Jersday Polenta Pizza

Jersday is probably my favorite day of the week. In honor of my favorite day, I decided to make something vaguely Italian, just like the cast of Jersey Shore.

Tonight pizza sounded good, but the whole yeast, dough rising thing just seemed like too much work. I thought that polenta might make a comparable crust, so we headed to the kitchen to experiment.

Polenta Pizza Crust

  • 1 cup Polenta/Cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (the grated/powdery kind, I used the parm pecarino blend from Trader Joe’s)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I prepared it like normal polenta. Boil salted water on medium high heat, stir in polenta, stir constantly so there are no lumps, let ‘cook’ on low for about 15 minutes, removed from heat, stir in parm. At this point I split the polenta between 2 parchment lined pie dishes and baked in the oven for 12 minutes. I then removed the crust from the pie dishes, keeping it on the parchment and put them on cookie sheets. I put the cookie sheets back in the oven for about another 15 minutes in the hopes of ‘crisping’ up the crust

Once the crust was a little harder, I added the toppings. Tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and some kalamatas went on one and the other one had caramelized onions, gorgonzola, toasted hazelnuts and sliced pears.

For some reason the tomato based one held together a bit better. Over all the crust was pretty good, but nothing super special. I think this recipe is going to require a little more tweaking to get the consistency I want.

Does anyone have any polenta crust recipes or any suggestions?

Soup for the Sick.

Well, I’ve finally come down with whatever nasty cold bug is currently floating around Southern California. I’ve been spending the day curled up in my Dodgers Snuggie on the couch with the pups, attempting to read The Economist and study the Constitution, but it’s proven too much for my cold medicine addled brain. I guess if you get carded for the stuff, it’s bound to make you a little loopy. I gave up on studying and turned myself to more important pursuits, like catching up on Jersey Shore gossip. Season 4 in Italy! Oh, holy duck phone! I’m so excited. When I first read about this season 4 development, I thought “Poor Italy. That country has enough problems with out the cast of Jersey Shore invading it,” but then the prospect of a potential Silvio Berlusconi/Snooki sex scandal was just too much for me not to love the idea. Once I recovered from this news I realized I was actually kind of hungry and I wanted soup.

This black bean soup is one of my favorites. It’s incredibly easy to make and it’s also healthy and delicious! Most of the ingredients are probably on hand already, so when you’re housebound due to illness, it’s the perfect go to recipe. I also think it’s pretty versatile. You can serve it thick and chunky, so it’s more like a chili or throw in some corn for a bit of variety. I like to top mine with a dollop of sour cream, some sharp cheddar, green onions, salsa and lots of hot sauce. Depending on your mood, tortilla chips or cornbread are both great accompaniments.

At one point in time this soup was based on an actual recipe, but where that recipe went is an unsolved mystery, so here’s what I threw together today:

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil (just a bit for sauteing the onion and garlic)
  • Onion, diced, (I used 1 extra large onion)
  • Garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves)
  • Chili Powder, at least 1 tablespoon, but feel free to add to taste
  • 2 cans of Black Beans, drained
  • 1 can Broth (I use vegetable, but I’m sure chicken or beef would be fine as well)
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 cup Corn (I used frozen today, but canned and drained works as well)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Sour Cream, optional,
  • Green Onion, chopped, optional
  • Cheddar Cheese, optional
  • Salsa, optional
  • Avocado, optional

The onion, garlic and chili powder might seem slightly extreme to some, but I’m sick I want to at least pretend I can taste what I’m eating. Feel free to adjust to your own tastes!

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in the bottom of a large pot, add onions and garlic, sauté until soft
  • Add the chili powder and stir to mix with the onions
  • Add the beans and broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-ish minutes
  • With an immersion blender, blend about half the soup, really anything goes here, it just depends on how chunky you want it. If you are adding corn, I would throw it in here and let it heat through.
  • Squeeze lime juice, add salt and pepper, stir to combine
  • Serve with the toppings of your choice.
  • Enjoy!

It doesn't look too pretty, but it sure tastes good!