Birthday Boy Polenta

After spending a wonderful week with my family I am lucky enough to come home to Flagstaff to celebrate Rob’s birthday and enjoy another week of vacation.  Having caught a bit of a cold I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired and decided to make something that tasted great with minimal effort.  Since it was a birthday I also made another cake, I usually leave the baking up to my friends, but have been doing a lot the last few weeks.  I came up with a baked polenta as well as a  kale salad that I originally adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe and have been obsessed with ever since.

Kale Saladphoto 1

  • 1 large bunch lacinato kale
  • 1 pomegranate – seeds removed *see tip at bottom of page
  • 1 apple sliced thinly ( I used a granny smith)
  • Spiced pecans ( see recipe below)
  • thin slices of smoked gouda
  • Dressing – 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs balsamic vinegar photo 2& about 1 tbs red onion finely minced
  1. Remove large stems from kale and chop
  2. Steam kale for 3-5 minutes until bright green
  3. Add to bowl with dressing
  4. Top with pomegranate seeds, apple, pecans, and gouda

Spiced Pecansphoto 3

  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl
  3. Spread in a single layer on a small baking sheet
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes stirring once
  5. Cool stirring occasionally

Baked Polenta

  • 5 cups water or broth
  • 1 cup course ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. photo 3Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot bring water or broth to a boil ( add salt if using water)
  3. Whisk in polenta and turn heat down to low
  4. Stirring frequently cook polenta until it is thick and creamy and has lost its raw taste ( I often put a lid half on to avoid a mess)
  5. Stir in spinach until wilted
  6. Stir in butter and cheese
  7. Spread into a greased cast iron pan
  8. Top with crumbled blue cheese
  9. Bake for about a half an hour until cheese is melted and polenta is browned on top
  10. If you like a crisper top broil for a few minutes
  11. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving

Of course there was also birthday cake 🙂photo 5

*  To remove pomegranate seeds  – cut fruit in half, then over a bowl hold the half in your palm seed side down.  Then hit the back of the pomegranate firmly with a wooden spoon, the seeds fall out into the bowl. I eat so many more pomegranates since I learned this trick from the cookbook Plenty from Yotam Ottolenghi.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jette says:

    Christina- we tried the salad tonight, everybody loved it! Can’t wait to try more.

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