Monday, April 20, 2015

A Little New York At Home

Flying back to San Francisco from New York my checked luggage included a bright red cooler bag literally stuffed with Italian Sausage and cheeses from New York's finest shops (and a couple from my family in Baltimore too). This seemingly innocent coil of Faicco's Sausage Shop's broccoli rabe sausage started it all.  James loves broccoli rabe and James loves Italian sausage and I have never seen one flavored with the bitter vegetable before. I had to bring it home for him to try. So started the cooler.
I proudly laid this coil in a pan heated with a slick of olive oil and a splash of water and cooked covered over medium heat until the sausage was browned on the bottom. I flipped the coil and let it cook for about 10 more minutes still covered until brown on both sides. Okay -- sausage carried lovingly home is one thing, but the polenta -- that's another.
Mercifully I always have some polenta or rice in the house so I can always pull together some kind of dinner. I used to stir polenta on the stove. Then I discovered oven baked polenta and I thought why ever make it any other way. Then came crock pot polenta. It takes longer to cook but stays warm waiting for diner. Make in advance, worry free polenta. Why ever make it any other way.
Until now. For some reason I started browsing rice cooker recipes on the internet. I had read some chef mention that he makes oatmeal in a rice cooker. I tried it and low and behold without paying a bit of attention I had a warm sweet delicious breakfast for James.
What else could I do in there?? Polenta of course.
1 cup of polenta. 4 cups of liquid (I used 2 of chicken broth and 2 of water but if I'd had any milk in the house I might have used some too). A pinch of salt. A knob of butter.
Cook on white rice setting. When the cycle ends give everything a good stir and mix in grated cheese. Set the rice cooking cycle to go again (we like ours a little extra thick) or just allow it to sit on warm. When you are ready your polenta will be too.
No mess, no stirring, no bother. Polenta becomes and everyday dish.
Really -- why make polenta any other way.

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