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nutella pound cake

November 30th, 2011 | 5 Comments »

Pretty fantastic ending….. wouldn’t you agree???

There is a class of food folks that live for dessert. No meal is complete without some amazing sweet at the end of it- a slice of cake, a bowl of ice cream, some creamy gelato, a chewy brownie or a few crisp cookies; there is just no way any good meal is worth it’s weight in gustatory delights without dessert.

I do love something sweet at the end of a meal, but it doesn’t need to be anything very fancy. A cookie or a piece of really good chocolate is sufficient. We don’t have cake around unless it’s a special occasion or I get fixated on bundt cakes, and I can make a slice of banana bread, or sweet potato bread into a delightful ending to a meal. Brownies? Hello! Love them. Still, once I’m through with a wonderful meal, and feel stuffed to the gills with good food, dessert becomes an afterthought.

This Nutella Pound Cake is an amazing dessert. It’s amazing any time of day; with coffee in the morning, with afternoon tea, as a late night snack. It’s perfect because it’s rich, luscious and indulgent, certainly not something out of an ordinary day. Don’t slaughter me…. but I’ve never really been on the whole Nutella bandwagon. I don’t get vapors over the stuff, and once I used part of the jar for this recipe, the rest sat in my fridge and languished, untouched. For more than a month, in fact. This cake was excellent, but it’s a pound cake. Butter. Sugar. What’s not to adore about that? The Nutella was a bonus.

This recipe graced my blog just about two years ago. And I felt it to be a fitting end to National Blog Posting Month, my third go-round of posting every day for November. I’ve shared some good recipes with you, and this one needs another look. It’s that time of year when special treats are brought out, even ones as indulgent as a pound cake with half a jar of Nutella swirled through it.  This would be a wonderful treat to make as a gift, or to bring to work to share with co-workers as  a means of saying ‘Thank you’ for the past year. Share it with family. Bring a loaf to a treasured friend. Make one for a neighbor that needs a boost, or someone who hasn’t got the ability to make themselves a homemade treat. The recipe can be broken down in to smaller loaf pans, perfect for sharing. And any Nutella that’s left in your fridge? Well, I hope yours doesn’t sit for a month, ignored.

Onward in to December!!!!

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake

4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. unbleached AP flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1-1/4 c. sugar
1 13-oz jar Nutella spread

Heat oven to 325°. Spray a 9×5 cake pan with cooking spray. Dust with flour. Fill a bowl with hot tap water and place entire jar of Nutella in it to soften. Place the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Blend dry ingredients together in another small bowl.

In a stand mixer, blend the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides at least twice. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the egg mixture in a steady stream, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, about a half cup at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. After the last addition, blend the full mixture together for 30 seconds on medium speed. {{Be sure to scrape across the bottom of the mixer bowl too. Lots of stuff gets unmixed down in there.}}

Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with a spatula. With a clean spatula, spread half the Nutella on the batter and smooth. Add in another 1/3 of the cake batter, then the remaining Nutella. Spread the last of the cake batter on the top. With a clean butter knife, swirl the batter and Nutella together to create a marbling effect. Don’t overmix the two! {{Kate’s Notes: The ‘spreading’ of the Nutella is impossible; try warming the mixture and drizzling it for ease. And I think the cake would come out better if you DON’T swirl the mixture, but that’s just my thoughts}}

Bake the cake until it’s golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. This cake tastes excellent after spending a night in the refrigerator, wrapped tight in plastic. I don’t know why. But trust me on that. {{Yes, trust us on this; WAY better chilled. As in OMG I could eat the entire thing COLD it’s so good.}}

From Food and Wine magazine, originally by Lauren Chattman, Cake Keeper Cakes

 

COMPLETED!!!!

 

moments

November 29th, 2011 | Comments Off

There are moments, as someone’s Mom, that you can’t change regardless of how much you wish you could.

The fall on the concrete, scrapes to the face and nose and a mouthful of sand.

Slipping on ice and little teeth slamming down on a tender lip; blood….. so much blood. And a scar for life.

A door accidentally shut on curious fingers.

Oh my poor heart as a competent nurse holds down my trusting baby…. my baby! and jams sharp needles in to both his chubby thighs. Watching that face crumple and the shrieks that rip in two your poor Mama’s heart.

The betrayal of a friend, the first of so many that will inevitably come. Or the good friend that moves away, and suddenly, there is loss.

The taunting of classmates, horrible teasing, the story of having a chair pulled out from underneath and hitting his head, or a mean kid pushing his face in to a pile of mashed potatoes at lunch while everyone laughs. The way he bravely tried to hold back tears as your heart sinks to your feet.

A biological parent that makes such terrible and dangerous choices that you can only withdraw and walk away. Far, far, far away. Setting boundaries you wish you never had to lay down, to say to a broken heart “I can’t let Daddy come back any longer.”

A grandpa who won’t drive to your new home, saying ‘It’s too far.’ as an excuse not to come around any longer.

Your heart breaks because it has to, because you can’t protect from all those moments, those times of self-growth and change and the hatred in the world for anything that is out of the ordinary, or extraordinary, as it would be. Your heart breaks when your flesh and blood begin to learn of how the world can wrench you in two and tear at your soul. You can’t protect or insulate them from life, the pain, the betrayals and poor choices. You can’t stop the hurt that others inflict. You can’t change the inevitable march to adulthood, with the sorrows and sadness and aches in the heart and you can’t even begin to comprehend how much you hurt when they hurt, how much you wish for that magic to wave away the unfairness.

They break. You break. They recover and you still break. Each year, each new moment is one slippage of time which could break a heart that may never forget, criss-crossed with scars. You step back, you grit your teeth and send them forward

Because it’s what a parent does.

Just Write Tuesday, over at The Extraordinary Ordinary, is on Week 12.

slow cooked comfort

November 28th, 2011 | Comments Off

Long slow cooking processes make some of the most intensely satisfying meals, especially on a chilly day. Something simmering on the stovetop, or in a crockpot or oven has a soothing effect against a cold wind knocking the windows, lashing bare branches about.

One of my most favorite meals as a kid was our regular pot roast night. We had one at least once a week, as a thick cut of chuck roast, along with a whole slew of potatoes and carrots, made an easy meal that every one of my siblings and I devoured. It’s pretty hard to mess up too; a slow cooking time is all you really need, along with something to make the meat taste wonderful. The quickest way I found to give the meat ultimate taste is to braise it slowly in a bottle of deep red wine.

The meat becomes meltingly tender, so tender that the slightest pressure from a fork breaks it easily into chunks of rich, beefy flavor. Get yourself an inexpensive bottle of good, dark red wine for this dish; I’d use any type of bargain Cabernet Sauvignon, a decent Pinot Noir, good hearty Malbec or Carmenere or a lush Portugese red table wine. Any dark red Spanish wines will complement this as well. You want good earthy flavor for beef; the fruit-forward red wines don’t make for the best pairing here.

I like to saute several onions until they are deeply caramelized and dark brown. This will develop a great deal of flavor for the base of your dish. Use an oven-safe pan to do this, then when you are all done with the browning, you can cover it and put it right in the oven. After you sear the onions (and some garlic) scrape them in to a bowl, then sear the meat to a rich brown on both sides. Remove that to a plate, add the entire bottle of red wine and scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Put the meat and the caramelized onions back in the pan, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on it, then cover it and place it in a low oven, 300°-325° to just let the oven slowly work it’s magic on the mixture. Check it after two hours or so; if a fork slips right through it with little resistance, and the meat falls apart easily, it’s done. If not, replace the cover and continue cooking to those results.

And I really don’t need to suggest what you eat this amazing dish with, do I? {{hint: it’s a tuberous vegetable that rhymes with tomatoes}}

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this dish, several years, in fact. I probably wouldn’t make it now, unless it was specially requested by Griffin. This was a favorite for him too. That boy and his beef are a complimentary pair.

{{Just TWO more days of NaBloPoMo 2011!!}}

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

celebrating the abundance

November 27th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

The very first time I did NaBloPoMo, it was in 2007 and I used the theme of ‘Food Holidays’ to blog about every day. Did you know that just about every day of the month, and every month in a year has a national food holiday?

For instance, November is National Pecan Month, Good Nutrition Month, National Peanut Butter Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, Raisin Bread Month and Vegan Month.

{{if you’re interested in learning about ALL the monthly celebrations…. go here}}

I first learned about these many years ago when I worked for a produce company and wrote their weekly marketing report. And having those daily prompts to write about made the very first NaBloPoMo really easy to navigate. Since then, I’ve focused on re-introducing past recipes to everyone.

And my Recipe Index has A LOT to showcase. But lately, my eating habits have turned in a new direction, and by the first of the year [[hopefully... right honey??]] my blog will turn in a new direction too, with a re-worked design and a more streamlined Recipe Index that’s much easier to navigate. And in doing so, I plan to likely wipe out several years worth of posts and recipes that have become irrelevant.

If you haven’t been around this blog long, and let’s face it, blog readers are flighty; they come, stay awhile then flit away to the next best thing. But without that history, it’s easy to consider eliminating what you don’t know is there.  I’ve been writing for 5-1/2 years. No one who hangs with me now goes back that far, and frankly, that’s fine with me. The first few years of this blog are scattered, unfocused and raw; like life itself, really, they lacked any kind of direction and my photos were terrible. I’d no more introduce you to those posts than I would eat a block of Velveeta. So, onward and upward.

There is a lot, each year, that I am so thankful to have in my life, and although it’s been the source of a great deal of angst and hair-twisting anxiety for me, this blog is one of them. In going back over the recipes I’ve collected, I’ve watched my life, and my eating habits unfold, change, grow and mature since 2006. I’ve seen photos turn from something that evokes a cringe and an ‘Oh dear….’ to a gasp and a ‘Wow’. I’ve seen recipes develop, tastes change and habits both form and disappear. Friends have come and gone, and family still opens the site with each new post. My boy has turned from a budding adolescent to a mature young man, and Mike and I covered a lot of ground together through these pages.

There is gratitude this time of year, and then there’s celebration, of the abundance, the fruits of our year of laboring through life, the joys of another bountiful harvest (or so it was, in the past) and it all comes together with feasting and family. The personal harvest this year, for me, has been a new-found level of health and well-being, new friends that are blessing me continually, and a bit more financial security, now that I’m working again. In years past, the last few months on the calendar have been filled with panic and fear. This year, these weeks feel much more calm, with far less anxiety. I’m so grateful for that presence in my life. I’m grateful for the willingness from Griffin to explore and be open to navigating the changes in our kitchen as we embarked on healthier eating; I’m grateful for the farmers who worked so hard to share the bounty with us, and I’m grateful for the ability to stretch, explore and learn about new foods, new ways to consume familiar options and the creativity to make it all delicious, fun and flavorful.

 

 

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

thanksgiving recovery

November 26th, 2011 | Comments Off

Thanksgiving is over, and with it goes the indulgent meals and heavy, rich food. I was exhausted by the time dinner was over on Thursday, and was asleep by 9pm or so. The following day, Mike and I took a nice hike through Otter Lake Regional Park, stretching our legs, pumping oxygen and working off the calories from the day before. It felt really good, but later in the afternoon, a mix of hunger and nausea took over my belly. I felt shaky and off, and I felt like my tummy desperately needed something other than rich carbs.

Thankfully there was a large bag of kale in the refrigerator, and some rutabagas that needed to be consumed. These rutabagas had begun to look a little unusual on the counter.

So I chopped them, seasoned them and placed them in a hot oven to roast. Then an entire pile of kale went in to a hot skillet to slowly braise.

I’ve really grown to enjoy kale this past year, and have found that when I let it cook slowly in a little liquid for about 20 minutes or so, it becomes silky and tender and incredibly flavorful. Recently I learned that coconut milk makes for a delicious addition on that kale, and last night, on a whim, I shook some curry powder in to the pan, as well as a can of chickpeas.

With a small pile of roasted rutabagas and a mound of this steaming kale, fragrant and lush, my belly began to forgive the indulgence of Thanksgiving and settle down to it’s more normal state. It was satisfying without being heavy or overwhelming to the body. And I felt stabilized, even-keeled. My hands stopped shaking and the nausea went away completely so that I was able to take a trip to the shopping mall with Griffin so he could buy a book he’s been wanting and spend a little bit of quality time with him.

The procedure for this method of cooking kale is quite simple. Heat a little oil in a large deep skillet and saute a few cloves of minced garlic for a minute or two. Add the kale in handfuls, stirring to sear; I used about a half pound of it and like any other dark leafy green, it will overwhelm the skillet at first, but cook down to a manageable amount in no time. Stir and cook the kale until it’s all turned a rich deep green, about 5 minutes. Add a half cup of water and cover the pan, allowing the kale to simmer on a low temp, and stirring the pot occasionally. You do this for about 20 minutes, adding more water if needed to keep the kale moist. Taste a few leaves to insure that it’s tender and not at all rough any longer. If you wish to use coconut milk instead of water, it adds a lot of terrific flavor. For this batch, I used about a half a can of it, plus a tablespoon or two of curry powder, and one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. It was divine. To reduce the liquid, simply take off the cover and let it cook down a bit before you eat.

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DO OR EAT THE DAY AFTER A HOLIDAY TO RECOVER FROM OVERINDULGENCE???

 

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

on a learning curve

November 25th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

My new camera and I are getting along nicely, but it’s a whole new world to me, one I’m trying hard to get accustomed with. I am taking A LOT of photos, and then, deleting a lot of photos. I shoot in ‘Automatic’, watching the meter to see what it’s doing, then I switch to ‘Manual’ and try to adjust settings and make it work. Sometimes it’s ok……

And then sometimes it just doesn’t. That’s when I just delete more than I keep.

And then, I get really lucky, and all the stars align.


And once in a while, I capture something that makes my heart stand still……

It’s a learning process, and I’m ok with that. I know it will take time and experience to help bring out the best of this amazing gift and I’ve got plenty of that. And even though it might seem a bit crazy, my new camera has a name, Clara, and like having a new baby around, it’s a time of getting to know one another.

I know there are beautiful times ahead for both of us.

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

{{only five  (5)  days left of NaBloPoMo 2011}}

thankful….

November 24th, 2011 | Comments Off

For the many blessings in my life…….

For the abundance that sustains us, the grace that guides us, the joy that fills us, and the friends that warm us.

May you all have a blessed and delicious Thanksgiving!!

 

 


thanksgiving leftovers

November 23rd, 2011 | 2 Comments »

There’s almost as much talk about re-purposing leftovers from Thanksgiving as there is talk of how to prepare the meal. Everyone loves something unique about the Thanksgiving meal; for one person it’s the succulent bird, for another they can’t get enough of the stuffing (or dressing, depending on regional dialect). Someone else loves the potatoes, or the vegetables, or sweet potatoes or dessert.

Thankfully, it’s a meal with appeal. To everyone. One of my favorites aspects of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I do love a good aromatic, herb infused stuffing and every year I create a masterpiece with cornbread, fresh croutons and herbs, lots of celery and onion and a good dosing of broth. Rarely is it ever the same twice. But this year, because of my work schedule, I made a purchase of prepared stuffing from the deli at the grocery store where I work. I had reservations about this, especially with the final price, but for me, I’ve worked every day for the last week straight. I’ve been on my feet constantly, getting home well after dinner. That’s life in the grocery business. The last thing I want to do tomorrow is rise early in the morning tomorrow and cook all day. Cooking is a pleasure for me, but when I’m worn out, it’s really the last thing I want to do. My boy is willing to help me out this year, and with him being home all day, I can assign him tasks to make tomorrow easier for all of us. Still, I bit the bullet and bought some stuffing to lessen the task list.

But that stuffing, back to the topic at hand, is still a favorite for leftover use. I love to take a handful of it the next day, press it in to a cake and sear it in a pan for breakfast, topping it with a cooked egg. Mashed potatoes are good for this too. Dredge a potato patty in seasoned flour and sear in butter until a golden crust forms. Then flip it and repeat on the other side. A frittata of turkey and any leftover roasted vegetables is another favorite. One year I made a huge pan of roasted root vegetables and had plenty left, so this was breakfast the next day and it was divine.

Cranberry sauce, or any kind of relish or chutney made with cranberries turns in to a delicious spread for bread when making a turkey sandwich. Leftover dinner rolls can be split, toasted and topped with slices of turkey, add a spoonful of cranberries to make an excellent lunch.

Of course, the most popular option for leftovers is soup, especially if you’ve got some wild rice on hand. Turkey wild rice soup was a mainstay in our house after Thanksgiving, always a hearty and creamy welcome to the inevitably chilly days that follow. Got a good White Chicken Chili recipe? Try using turkey instead. Add turkey to regular chili as well, or make a Turkey Tetrazzini. How about Turkey Lasagna? Turkey Enchiladas?

I’ve made a delicious pasta salad with turkey as well, stirring in a spoonful or two of cranberries for that perfect tart flavor. My most favorite Curry Chicken salad is also delicious with turkey.

 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO RE-PURPOSE YOUR THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS???

 

Curry Cashew Chicken Salad

2 c. cooked chicken
1/2 c. dried cherries, cranberries or raisins
1/2 c. chopped roasted salted cashews
2 green onions, finely chopped

Dressing:
1/2 c. mayo or preferred creamy spread
2 T. mango chutney or fruit spread of choice
2 t. curry powder
2 t. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
1 t. dijon mustard

Combine chicken, fruit, nuts and onion in bowl. Separately, mix together dressing ingredients and stir until combined and creamy. Pour over salad and stir thoroughly to coat. Chill. Eat.

 

Turkey & Dried Cherry Pasta Salad

1# pasta of choice
2 c. cooked turkey, chopped
1 c. dried cherries (sub cranberries, or even raisins)
1/2 c. minced red onion
1/2 c. minced celery
1/2 c. chopped toasted almonds

Dressing:
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T. white vinegar
1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 T. cold water
2 T. poppyseeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine cooked pasta, turkey, dried fruit, onion, celery and almonds in a bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together until smooth and pour over pasta mixture, tossing to coat. Serve topped with extra almonds, if desired.

 

What’s on YOUR plate this month??



{{there's only 7 days left of Nablopomo 2011!!}}

november

November 22nd, 2011 | 3 Comments »

This isn’t always my most favorite month.

There’s something about November that seems transitional to me; a wrinkle in the calendar between Fall and Winter, the weather hanging in balance, at once cold and snowy, then balmy and mild. It teases, and the sun doesn’t shine much. It brings Thanksgiving, and then we slide in to December, in Christmas and Winter and a last long descent to a new year.

But November, you’re just not my thing. You’re dark and dreary and suddenly twilight at 5:oopm and the wind feels raw, like knives trying to truss my cheeks. You are one long rambling gray day after another.

But a few years ago, November and I started to talk, to try and get along and see how we could be more inclined to one another. It started with an essay from Jeanette Winterson, an author I’d become familiar with that year. She spoke so eloquently of embracing winter darkness, of accepting the early fade of light in our day, to resist the urge to fill the home with artificial light and to try and live with the darkness. On a few occasions, with the guys away for an evening, I lit the house with candles and a fire and sat among the darkness, feeling it slipping through me and filling me with….. peace.

I did cheat just a tad on the light, using a few well placed strands of tiny white lights to help illuminate the darkness, but it added a softer light than incandescence, and this bakers rack in my kitchen is so lovely that it helped make the rooms brighter without all that harshness. Candles are such a favorite of mine, and I try to light as many as possible in the house when the afternoon light begins to fade, as their soft flickering waves send simple calming thoughts through my mind, helping it to slow down, to stop the incessant spinning of thoughts, life, work, meals. You know….. my normal thoughts.

Looking at November in this way, seeing it for what it really is, and not expecting that it can be what it’s not; embracing the inevitable change of season, and light and warmth, moving from sweatshirts to sweaters and slippers and hand warmers has created more of an awareness of what beautiful things can be found in this 11th month.

And I’ve discovered that I don’t dread the turn of the calendar page, the day after Halloween where it’s suddenly November, with cold and gray and drab. The moments when the light slips from day to evening, all rosy and purple, where shadows and light mix seamlessly are stark and gorgeous, watched over by a steaming tea cup or the hum of an oven. The nights call for another blanket tossed on the bed, it’s weight drawing me to sleep deeper, more restful, a content feline pressed to my leg.

So November, I’m thankful for you, especially in recent years when we’ve learned a bit more about each other, and found our common path. I have found that I can appreciate your gray skies, your cold winds and early darkness. I can love what you offer and settle in with your days, warm and snug. We can be friends, after all. I’m glad too.You’ve shown me some amazing beauty.

{{all these photographs were taken in years past in the month of November}}

It’s Week 11 of Just Write Tuesdays, hosted by the ever-grateful Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.


What’s on YOUR plate this month??

hearty ragu with soft polenta

November 21st, 2011 | 2 Comments »

This dish, if I wanted something really meaty and amazing, would be the first thing I turn to in order to quench that carnivorous desire.

I made this back in late winter, in that transitional time between seasons where it isn’t always cold but it’s not exactly warm either, and it was perfect to fill our bellies with a heated depth to fend off the last of winter. The flavor is out-of-this-world good; rich and deep and lush on the tongue, and after the initial prep period, this is a no-brainer as it sits on the stove and gently simmers to a thick and delicious dish. Your house will smell amazing, and once it’s done, it can be spooned over pasta, grains or egg noodles, or like this version, atop a creamy dish of soft polenta.

With the onset of snow in Minnesota, this is a welcome choice for a cozy dinner.

Hearty Ragù with Soft Polenta

1# each ground beef and ground pork (i used 93/7 ground beef)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
2 small onions, peeled and cut to large pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut to large pieces
2 stalks celery, with leaves, cut to large pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T. olive oil
1 t. crushed dried rosemary leaves
1 14.5-oz can Muir Glen Organic Meridian Ruby tomatoes (or use equivalent of other kind)
1 c. dry red wine
1 quart good chicken stock
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

In a 4-qt dutch oven, brown the meat with salt and pepper over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain fat using a colander over a large bowl. Discard fat, set meat aside.

In large food processor, place onions, carrots, celery and garlic and process until finely chopped. In same dutch oven, add olive oil, vegetables and rosemary, cooking for about 15 minutes or until vegetables start to brown.

Add tomatoes and meat to pan, stir to combine. Cook approximately 15 minutes, until tomatoes darken slightly. Add red wine, increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid reduces by about half. Add chicken stock, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 hours. Stir in nutmeg in final minutes of cook time.

 

KATE’S NOTES: For extra richness in this dish, I added about a half cup of heavy cream with the chicken stock. I think it made an exceptional addition. When you add the stock, the mixture will be very loose, like a soup. It will reduce as it simmers though. I did not cover the pan as it cooked, but I doubt it will make much difference, although it may take longer for the liquid to reduce if it’s covered.

From Cascina Spinasse, Seattle Washington, and Chef Jason Stratton
from the Muir Glen Tomato Vine Dining Tour recipe booklet

 

Creamy Soft Polenta

1/2 c. stone ground corn meal
1 c. fat free milk
1 c. water
1 t. butter
Salt and pepper as needed

In a heavy medium saucepan, bring milk, water and butter to a boil then add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Once cornmeal is added, whisk for several minutes to insure smooth consistency. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover the pan, leaving lid ajar to release steam. Simmer polenta for about 10 minutes, stirring often to keep it from scorching, then add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Stir to combine, replace cover (leaving it ajar) and simmer for 10-15 minutes more, stirring regularly, scraping the bottom to prevent scorching. Add about 2-3 more tablespoons of water at this point, stir to combine and cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring regularly. Taste for texture; it should be smooth, and not at all grainy. If any graininess remains, add a few more tablespoons of water and cook until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 servings

 

KATE’S NOTES: Be aware that Polenta, as it cooks, bubbles like molten lava, and it can be dangerous if not kept partially covered. Keep the heat low to prevent the bubbles from exploding violently. And when you stir the polenta as it cooks, make sure you are scraping the pan bottom thoroughly. I used a flat edge wooden spatula for this. A heat resistant rubber spatula would also be a good option.