Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

“Challenges are what makes life interesting, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful” Joshua J. Marine

Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
Busy lives can get very repetitive, almost monotonous, too predictable. Days go by fast and you find yourself looking for inspiration in the refrigerator while hungry mouths demand dinner. What do you do? You make the same familiar dish you’ve made many times before. You rely on it, you know it like the back of your hand. While there is nothing wrong with the same old familiar dish a new recipe could bring some spice and excitement to the dinner table. Some days it seems that I fill my shopping cart with the same old items and when it comes to cooking them I find myself in a rut.

Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
This time I challenged myself to cook with a new ingredient. I have never made polenta from scratch. I shy away from anything that requires lots of stirring or attention. In the past I used the precooked polenta log to make things easy. But it’s not the same as making it from scratch. Quick cooking polenta is easy and pretty quick. It takes on flavor really well and can be eaten with anything.

Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
In this recipe I wanted to create a comforting vegetarian meal without skimping on flavor that can be satisfying for meat lovers as well, aka my husband. Mission accomplished! And…… that egg takes it to the next level. If you ask me, everything is better with a little egg yolk on top. Creamy polenta infused with truffle oil and parmesan cheese topped with mushroom ragu and egg yolk is simply divine. If only you can smell it.

Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
Challenge yourself to learn something new. You’ll be surprised at the outcome.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Truffle Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup yellow polenta (corn meal), I used Bob's Red Mill
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • a few drops of black truffle oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • egg (poached or fried)
Instructions
  1. Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil, stir in polenta and butter, reduce heat to simmer and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add parmesan cheese and a few drops of truffle oil, mix well and remove from the heat. Cover, set aside.
  3. In a large skillet heat olive oil, add mushrooms and onions. Saute on medium heat until the mushrooms develop a golden color. They should not be soggy. Season with salt and pepper. Add vermouth, reduce heat to simmer and cook another 3 minutes until the sauce reduces by half.
  4. Serve mushrooms on top of polenta topped with an egg. Enjoy

 

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Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

 “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

Perfect crisp fall Sundays call for open windows, chili with jalapeño corn bread and pumpkin swirl brownies followed by laziness on the couch next to the fireplace. For me it’s a perfect way to spend a day a with the family.  It was a nice change of pace. The entire weekend was much needed filled with great time with the whole family.

I love when the whole family gets together. The 16 of us are close and this time of the year the birthdays celebrations happen more than any other. I’m glad we all love each other otherwise it would feel more like a burden. On Saturday we went to a hibachi steakhouse to celebrate my birthday, which happens to be tomorrow. Hibachi has somehow become a favorite spot for Briana, Kurt and I to have our birthdays at.  It’s a ton of fun, especially with all 16 of us.

Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

I figured adding a nice pumpkin scent to the house would not hurt so on Sunday I also baked.

Fudgy gooey moist brownies are my absolute favorite and I had a great time baking it with my girls. Briana and my little cousin helped me in the kitchen. One cracked the eggs, the other did all the mixing and I provided instructions. Kurt, who was completely absorbed into his favorite video game would pop into the kitchen to do the taste testing and provide his stamp of approval every step of the way.

Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

The topping is a sweet mixture of cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar and eggs. A cheesecake on top on a brownie is pure perfection. A warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream is a perfect dessert on a crisp fall afternoon. The pumpkin cream cheese topping simply takes it to a whole new level. You’ll just have to try it for yourself but there is no doubt in my mind that you will love it as much as we all did.

Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies

5.0 from 2 reviews
Pumpkin Swirl Fudge Brownies
 
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Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • Topping:
  • 1 (3oz) package low fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Brownies
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • ¼ cup espresso
  • ⅔ cup flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl using a hand mixer beat all the topping ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, espresso and warm water. Stir in melted chocolate and salt.
  4. Add flour and mix until the batter is smooth.
  5. Oil a baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Pour the brownie mixture and spread evenly. Top with the pumpkin topping by spoonfuls unevenly across. Using a tooth pick swirl the pumpkin topping into the brownie mixture creating a marble design.
  6. Bake 45-50 minutes. The brownie should be slightly wet inside.
  7. Allow to cool and set.
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Sweet Potato Baked Fries

Sweet Potato Baked Fries

The best of fall produce is out there. The shelves are filled with beautiful colors of orange, purple and yellow. I love strolling through the farmer’s market looking for a dinner inspiration from all that gorgeous produce. I equally love that I can get a large variety of locally grown vegetables and feel better about eating them.

Alongside the pumpkins and the squashes sweet potato is the natural vegetable of choice this time of the year. I adore sweet potato baked fries and can eat a whole bunch without feeling guilty. My favorite seasoning is a topping of garlic and butter sprinkled with sea salt and fresh parsley. Simplicity is key here.

Yummmmmmm!!!!!!

Sweet Potato Baked Fries

As with any fries you need a good condiment. Surely plain ol’ ketchup will do but why not make it fun and delicious. I made an insanely good dipping sauce with the ingredients you probably already have on hand. A little mixture of mayo, sour cream, garlic, salt and vinegar was exactly what these fries needed. I loved the sauce so much I saved the leftovers and dipped some baked buffalo  wings in it later. So good people, so good. :)

Sweet Potato Baked Fries

I am happy it’s already Thursday. We have a full weekend coming up. Our plans include a dinner and a movie on Friday night, can’t wait to see The Book of Life. The entire family is getting together for my slightly early birthday celebration on Saturday and a mini day trip to upstate New York on Sunday to see the beautiful foliage. I might need a day off after all that. Monday might be rough.

Whatever your plans are, enjoy yours.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet Potato Baked Fries
 
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Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries or wedges
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle olive oil all over the sweet potato fries, season with a little salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes until slightly crisp.
  3. While the fries bake, melt butter and stir in garlic. Set aside.
  4. When the fries are done arrange on a platter, top with the melted butter mixture, season with salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
  5. Serve with white sauce.

5.0 from 2 reviews
White Sauce
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp mayo (I used EarthBalance)
  • 1 tbsp light sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together. Allow to refrigerate at least 15 minutes for the flavors to marry,

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