Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Millet Polenta

Okay, this isn't an exciting post full of pictures about my latest project. That's coming, I promise. But I tried a new recipe last night and it was SO GOOD I had to share it with you.

It was a warm day and we hadn't had beans in a while so I cooked up some black beans and made a Southwest-inspired black bean salad/salsa kind of thing. I put in a lot of fresh lime juice and cilantro. It was good.

Then I recalled a particularly good version of this salad that I made out of a Lorna Sass vegetarian cookbook a year ago. Then, as I tend to do , I looked up the recipe online after I had already made the salad. (You know, to see how I *should* have made it.) Anyway, this recipe came up.
While it's not the exact recipe I was thinking of I thought the Millet Timbale aspect of it was intriguing enough to try. I had all the ingredients on hand anyway. So I made it. Let me say it was awesome. I've made millet polenta before but something about the scallions and the addition of the buttermilk takes this one to another level. It's tangy and rich and wonderful. I had some underneath my black bean salsa and poured the rest in a pan to solidify. I'm trying to think of something else to slap on top of it today.
Lorna Sass' Millet Timbales (Polenta)
3 scallions
1 cup hulled millet, picked over and rinsed
4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim off the root ends of the scallions, then cut the white and light-green parts crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces, keeping the white parts separate.
Place a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the millet; toast it for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently until the grains become fragrant and begin to pop. Gradually add the boiling water, being careful to avoid the initial rush of steam from the pot. Add the white parts of the scallions and the salt, stirring to mix well. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, stirring once or twice, for 15 to 18 minutes, until the millet is tender and most or all of the water has been absorbed. Some grains may still have a little crunch.
When the millet has become tender, whisk in the oil and enough buttermilk to create the consistency of a soft polenta. Add the scallion greens and stir to combine. Season with the pepper, and add salt as needed.
If you wish, divide the millet mixture among the ramekins; let it sit for 3 minutes. Working with one at a time, place an individual serving plate over each ramekin and invert so the millet is dislodged onto each plate. Or pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Let it cool, solidify then cut into squares.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Coming Back.....

Just a quick note to let everyone know I'll be back soon. My dad's memorial service was a couple days ago and now I have no more pressing obligations. The garden is coming up, I just picked the first of my roses and the creative juices are starting to flow. I am SO done with knitting socks for a while....
Thanks for all your heartfelt messages. This past 18 months have been very difficult but they've certainly taught me a lot. Not the least of which is that death is inevitable so I should breathe deep of that wonderful late spring fragrance in the air and appreciate my life.
I like something Tasha Tudor once said. I have this quote pinned on the wall in my studio:
"But it's interesting to go back in ones mind, over what you've done in your youth, and then you realize that every day that passes you have one day less in this fantastic world, and you should make the most of it. But I think so few people appreciate what a privilege it is to live in this beautiful world. And it is a beautiful world."