September 30, 2012

Pine Nut Polenta with Cherry Sauce - Another Way to Get Your Grains

In preparation for the big VegFest weekend, I purchased a cookbook by each chef I'd be working with so I could have them ready to sign for my collection.  I didn't get Robin Asbell's cookbook in time so I purchased one at the VegFest which she graciously signed for me.  I bought The Big Vegan at the festival and her Sweet & Easy Vegan just came in the mail yesterday. I opened the book and chose the first recipe I saw:  Pine Nut Polenta with Cherry Sauce.  A warm whole grain treat made with coarse corn meal and teff that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert.  I had just about everything the recipe called for except for a little teff.  I took some cherries out of the freezer to thaw, picked up some more teff and whipped it together Saturday afternoon.  I chilled it overnight and grilled it for a delightful Sunday breakfast. Oh yeah, did I mention this is an Easy recipe?  The cherry sauce is very simple.  I just did something similar with raspberries for the thumbprint cookies.  Any berries will work for this recipe.

Pine Nut Polenta with Cherry Sauce
    Robin Asbell, Sweet & Easy Vegan, page 47


1 Cup coarse cornmeal/polenta
3 Cups filtered water
1 Cup amaranth or teff or 1 cup additional cornmeal
1 Cup vanilla non-dairy milk
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

The grains can be substituted with other grains and cashews or other nuts can be substituted for the pine nuts.

Cherry Sauce

10 oz. frozen dark cherries (your favorite berries)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple juice
1 TB corn starch

Lightly oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

To make the polenta:

Put the cornmeal in a medium saucepan, then add the water gradually while whisking continuously.  Whisk in the amaranth or teff.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook, whisking continuously until thick, about 5 minutes.  Stir in half the pine nuts.

Scrape the polenta into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer.  Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts on the top and press to adhere.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

To make the sauce:

In a small saucepan, combine the cherries and maple syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.  In a cup or small bowl, whisk the apple juice and cornstarch together until smooth, then stir the mixture into the cherries.  cook until shiny and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Slice the polenta and either fry it in a lightly oiled, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or bake it on an oiled baking sheet at 400ยบ for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and browned.  Serve topped with the warm sauce, reheating it, if need be.  Stored in separate airtight containers, the polenta and cherry sauce will keep for about 1 week.

Looking forward to breakfast again tomorrow. Yum!

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