Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grilled polenta cakes topped with toasted sesame asian slaw and bbq pulled pork (vegetarian option too)

Have you ever had that experience when you're cleaning out your kitchen cabinets and you discover a long forgotten ingredient that you haven't thought of in ages but once you find it an amazing meal idea strikes? It's kind of like finding a new dress that's been stuffed in the back of your closet that you forgot you had...I love this feeling. Moral of this story is, I found a bag of polenta today! Polenta is typically served in traditional Spanish dishes, it resembles grits but they have a slightly different flavor. Polenta is particularly delicious when prepared with Parmesan cheese (but really, what isn't better with cheese? Am I right?) it just gives it some flavor while adding to the creaminess. I paired it with some good ol BBQ and some Asian slaw for some added texture. This meal would make an awesome entree OR you could cut the polenta into smaller circles and serve them as an appetizer!

Grilled Polenta Cakes

makes about 12-15 cakes

6 cups water
2 cups polenta
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 TBS butter
1-2 TBS milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)


1.Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.
2.Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
3.Finish by stirring in the cheese and salt to taste, if polenta dries out you might want to add a splash of milk.
4.Pour polenta into a sheet pan, spread evenly and let cool. Cut into desired shapes and grill on each side.

By grilling it, you're just creating a nice and crisp layer on both sides, trust me, it's worth the extra step!

Toasted Sesame Asian Slaw

1/2 a head of red cabbage, shredded (you could you regular cabbage if you prefer)
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, mined (equals about 2 tsp when minced)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 TBS white vinegar
1 heaping TBS crunchy peanut butter
1 TBS toasted white sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


1.Combine everything and mix. Refrigerate when finished.

BBQ Pulled Pork

For my home made BBQ sauce click HERE or you can just use your favorite brand

for the pork...

Dry rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt


1.Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
2.Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it's falling apart.
3.When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes.
While the pork is still warm, you want to "pull" the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to "pull" shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

*Pulled pork recipe from Tyler florence

For a vegetarian option try THIS

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