Tag Archives: mozzarella cheese

Food Matters Project #31: Polenta with Mushroooms

It’s another Food Matters Project post!  This weeks recipe was chosen by Sandra, of Meadows Cooks.  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, she had chosen the recipe for Polenta Cakes with Garlicky Mushrooms.  Check out what other Food Matters Project participants made here.  For the original recipe, check out Sandra’s post.

Sam and I have been trying to clean out (and by that I mean eat everything) from our pantry, freezer and fridge.  It’s a good way to start 2013- with some organization!  So when I read the recipe and didn’t have all of the ingredients, I decided to use what I did have.  Fortunately, Mark Bittman’s recipes are flexible and forgiving!  The only problem is, the recipe might just not turn out like you had thought.

As you check out everyone else’s posts, you’ll see that everyone has polenta cakes.  Unfortunately, ours did not settle and harden.  So we were left with just polenta- but that did not stop us from eating it.  So this version is slightly different than the original recipe, but I think it’s equally delicious and worth a try!

Polenta with Mushrooms

Polenta with Mushrooms
Inspired from: The Food Matters Cookbook & Honest Fare

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
2 shallots, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Mushroom Topping:
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 bacon strips
1/4 red onion, chopped
10-15 mushrooms, sliced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the mushrooms and shallots.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, next add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Then remove from heat, and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat 4 cups of water until it is boiling.  Lower the heat and add the corn meal, while stirring so no clumps form.  Continue to stir the corn meal until it creamy and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the salt, pepper and mozzarella cheese.  Continue to cook and stir for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat.  Add in the mushroom mixture, stir well to combine all of the ingredients.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil, then add in the bacon strips.  Allow them to cook until they are crisp.  Remove them from heat, and set aside.  Once cooled, chop the bacon into smaller pieces

In the olive oil and bacon grease, heat the onions, mushrooms and jalapeño for about 5 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from heat and toss in the chopped bacon.

Pour the cooked polenta (corn meal) into a bowl, top with the mushroom topping, and serve.

Heat wave & tomatoes

Temperatures are soaring all over the US.  Tomorrow will be extremely hot in DC (100°F or more).  The humidity does not help.  And if you’ve been to DC in the summer before, you know how sticky it gets here.  So with the temperatures soaring, all of us are melting into puddles.  Non-cooking dishes do not only sound fantastic- they are essential for our survival.

What I do like about summer are tomatoes.  Especially tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market.  Have you ever really looked a tomato?  Up close?  Aren’t they beautiful?

And what do you do when you have delicious looking tomatoes and it’s hot outside?

Tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil.


I hope all of you go out and get some beautiful tomatoes, and enjoy them.  All you will need is:

tomatoes (depending on size about 1-3)
fresh mozzarella (2-3 small balls)
basil (5-10 leaves)
Salt & pepper

Cut the tomatoes into slices.  Arrange them nicely on a plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Chiffonade the basil, and sprinkle over the plate.  Lastly, slice the mozzarella, and place a piece on each tomato slice.  You can drizzle the dish with olive oil, but I preferred the earthy flavor of the tomatoes.  Serve and enjoy.  A fresh baguette and butter are a fantastic addition.

And to leave you with something more to read, rather than just looking at the delicious pictures, here’s an interesting article.  It discusses how the tomato flavor and production in the US has changed over the last 50 years.

How Industrial Farming ‘Destroyed’ the Tasty Tomato

Stay cool!