Instead of trying out for MasterChef, I am wondering if I made a wrong turn somewhere in my thought process and should be whisking random ingredients from the pantry with light-year speed instead on iron Chef.
Because, insert stage left my present situation.
Everything I own in my pantry is packed. The moving company gave me a very distinct list of what I could and couldn’t pack.
Pantry items and dry goods? Shit, I must have missed that memo. ( cough, cough)
First of all, I go NOWHERE without my spice kitchen. Second of all, I go nowhere without my spice kitchen which means I am down to bare-bones basics and trying to move through the leftovers of my fridge and cupboards.
So there I am, craving french fries and obviously, I have no potatoes, no oil…my pantry is a hot fricking mess and I won’t be cooking for at least two weeks until I am settled.
But then I discover I have polenta. and tahini. and garlic cloves. Shortening. Lemon juice. Salt.
And yeah, normally I would garnish with fresh spices like salt, pepper, my smoked paprika or parsley, but look, I am bumming it until I arrive in a different province in a few weeks, so I am making due without succumbing to the deep desire to really want takeout anything.
Here is my totally vegan and practically gluten-free (and 100% guilt-free) Polenta fry recipe that is sure to delight the picky eaters. This serves as an excellent, casual side, and while there are many variations and sauces, I wanted to use what I had so focused on a Mediterranean flavour.
5 parts water to 1 part polenta with more to add to thicken if needed
1 tsp veg oil
1 tsp salt
2 cloves roasted garlic, tossed in boiling water
*Boil water with salt and oil, tossing in roasted garlic and reducing. Add cornmeal and cook for 10-12 minutes on med-slow until creamy, stirring regularly. Remove from heat, pick out garlic and spread in non stick, small pan so you have 1 inch height and can form a square. set in fridge for at least an hour.
2 Parts water to 1 part tahini. add fresh lemon juice (1/2) and salt and pepper to taste.
Set oven to 425 and cut slices of “chips” to resemble chunky fries.
Single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly wipe the parchment with vegetable shortening.
Sprinkle polenta fries with cornmeal on all sides once set and place on a single layer onto sheet. I also will sometimes add a tsp or so of cornstarch to my polenta dredge-this is especially helpful if you choose to fry instead of bake them…but I am trying to be healthy here 🙂
Set time, and bake for 15 minutes on one side, flipping to bake on other side for 10-15 minutes, or until browned and appearing crisp.
Serve with wedges of lemon, sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top and enjoy. ( I would do this, but again-my fridge is empty until I move).