Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 17: Polenta with Peppers and Mushroom Sauce

The first time I had polenta was at Max's Diner in Palo Alto California. This was a bit more up scale from the Max's I was used to. There is also another Max's in San Ramon that was just a few blocks from our house. We loved eating there because for dessert we always got the chocolate coconut macaroon that was as big as your head, AND because after dinner, instead of dinner mints they gave you Bazooka bubble gum. At our house, gum was strictly forbidden. My mother hated the smell of gum and thought it wasn't lady like. Of course, we all had our own stash that we would sneak, using only half a piece at a time to make it last (don't tell mom). But, on the occasion that we went to Max's it was usually with out-of-town friends so mom couldn't say anything as we sat there and basked in the rubbery goodness of Bazooka.
This Max's was a little different. No bubble gum, no 60's music. Here I had to act like a lady, no blowing bubbles, no pulling my dress over my head (which I haven't done in years mother, so just drop it already) and no flirting with the waiter (I think I preferred the other diner...he was probably gay anyway). But, there was something on this menu that made it all worth while - the polenta with peppers and mushroom sauce. If this can make me sit up and behave, it's definitely worth a try!

Polenta
1 c corn meal
3 c water
(ya, that's it....don't you just love it already!)

Peppers & Mushroom Sauce
2-3 bell peppers of different colors
1 onion
1 can mushrooms

In a pot, bring 2 c of water to a boil. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 c water and 1 c corn meal. Now, slowly add the corn meal to the boiling water stirring constantly! Reduce heat to medium and cook till it thickens stirring constantly! Now place in a oiled 9x13 pan or loaf pan. Place in the fridge till it becomes firm (I make mine the day before and let it sit over night, but a few hours should be sufficient). When ready to serve slice your polenta into squares and cook in oil in a pan on the stove till golden on each side

Now saute your sliced peppers and onion (this would be a great time to use up leftovers from your pepper sandwiches). In a food processor puree your mushrooms,vegan cheese, and broth. Cook in a sauce pan till it starts to thicken. Layer your polenta, peppers, and drizzle with sauce.

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