Monday, September 28, 2009

The Polenta of Champions

I was given a "log" of polenta a little while back but only just got around to cooking it. I have been trying to stay away from commercial tomato sauces and learn to make more "homestyle" sauces from Italy. I doubt this would classify as "homestyle" but it was damn good. I hope to learn to make proper polenta at some point, but for now the log will do.

Preheat a pan with olive oil, place chilies and one star anise and one clove in the oil to simmer. That will get the essential oils from the clove and the star flowing and should an aromatic quality to the olive oil.

- Two roma tomatoes , diced. Romas are fleshier than beefsteak and vine tomatoes.
- One vine tomato for the moisture.
- One half a white onion.
- Two cloves of garlic.
- One handful of chopped walnuts. (I have big hands, btw)

Sautee all this in a pan and pour an ounce of single malt whisky for sweetness. You can blanch the tomatoes first if you want the skins completely off. I add the classic "Italian herbs and spices" at this point - basil, rosemary, oregano and sage. I also added 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika to the mix, just because it was there. And yes, I added a bit of salt. In another pan I had browned some ground pork and add that into the mixture.
After cooking that for a while I add it into a pan over top of the now cut up polenta and grate parmesan over top. The oven has been preheated to 450. Covering the pan I put the polenta in and set the dial down to 400. I let it cook for an hour and then let it stand for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


One of my goals for this year (Oh I reach high don't I?) was to eat breakfast every day. I never did, and I need to. It bumps my metabolism and (surprise surprise) I'm more alert and happy when I do and not ready to gnaw my arm off by lunch.

I've looked and tried many things and found my favourite quick, filling breakfast to be this: oatmeal with fruit. Don't laugh. Oatmeal gets a bad rap...when you make it up right it can be fantastic. It's good for you, comfortingly warm, healthy and really gives me the energy I need for my day. Oatmeal is full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, potassium and fiber and it's been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol too. I used to think I had no time for breakfast, but seriously - I realised that with all I do all day, I'm worth getting up 10 minutes earlier. And that's all it takes - it takes less than 10 minutes to make this, and just a few to eat...and it's delicious. I really could eat this every day. Here' s how simple it is:

Boil 1c water and toss in 1/2c wild oats (to me quick oats are sludgy and have no texture) and stir occasionally. Cook 4 minutes. Put in bowl with 1/2 banana sliced or 1/4 c blueberries or strawberries and a tsp of brown sugar and 1/4c 1% milk and there ya go. I like mine with milk, but some people drizzle on maple syrup and skip the milk. Whatever you like...experiment to find your thing. You can toss in cinnamin too...there's so many different ways to have it. This weekend I'm trying a new way -chai oatmeal. Sounds yummy to me. Any way you have it, it's super healthy and full of energy and maybe 250 calories for it all. Keeps you full all morning.

I challenge you to eat breakfast every day. You would not believe the difference it makes :)

image source

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best sausage in the world

My husband's lovely Aunt brought us some of the sausages of the gods when she last came to visit and we finally enjoyed them last night. She has amazing taste in food, so we have been curious.
Spolumbo's Deli in Calgary makes the most amazing sausages I have ever had. Now I'm not normally a fan of sausage unless it's Mennonite garlic farmer's sausage. I find it to be fatty and less tha flavourful...but this sausage is, for lack of a better phrase, "to die for".
Seriously. you have no idea.
So we had their chicken and apple sausage...grilled to perfection on the BBQ by yours truly, along with some coconut ginger rice and veggies. Light and flavourful...and slightly peppery.
The best sausage.
I've been told they ship and sell across Canada in some stores and deli...I'm looking into anywhere local. J's Aunt went on an on and on about this stuff. Now I know why. The next time J's Aunt comes out to visit I'll be humbly asking them to bring us more sausages. LOTS more.