there are 2 words that constantly confound and frustrate me: "Foodie" and "Gourmet". Food is not ment to be put in classes, where only those in the know or with the money get to enjoy the higher end of the spectrum. first of all, it imply's a class system to something that defies class. second, its bullshit - although some impressive dishes are very hard to make, much of the best food (in this authors humble opinion) is derived from simple ingredients and preparation. have we come so far in our obsession of celebrity and attaining that which is out of our grasp that we now seek to only have the latest food trends touch our pallets? food is a basic need for all of us. much of the food we hold dear came from the most humble of backgrounds. eating lobster was considered a sign of poverty until the last 100 years for example.
i guess what i am trying to say is that food should be seen as accessible. making good food should be everyones goal, as it is such an easy one to attain. to eat from the sea is to eat the sea, to eat from the earth is to eat the earth. this is our most basic communion with our planet, and should not be used to classify ourselves as different from one another, but bring us closer to one another.
I've decided to give you a recipe for cheesy polenta. its a simple dish, and one that will impress. exactly what food should be.
1 cup course polenta
3 cups water
1 cup whole milk
150 grams Fontina cheese
200 grams old cheddar cheese
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 small finely chopped onion
3 fresh cobbs of corn, with kernels removed from stock
1. in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. add onion and cook gently for 2 minutes. add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2. add water and turn heat up to high. bring water to a boil.
3. slowly wisk in polenta. continue to wisk for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. if the polenta gets too stiff, add a little more water until it is easy to work with. after 5 minutes add the corn. once the polenta is a little tender to the bite, remove from the heat and put the lid on the pot. rest for 10 - 20 minutes (the resting will continue to cook the polenta).
4. re-introduce the pot to a medium-high flame on the burner. add milk and slowly work in as the polenta warms. you might have to add a little more milk if the polenta stays stiff. wait until it is heated through, though because the heat will loosen the polenta. add salt and pepper to taste. add most of the cheese (reserve some for topping) and fold into the polenta. remove from heat.
5. using a soup ladle, poor the polenta into individual sized ramekins and top with leftover fontina and cheddar cheese. add a crack of black pepper, if you like. set the oven to broil and place the ramekins directly under the heat source in your oven for 4 or 5 minutes, or untill the tops are golden brown. serve immediately
this recipe takes a little attention at the beginning but its pretty simple and very tasty.