still early in the season but a produce stall had some lovely baby turnips with greens attached and a neighboring vendor sold us some Walla Walla spring onions.  The mushroom vendor had the most gorgeous fresh and local morel mushrooms that we decided to splurge and indulge ourselves in this treat.  Here in Washington state, organic pears and apples abound and, as you’ve noticed by now,  make a frequent addition to our meals in some form or another. 


Mushroom, Turnip and Pear Ragout


½ lb morel mushrooms

1 bunch baby turnips with greens

2 large Walla Walla spring onions, sliced

1 red pear, quartered and diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup vegetable broth

Coconut oil


Cut the morel mushrooms in half and lightly dust with a little bit of whole wheat flour [this will create a gravy later on], salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Remove the turnip greens and wash.  Chop the greens and set aside.  Cut the turnips into quarters and set aside.

Add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil to a hot pan and add the sliced onions.  Sauté until the onions are softened.  Add the garlic and turnips.  Continue to cook over medium heat until the turnips begin to caramelize.  Add the pear.  Once the pear has caramelized, add the morels.  Mix well and turn often to fully expose the mushrooms to the pan.  Once the mushrooms begin to wilt, add the broth and  turnip greens and cover.  Simmer until the broth has thickened into a gravy.  Season with salt and pepper.

This was wonderful served over some soft polenta.

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This is the meal D and I had for Christmas Day dinner. Coincidentally, it was so good and there was enough left over that we had it again tonight! I said to D, after scooping the last bit in my bowl onto my spoon, “I don’t know how anyone could not like collard greens.” Sure, where I’m from in the South, collard greens are a sloppy, almost brown in color, inedible side dish served in some generic chain restaurant (like Cracker Barrel), and most people I know wouldn’t touch ’em with a ten foot pole. But, I betcha if they’d all try it like this, their opinions would change. I know mine did. The currants in the dish add a lovely, nice, sporadic touch of sweetness.

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