Monday, August 8, 2011

A mishmash of two recipes: Ratatouille Polenta Bake

 This recipe, though one of Matt's favorite meals, only gets 3.5 out of 5 stars for taste. I'm not all that into Italien food... It does earn super bonus points though, because while it's baking you can get every single dish you used that day washed. Whenever a recipe allows me to get the dishes washed before eating, I love it and want to cook it a lot more.

The ratatouille recipe calls for store bought polenta, which is a huge waste of money in my opinion. However, I saw this other recipe that has you make the polenta from corn meal, which is super cheap, even if you buy the whole grain organic kind. Here's the link to the make your own polenta recipe: (clicky)  and I basically use just the part about making the polenta. So, to sum it up:

1 c corn meal whisked into 3/4 c cold water
add 2.5 c boiling water and 1/2 tsp salt. whisk it up til it's thickened and boiling. Cover, reduce heat and simmer softly for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then set aside.

Polenta works fine, instead of corn meal, if that's what you have.

Sometimes I choose not to ignore this first recipe's calling for artichoke hearts, when I make this mashup. Tonight I ignored it because I had to go to Wegmans, which takes forever, since a) it's at best 15 minutes away b) I don't know where things are like I do in Giant c) they like to change up where they put the food to keep you in there longer searching and searching for the one thing you need. I think they hired ex-Las Vegas casino managers to run the store. You can't even tell if it's day or night, and now they have beer and wine there too.  So, I didn't get back from there til 4pm and STILL had to go to Giant because Wegmans doesn't have the best prices on Boca, nor do they believe in selling milk-free bread, apparently. And Sofia has decided Giant's organic soy milk is the only type that isn't akin to drinking poison. I think I need to write them each a letter. Giant- sell nutritional yeast and affordable recycled toilet paper!!!! Wegmans, sell more than one type of bread that is dairy/egg/honey free!!! Let them battle it out. Anyway, food.

Here's the second recipe: (clickity click) 
So MY changes are as such- 1. don't buy pre-fab polenta tube.
2. dice up a pound of tofu and add it in after you break up the tomatoes, though cannelini beans might be goood too.
3. remember next time to just buy diced tomatoes because it's a pain in my ass to break those things up in the pan.
4. spread your homemade polenta ON TOP of the veggies after you put them in a baking dish. Don't put it underneath. The veggies always release A TON of liquid and I doubt soggy polenta would be good.
4. remember next time that the green ceramic casserole dish JUST BARELY fits all the food. Use the bigger glass baking dish that you specifically bought for this recipe, and this recipe alone, that sits gathering dust because you never think of it. Seriously, use the LARGEST DEEPEST baking dish/casserole thingy you own, or you will be cleaning up the liquid that bubbles over onto the oven floor.
5. remember next time to NOT add the cheese onto the top of the polenta until AFTER the initial 30 minutes of bake time, and AFTER you remove the aluminum foil to which it sticks. I always add it in the beginning and I end up scraping half of it off the foil and having to put it back on, which is a big waste of time.

What else... anything? I never add fresh parsley. I used curly parsley once and I hated it. Oh yeah, use or don't use artichoke hearts. Use or don't use fresh basil instead of parsley. If you can safely manage to drain some of the liquid into the sink without dumping your dinner down the drain, do it. That's it. Below is a picture so you can see that the polenta is on top, with cheese on top of it.

Introducing my new rating system- carrot man! Or woman! I'm all for equality, maybe he likes to put eyeliner on, or maybe she likes to wear a buzz cut. Either way, I give this recipe "very satisfied carrot man" rating. It's a pretty enjoyable meal. Just needs more salt, always. I think I will go back and give carrot-ratings to the other recipes now. Other carrot men/women to look out for: disgusted carrot (wo)man, blah carrot person, satisfied carrot person, extremely satisfied carrot she-male.

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