Polenta - Food Merchants Inc.

Pre-Cooked, Heat & Serve, Kosher

polentagroupPolenta is considered a traditional Italian dish, and is a staple of Northern Italy where it is as popular as pasta. What is polenta? It is basically cornmeal mush and is considered a comfort food – like pizza − and can be served in place of potatoes, pasta, or rice. The history of corn meal and polenta is long and we won't attempt to reconstruct it for this article. Suffice to say, it was used throughout Roman times and can be prepared in a multitude of ways. It is economical and was associated with humble homes. But as you know, what is considered "humble" food somehow, someday becomes gourmet.

Polenta can be found on the menus of  top restaurants and is now often featured in cookbooks and food magazines. There are so many ways to prepare this smooth, creamy, filling dish but they all start with the basic stovetop recipe: a saucepan, liquid, corn meal – cooked over low heat, stirring, until thickened. Once the polenta is made, it can be refrigerated and cut into shapes for frying, grilling, baking, and broiling. Or, left as a mush, it is delicious served with dishes that have gravy, or topped with pasta sauce and cheese. It is wonderful with the addition of added flavors such as lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, curry, chilies, etc. The ways to serve it are up to your imagination. Polenta (corn meal mush) has found its way to many countries: Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc. Each calls it by another name and add their special "touch" to make it uniquely theirs – in Romania it is called Mamaliga and is served topped with melted butter and crumbled cheese.

Food Merchants Inc., distributed by The Quinoa Corporation, makes polenta in pre–cooked, ready to heat & serve, 18-ounce rolls (chubs). Now you can enjoy this Italian national treasure without the standing over a hot stove and stirring. KosherEye has been using this product for years and it is a staple in our pantry. There are so many ways we prepare it and our two favorite are:
•  Slice, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 400 degrees, turning once, until nicely browned.

•  Place in a stovetop pot, mash with a potato masher, add water or broth (chicken or veggie) and whisk until smooth, bubbly and hot.

The Food Merchants Polenta products are available in the following six flavors:
•  Traditional
•  Sun Dried Tomato
•  Basil/Garlic
•  Chili/Cilantro
•  Mushroom/Onion
•  Ancient Harvest Quinoa Polenta* New

The Polenta products are organic, fat−free, gluten−free, non GMO (not genetically modified organism) and are certified kosher Kof K parve. In  today's busy world, there are occasions when time is of the essence and some shortcuts are absolutely needed when preparing a hot, nutritious meal. And this is one convenient and delicious product we recommend for those shortcuts.

Try the following Polenta Appetizer recipes – Let your imagination be your guide to appetizers with Food Merchants’ organic Polenta.

•  Cut polenta into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and heat in 350º oven or place in a toaster oven for a few minutes to warm through. Remove from oven or toaster and top with cheese, antipasto or your favorite topping. You can choose the best size for your presentation and then simply cut the polenta circles into halves or quarters.

polenta20dishes•  Spread a layer of pesto on a circle of polenta and cut into quarters.

•  Brush a circle of hot polenta with your favorite olive oil and garnish with fresh basil.

•  Substitute polenta for garbanzo beans in your favorite hummus recipe. Super!

•  Melt a slice of your favorite cheese on a circle of polenta and add a dollop of marinara.

•  Slice Food Merchants’ polenta as thin as you can. Place several circles in the toaster oven and toast until almost crisp. Dip into your favorite salsa for fat-free chips and dip.

Visit Quinoa.net for additional information and for additional recipe ideas, visit Polenta Recipes.
Available at most Whole Foods Markets.

May 16, 2012

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