August

I’ve had a fantastic summer so far. It’s been filled with lovely flowers, lots of time spent outdoors, plenty of food with friends and family, and it’s just getting better and better.

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I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this is coming up in a few days for us. I’m SO excited.
From the National Geographic

I can hardly contain myself. In the meantime, I’ll on munch on these.
Polenta4

Herby Polenta Fries
I’ve tried polenta many times, and I have never quite grown fond of it. The same goes for grits – it’s a texture thing for me. Reminds me of the years I volunteered in a nursing home feeding the residents, where all delicious and nutritious foods were pulverized to a pulp to help older folks who couldn’t chew. So to help me get over that, I transformed an otherwise mushy polenta into lovely polenta fries. Everything tastes better when it’s fried – polenta is no exception. It’s cheesy and creamy and salty and crispy – and the herbs add a really nice flavor. Of course, you can bake the polenta fries for a less fatty version (and I’ve included directions below), but where’s the fun in that?

Ingredients
1 c polenta
4 c water
2 tbs butter
1/3 c parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary (you can use whatever herbs you like, I just happen to like oregano + rosemary)
salt + pepper, to taste

Directions
In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add a large pinch of salt. Gradually add the polenta, whisking to break any clumps. Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk and simmer, until the polenta is thick and tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and the grated cheese, whisking to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Spray a brownie pan (8″x8″) or small baking dish of similar dimensions with cooking spray or olive oil. Pour the cooked polenta into the pan, using a spatula to smooth the top. Chill until set, at least a few hours or I prefer to do it over night. Once the polenta has set, remove the chilled polenta from the pan and cut into ‘fry’ shapes. I had a circular pan, so it’s not quite as ‘fry-like’, but to each their own.

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To fry: You could deep fry these bad boys at 370°F submerged in 2″ of canola oil, but I decided just to pan fry a few polenta sticks at a time, turning occasionally to get an even brown on all sides. Either method will give you a lovely crust on the outside. Just make sure to drain on paper towels and keep warm until serving time.

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To bake: Brush all sides of each polenta stick with a bit of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Place under broiler and bake until golden brown. Rotate as needed to get an even browning. Should take 20 minutes total.

Once cooked, top with dried herbs and additional cheese if desired. Serve with a marinara sauce (or ketchup in a pinch). Enjoy.

This is a lovely appetizer or bar snack. I can see this being in heavy rotation as football season kicks off. It hits all the right notes and pairs so well with a cold brewsky.

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Thanks for stopping by,
AnhD

PS. In case you couldn’t guess, we’re headed to Alaska. From Anchorage down the Kenai Peninsula then back up through Denali and Fairbanks. It’s going to be one heck of a trip, and you can be reassured that I’ll be sharing pictures and food and landmarks from our trip. I’ll be posting on my IG account as well, if you’re curious to follow.

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