30 April 2011

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journal 3

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A few weeks ago one of the Weekend Cooking participants posted a photo of polenta and mushrooms, which made me immediately crave the same. I love polenta; it's one of my comfort foods.

A long while back, I shared my version of a microwave polenta recipe I use from What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House to Eat by Arthur Schwartz. I use stone-ground corn meal for my dish, but many people like a finer grind.

For the mushroom-topped bowl of goodness pictured here, I stirred a cup of Parmesan cheese into the polenta when it finished cooking.

For the topping, I turned to Julia Child's The Way to Cook. A truly useful cookbook, worth every penny if you can find a copy. On page 314, Julia included a "Special Note," which is a recipe for mushrooms duxelles. Yummmmmmm. Here's her version, and the choices I made:
  • 4 cups fresh mushrooms or mushroom stems, diced (I used a combo of portabella mushrooms and common white mushrooms)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots or scallions (I used the shallots)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Port or Madeira (used the Port)
By handfuls, twist the mushrooms in the corner of a towel to extract their juices. Heat the butter to bubbling, and saute the mushrooms in hot butter over moderately high heat, stirring and tossing, until the pieces begin to separate from each other--3 to 4 minutes. Add the shallots or scallions and saute a moment more; season to taste. Add the wine, letting it boil down rapidly to nothing.

To serve, I spooned the polenta into a low bowl, topped it with a bit of warmed diced tomatoes, and then the mushrooms. Comfort food at its best.


Margaret @ BooksPlease 4/30/11, 7:03 AM  

Ooh - that looks delicious. I've never had much success making polenta, I'll have a go at the microwave recipe next time.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 4/30/11, 7:15 AM  

This looks and sounds heavenly. We are big mushroom fans.

caite 4/30/11, 7:28 AM  

Mushrooms are one of my favorite things...that looks delicious.

caite 4/30/11, 7:30 AM  

BTW, somehow I missed that microwave polenta. Going to copy that down and give it a try.

fanficfan44,  4/30/11, 7:40 AM  

I love mushroom polenta but I also have a standby recipe for mushroom risotto in my pressure cooker - really simple and quick - creamy comfort food.

Margot 4/30/11, 7:43 AM  

We like polenta too but I don't know why I don't fix it more often as your recipe is so easy. I like your version of comfort food.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 4/30/11, 7:49 AM  

I missed your earlier polenta recipe - what a fun name for a cookbook (stone soup with a twist!).

This mushroom-topped polenta looks yummy ... comfort food on a rainy day.

Marg 4/30/11, 8:22 AM  

I can't say I have eaten a lot of polenta!

TheBookGirl 4/30/11, 8:38 AM  

I love that you combined different elements from different cookbooks :)
I used to listen to Arthur Schwartz's radio show all the time; I miss that at the lunch hour! One of my favorite cookbooks is his New York food history/recipe collection. I went to his book signing when it came out and he was as entertaining in person as he was on the radio.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 4/30/11, 8:43 AM  

Sounds so good, I love polenta with mushrooms. How'd that escape me, I have that Arthur Schwartz book! His New York cookbook is also a fun cookbook read.

bermudaonion 4/30/11, 8:58 AM  

Yummy! I need to come to your house for dinner!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 4/30/11, 9:05 AM  

You are making me very hungry and it's early in the morning. Polenta is one of my favorites! I've never tried the microwave version but I do cheat and use the instant type. Stirring for an hour is not too appealing.

Chrisbookarama 4/30/11, 9:57 AM  

I made polenta once but I don't think I made it right. It was gritty. Yours looks good!

Uniflame 4/30/11, 10:13 AM  

I don't think I ever made polenta before... or eaten it for that matter.

Bobbie 4/30/11, 10:23 AM  

This looks amazing and will fit perfect into my vegetarian life style. Thanks so much for sharing :)

Word Lily 4/30/11, 11:25 AM  

Mmm, that looks good!

Julie Goucher 4/30/11, 1:04 PM  

Despite being half Italian, I am not over keen on Polenta. That said yours looks great and I may give it another go.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 4/30/11, 3:09 PM  

I love a good polenta so, so much. I love mushroom too. I used to know a place that had a divine dish with both. They changed their menu and I have never recovered.

Col (Col Reads) 4/30/11, 4:37 PM  

That looks absolutely delicious!

Rebecca Rasmussen 4/30/11, 4:50 PM  

That looks so so so good!

Diann 5/1/11, 11:41 AM  

Oh yum! this sounds so good and anything with mushrooms I am already in love with! Have a great weekend!

Ikkin-bot 5/1/11, 12:34 PM  

Even in the Uk I find a way to cook . . . by gas stove even!

Debbie 5/1/11, 1:50 PM  

I've never made polenta...but I like it when other people do and invite me over.
This looks yummy.

Chinoiseries 5/1/11, 4:28 PM  

I believe it was my Fresh & Fast Vegetarian review post? :) Polenta is really an underestimated delight, and so versatile too!
I should really look into that Julia Child's book!

Jane of Australia 5/1/11, 10:45 PM  

Poelnta is on my must try list. However I have just added salsa, Vietnamese spring rolls, and pesto.
So it will have to wait.
Having grown up in New Zealand I had a very undeveloped set of taste buds. in the last years I have improved considerably.
Still a long way to go.
Jane of Australia
(ignore the log in if its different)

Robin M 5/2/11, 5:14 PM  

My goodness, that sounds and looks yummy. Will have to try it.

Heather 5/2/11, 5:50 PM  

i've only tried to make polenta once and it wasn't a success. This dish looks amazing. We love mushrooms here. Am looking forward to giving it a try.

Unknown 5/3/11, 5:39 AM  

I don't think I've ever tried polenta, but I love mushrooms cooked in that way - I normally just have them on toast. I'll have to see if I can find any polenta - I don't think it is very common here in the UK.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair 5/3/11, 10:24 AM  

Polenta is such a comforting food! I just love it!

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