Polenta, that Italian soul food, has become one of our family staples since we embarked on our gluten-free lifestyle. We tried and liked the Polenta Fries recipe invented by Gluten-Free Gobsmacked, but wanted a little more texture and nutrition packed into our sticks, so Dan, our resident Slow Food Chef, has been experimenting with a blend of cornmeal and quinoa and now we have a new favorite polenta recipe. The quinoa adds a lot more protein, vitamins and a lovely bit of nubby texture. You can eat your sticks au naturel or topped with roasted vegetables or your favorite sauce.
We've grown to like Polenta Parmigiana, some sticks cooked up on the electric griddle to crusty perfection, then topped with a slice of mozzarella cheese. This is left to melt, about 5 minutes, and then a little marinara sauce is slathered on to cap it all off. Terrific!
Polenta Parmigiana also provides a calcium-rich trifecta with cheese, quinoa and tomatoes, so I am going to submit this recipe for the Beautiful Bones event sponsored by Food Blogga to promote awareness of osteoporosis. While everyone suffers some degree of bone loss as they age, women and people with celiac disease need to take special care to ensure that they have enough calcium in their diets to ward off the potential for developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. I take a daily multi-vitamin with extra calcium and try to ensure that our family's diet includes enough leafy green vegetables, soy and dairy products, whole grains and beans, but it takes some vigilance to keep the nutritional balance going in a busy work and school week.
Be sure to check out Food Blogga's great site and her subsequent roundup of bone-healthy recipes which will be posted after the May 31st deadline for this event.
And now to bone up with a great recipe for:
¾ cup cornmeal
½ cup quinoa
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Put in cornmeal, quinoa, water and salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl and stir. Cook at 100% for 7-1/2 minutes. Stir again and cook 7.5 minutes. Your bowl is uncovered throughout the cooking time. (You can also make the polenta-quinoa in a pot on the stove by bringing all ingredients to a boil, then lowering the heat, covering the pot and simmering for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is al dente. Let sit, covered, for ten minutes and then fluff up.)
Cool 5 minutes. Add olive oil and stir to blend well. Put mixture in greased loaf pan. Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. You can also leave this for several days if life intervenes and you have to attend to other events (Voice of Experience!) with no ill effects to your eventual sticks.
Invert on cutting board. Cut it into 16 slices (1/2 inch thick).
Spray olive oil on griddle. Heat to High (400 degrees F) and cook and turn until browned and crusty, about 20-30 minutes.
As noted above, we like our sticks alla Parmigiana, with a slice of mozzarella laid on top of the golden sticks. This takes about 5 minutes to melt. Then top with a tomato marinara sauce and you’ve got a tasty, healthy dinner that will pamper your bones!