Fresh Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce ~ ElephantEats.com

Before I get to the recipe, I just wanted to share some news. As of today, we are officially homeowners! I know I mentioned the house in a past post, but our closing was today. Also, this weekend we did the walk-through and Nate FINALLY saw the house for the first time. Ridiculous, I know. He says he just really doesn’t care what our house looks like. I’d like to think it’s that, plus that fact that he trusts my judgement.

 First Time Homeowners!

Anyway, I’m happy to report that he really liked the house, especially the front porch. We’re going to be doing major renovations and I’ll try to share some pics along the way. I don’t want to show you guys the “before” pics til we have “after” pics because it really doesn’t look like much. Also, the layout is going to completely change.

Also, I don’t share many pictures of my adorable kitty L.C. on the blog (there was her hatred of halloween costumes, and her attempt to photobomb my food pic, and her wearing her christmas best), mainly because I feel like once I get started it would be hard not to share a ton- she is by far the most photographed subject in our apartment. Anyway, I thought this picture was just too funny not to show you. 

So a while back, I took this picture of L.C. while Nate was squishing her head with his chin, and when I showed it to him he said she looked like Teddy Roosevelt. I could not imagine what on earth he was talking about until I searched pics of Roosevelt and found this one. There is an uncanny resemblance! Right?!

 Teddy Roosevelt Cat

Ok, so moving along. I wanted to share this recipe with you guys before summer, and the season’s yummy corn, is no longer around. I pinned this last summer because I thought the idea of making a polenta out of fresh corn instead of cornmeal just sounded really intriguing. I would never have thought of it. 

Fresh Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce ~ ElephantEats.com

Anyway I finally got around to making it. I invited my friend Erica over and she seemed to really like it, although she did put a lot of hot sauce on it. I think I just undersalted it a bit. Anyway, it was delicious and rich, but not exactly what I was imagining. I totally think you should give it a try though. The combo of the creamy polenta and chunky eggplant topping was really good.

I slightly altered the amounts in the recipe. My main adjustment was to cut back on the water added before cooking it down. As you can see from my pics, I couldn’t get it to thicken up to the consistency it should have been because I didn’t have the patience to sit and stir it for another hour. In my directions below I say not to add any liquid back, in order to fix this problem. Definitely give it a try before summer’s over!

Fresh Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce ~ ElephantEats.com

Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
Serves 4
A creamy polenta made from fresh corn instead of dried goods!
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Eggplant Sauce
  1. 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  2. 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  3. 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  4. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  5. 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned) (I used canned)
  6. 6 1/2 tablespoons water
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Polenta
  1. 6 ears of corn
  2. Water
  3. 3 tablespoons butter, diced
  4. 7 ounces feta, crumbled
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. Black pepper
Eggplant Sauce
  1. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it -- the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before added the eggplant back in. You can save the oil for another use.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
Polenta
  1. Remove the leaves and "silk" from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife or corn stripping tool to shave off the kernels -- either stand each ear upright on its base and shave downward, or lay each ear on its side on a cutting board to slice off the kernels. You want to have 1 1/4 pounds kernels.
  2. Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid. Process them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. Now return the corn paste to the pan and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency, adding more cooking liquid if you like a thinner polenta. (If you have a lot of liquid left in the pan, it can take a while to cook down the polenta, and it will sputter.
  3. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Adapted from (slightly) Yotam Ottolenghi @ Food 52
http://elephanteats.com/

Raise your hand if you have subscriptions to Bon Appetit, Food & Wine,  Cooking Light or some other cooking/food magazine.

Raise your hand if you tear out recipes and then hoard them, never actually making them.

Yeah, I’m guilty. I always think the recipes sound so good and then I put the clippings somewhere never to be found again. Or sometimes I get the urge to file them somewhere, where they then sit without being touched.

This mostly happened when I was single because I really don’t enjoy cooking for just myself. Since I’ve started dating Nate, however, I find myself cooking for us most days of the week. This has gotten me on the search for new recipes to try out. That’s when I realized…I could finally put my recipe stash to good use!

I pulled all the recipes out the other day and went searching through them. I’ve put aside a few, but one in particular caught my eye.I had mostly been avoiding it in the past because it looked complicated, but when I took a deeper look it wasn’t really too bad- Eggplant, Tomato, & Smoked Mozarella Tart.

I made a few shortcuts revisions so the recipe wouldn’t take all day. One of these included microwaving the eggplant. This was also because I hate how it soaks up so much oil when you roast it. I basically steamed it instead and then baked it quickly to dry it out so as not to get my dough all soggy.

I was also wary of the “dough” since it contained no yeast. I didn’t want this to be a tart and was hoping for something more like pizza. I happened to have some Sweet Rice Flour leftover, so I combined it with regular flour create a more elastic dough (which can usually only be achieved with yeast) rather than a flaky tart shell.

It definitely wasn’t like a pizza dough, since it didn’t rise, but it was a good substitution if you’re short on time and want the same flavor. I also subbed whole wheat flour for the wheat germ since I really didn’t feel like going out and buying a jar just for this recipe, left the fresh mint out, and replaced dried oregano for the fresh.

Nate and I both agreed that it tasted very fresh and the flavors were yummy. I was in such a rush to get it all cooked that I forgot to parbake the crust. I left it in for an extra 10 min, but I assume that had I made it the way I was supposed to, the crust wouldn’t have been as soggy as it came out for me. Oh well, it was still a quick and delicious addition to dinner! *Note that the recipe below is as the recipe was intended, not with my changes.


Eggplant, Tomato & Smoked Mozzarella Tart

Taken from Cooking Light

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Serves 4 (2 wedges each)

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray

Filling:
1 (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk; make a well in center of mixture. Add water and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Gently press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and chill 15 minutes.

Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap dough, and place chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap. Fit dough, plastic-wrap side up, into a 10-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press dough against bottom and sides of pan. Pierce bottom and sides of dough with a fork; bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, arrange eggplant on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels; brush eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Stack eggplant slices on a plate; cover with plastic wrap. Let eggplant stand 7 minutes to steam.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, oregano, mint, and tomatoes.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons smoked mozzarella on bottom of baked crust. Layer eggplant and tomato mixture in crust; sprinkle with 6 tablespoons smoked mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into 8 wedges.