Monday, December 8, 2008

My People's Food

First, thanks to the well wished from everyone.  I did hear from my husband today, so I'm feeling better in that sense.  

If you can't tell from my profile picture, my family is completely Italian.  My mom's side is from northern Italy, my dad's side is from Sicily.  I grew up eating a lot of pasta :)  This is why, when I make Indian, Thai, Japanese, etc., it almost invariably comes from a recipe.  I just don't have the expertise yet, I'm still learning.  

Anyway, I wanted to make polenta today.  I actually had completely different intentions for it, but ended up going Italian with it.  Nothing makes me happier than when a.) my house smells like my grandmother's house, or b.)  something I make tastes like my grandmother's food.  

I made a Layered Polenta, which wasn't difficult, but also took up more time than I happened to have today.  The recipe is enough (overflowing, haha) for 2 - 7oz ramekins (I like ramekins!).    
If you've never had polenta this way, its pretty easy.  It's really just a matter of making the polenta, cutting it, and then layering it like lasagna.  

1 cup instant polenta
2 cups water
1/3 cup cashews, ground
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsbp unsweetened soymilk
few pinches of nutmeg
1/2 tbsp basil
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350
2.  Boil the water, then add the polenta mixing constantly.  It should be done in less than a minute.  If you wanted a softer polenta you would be using more water, and it would take longer to cook.  When cooked, add everything else on under the polenta list, and mix it really really well (it may take some elbow grease).  
3.  Spray a pan with cooking spray, then lay down a piece of waxed paper.  Spread polenta mixture over, and bake for 15 minutes.  *note*  I cooked it in a square pan, because I planned on making less, then changed my mind, but it was already prepared.   It would absolutely work better if you used  baking sheet and spread it out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick*
4.  When finished baking, cut into whatever shape will fit into whatever container you are using.    

Tofu Ricotta
4.1oz  soft tofu (1/3 package of Mori-Nu)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsely 
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup spinach, steamed
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Put it all into a bowl, mash the tofu well with a fork, and mix it all together.  Yummy!  You can get away with less oil, but I would recommend using some oil.  

1/2 can whole tomatoes with juice (I had these leftover, you could use something fresher)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsbp water
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Coat a pan with cooking spray, add onion, then garlic, saute over medium heat until softened. 
2.  Add vinegar and water to pan, toss with onion and garlic, then add tomato "juice", and whole tomatoes, ripped into little pieces.  
3.  Cook as you see fit.  

Just put it all together!  Like I said above, its layered like lasagna.  
I did:
thin layer of sauce
that cute little dollop of ricotta on top

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 

Nutrition Information:  416.9 Calories;  21.0g Fat;  3.6g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  215.0mg Sodium;  46.6g Carbohydrates;  7.6g Fiber;  16.5g Protein

Phew.  That is kind of how I feel right now.  I'm getting kind of anxious/stressed out, which means it is finally time to start all this work I have.  Having deadlines kind of depressed me because I have a hard time getting stuff done unless I feel some kind of anxiety.  But then once I do feel that anxiety, I get upset with myself for waiting so long.  Its stupid, really, but....well now its time to get it all done.  

Good luck to everyone else who is dealing with finals week, Holiday shopping (the shirt I ordered for my brother came today...they sent me a girls' medium), and fighting with people on the internet (wait, is that just me? probably). 


  1. I love layered polenta!!! Great recipe =)

  2. Layered polenta - looks like your first attempt turned out really well. I usually love anything involving cashews and nutritional yeast.

  3. Hey hey!!

    Thank you for the nice comment on my blog!! =)) I'm happy to see you visiting me =)) !!

    Ohh!! Your POLENTA DISH looks SOOO interesting and... ITALIAN !! =DD Yum!!

    You're blog is so nice to read ,keep it up ,all the good work here ,it's great!! =))

    Hope to "see" you again on my blog some time.. =)


  4. my family is italian too, and i've been looking for a good ricotta recipe for our christmas lasagna. thanks!

  5. I'm so happy everyone likes polenta so much!! I didn't like it when I was younger.

    I should have been clearer though, this is not my first time making something like this...but it IS my first time making it vegan, and making it in little dishes (I have class late on Tuesday nights, and I like to make something portable). My whole point of this being "My People's Food" meant that this is the kind of stuff I'm used to making, kind of comes second nature to me!

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!!