lemon + herb cucumber pasta salad.

Remember last post we talked about potato salad? Today, let’s talk about another summer staple: pasta salad! Now, I typically love pasta salad. Even bad ones. You know the kind: overdressed, with sad scraps of vegetables (hi, canned black olives and reconstituted bell pepper!), from the box. Pasta salad has infinite renditions, which just means infinite opportunities for it to go awry. Not today! I was flipping through my newest issue of Real Simple, and found this pasta salad loaded with crisp, bright cucumber, a lemony mustard vinaigrette, and topped with fresh herbs. If ever a pasta salad was calling my name, this was it!

IMG_6373

I made this for a garden party I went to, and it was so delicious! I normally don’t care for feta (or cheese at all, really) in salads, but the feta really works here (I tried both with and without). The salty quality and soft oh so slightly creamy texture really coats the pasta in the perfect way. If you do not like cilantro as so many do not, I would swap for parsley — the grassy notes would really work here! For a vegan/dairy free option, use cashew cheese or simply omit! It is still really yummy sans cheese. Promise!

IMG_6374

The cucumber is super refreshing, especially on a hot summer day – perfect for summer parties! Enjoy this twist on a classic!

lemon + herb cucumber pasta salad.
adapted from Real Simple.

ingredients
1 pound dried, short cut pasta, cooked to package directions
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved
1 pound English cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thick, cut into half moons
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea or pink himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lemon half

directions

Heat a pot of water to boiling and add a teaspoon of sea salt. Add pasta to the pot and cook to package directions to al dente. Remove, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; toss to coat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk mustard, lemon juice, zest, garlic, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and emulsify to combine. Add cucumbers and feta to the bowl and toss gently to coat.

Once cooled, add pasta to cucumber mixture and toss to combine. This mixture can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance. Just before serving, add cilantro and mint, drizzle with oil, add last bit of sea salt, pepper and juice of lemon half, toss and serve immediately.

Serves 12 as a side/appetizer; 4 as a main dish.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

Advertisements

roasted sweet potato salad.

People feel really seriously about potato salad. Mayo, or no mayo? (<– NO. Never. Yuck.). Eggs? Chopped pickles? Celery? It can be made a plethora of ways, but for me, the idea of potato salad is almost always better than the reality. I too often find them bland and unappealingly gloppy. Aside from the warm, vinegary German potato salad I grew up on and LOVE, I always tend to be disappointed. HOWEVER. I stumbled upon the idea of a sweet potato salad and was immediately intrigued. You guys. I have your new summer staple picnic salad!

IMG_6165

Yes. This salad combines roasted sweet potatoes with crunch red bell peppers, scallions, roasted frozen(!) corn, dressed in a bright yet lightly sweet honey dijon lime dressing (<– use agave for a vegan dish)! The original recipe I used for inspiration included black beans and cilantro, but I decided to keep it simple and omitted the cilantro simply because it didn’t look good at my grocery store the day I was there. I would also probably skip the cilantro for parties, as many people have a vehement dislike for it. There is so much going on here, you won’t miss it. Promise. 🙂

IMG_6166

As a bonus, this is better the longer it sits as the flavors will be allowed to mingle and marry. Letting it rest for 30 minutes is necessary, but you could make this a day ahead – so convenient for busy schedules! I served this with chicken enchilada meatballs and tortillas, but this would be amazing inside the tortillas for vegan tacos or enchiladas! Enjoy this new warm weather favorite.

IMG_6164

roasted sweet potato salad.
adapted from Averie Cooks.

ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.25 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper (1/2 teaspoon each)
1 cup frozen roasted corn (thawed)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
3-4 scallions (green parts), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon raw honey (agave if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet lined with foil and nonstick cooking spray, add the sweet potato. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes, tossing about halfway through, to ensure even browning. Check potatoes for doneness around the 30 minute mark; they are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork but are not falling apart.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the red peppers and scallions and add them to a large bowl along with the thawed corn. In a small bowl, whisk together the tablespoon of olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, lime, salt, pepper and cayenne until emulsified.

Once the potatoes are done cooking and at room temperature or slightly warm, add to the bowl with the vegetables, pour the dressing over top and toss gently to combine.

Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Keeps well for up to 5 days. Serves 4 as a side.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

turmeric spiced pork chops with scallion-lime couscous.

I have such an easy weeknight meal for you today! This takes less than 30 minutes and it’s on your table and it is so flavorful! Turmeric spiced pork cutlets with the most delicious scallion lime couscous. Yay!

IMG_6108

NOW. If you want the deepest, porkiest flavor, you can use bone-in pork chops (buy 4 for 4 servings), and they will need to cook longer; about 5 minutes per side for medium/medium-well. I wanted quick and easy, no muss, no fuss for this weeknight delight, so boneless cutlets it is! I actually purchased pork chops, split them, and lightly pounded to about 1/3 inch thickness. Stores typically sell cutlets though, so purchase whatever looks good to you and lines up with your effort level for that particular day. I know how it is: sometimes, even the thought of dicing an onion sends me running from the kitchen and out for takeout. Other times, I could spend 5 hours in the kitchen. It’s all about balance, people.

IMG_6109

Back to the pork chops. The glaze is the real star of the show here – thick, rich and full of umami, thanks to the fish, oyster sauces and the tomato paste. So many people shy away from fish sauce, but I find it essential! It gives dishes a depth of flavor that is not at all fishy; think of it like worcestershire  or even soy sauce – flavor boosters! And it goes perfectly with the scallion and lime couscous. For a low/no carb meal, switch out the whole wheat couscous for quinoa or even riced cauliflower – yum!

IMG_6110

turmeric spiced pork chops with scallion lime couscous.
adapted from Cooking Light. 

ingredients
1 pound boneless pork chop cutlets (about 8 cutlets)
1 large garlic clove, halved
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 bunch green onions
1 cup whole wheat couscous (dry)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
zest of one lime
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

directions
Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat (or preheat grill). Pat pork cutlets dry and rub with the garlic clove half. Season evenly with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and tomato paste. Baste each pork cutlet on first side, basting the side facing up once you place it on the grill pan (brush an additional coat if you have marinade leftover).

Pour remaining tablespoon of oil onto grill pan, and cook (in batches if necessary), grilling for 2-3 minutes per side until desired doneness. Remove and keep warm.

In a saucier, heat cup of water until boiling, add the dry couscous, remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and pepper, lime zest and sliced scallions (and teaspoon oil if desired). Stir quickly and cover, removing from heat. Let stand for 5-6 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Serve the pork cutlets alongside the couscous with a lime wedge, squeezing the lime over the couscous. Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.

When faced with two leftover sweet potatoes and a smattering of cooked, chopped up bacon pieces, what’s a girl to do? Why, make an impromptu dish of mashed sweet potatoes, of course!

IMG_5275

In truth, I had an entirely different recipe planned for you today, but despite liking it, I still felt (and feel!) that something was missing, and it needs a bit more tweaking before it makes its way to you. Instead? I turned some leftover ingredients into a decadent yet relatively healthy (yes!) side dish.

IMG_5273

Now I know sweet potatoes are considered a staple on Thanksgiving holiday tables, but why regulate them to just that holiday? I love love love sweet potatoes, especially when they are paired with more savory ingredients – like the bacon, chipotle pepper in adobo here. Chipotles in adobo comes in little cans that you can typically find in the International foods aisle in your supermarket, but if you can’t find them or don’t want to purchase a whole can for this recipe, you can substitute one teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. However — the chipotles in adobo freeze really well, so I encourage you to buy the can! The leftover chiles are amazing in chili. Enjoy these – they are simple to make yet fancy enough for your holiday table!

IMG_5274

smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.
adapted from cooking light. 

ingredients
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 3-4)
1 tablespoon grassfed butter
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, minced
sea salt and black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and roast 60 minutes or until a fork would pierce the whole potato easily. Once cooked and cool enough to handle, remove the skins and place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl, mashing slightly.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towel and roughly chop.

Add the bacon, maple syrup, chopped chipotle chili, sea salt and pepper and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with agrodolce sauce.

As if roasted vegetables could even get any better, we are drizzling them with a sweet and spicy argodolce sauce. Mmmmmmmmm.

IMG_4973

You can use any vegetables you like for this: I used butternut squash and sweet potatoes with an onion because they were what I had hanging out in the fridge. Beets, cauliflower, white potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts; all would be fantastic. But let’s be honest: this is really all about the sauce.

IMG_4972

Argodolce is so versatile! I first had it spooned overtop pan fried pork chops, and have found many ways to serve it up since then. It’s simple to make: just balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary, garlic, and a hint of crushed red pepper flake. And butter, of course. Butter is the key to making sauces velvety smooth and luscious when you add it in at the end of the cooking process.

The argodolce will continue to thicken after you reduce it, so I like to drizzle it atop the roasted vegetables right away, but you can always serve alongside the vegetables and let everyone dip/drizzle to their liking.

IMG_4975

It’s hard not to eat the whole pan of these. Trust me!

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with argodolce.
agrodolce adapted from Everyday Italian. 

ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 butternut squash (about 1.5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper
chives, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

agrodolce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon butter

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, add the cut squash and potatoes, onions, sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir well to combine and then spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan, as the vegetables will steam, not roast.

Add to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until golden and tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the sauce: In a small saucier, add the vinegar, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat, allowing the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half. Once the sauce is reduced and will coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until it has incorporated.

Place the roasted vegetables to a platter and drizzle the argodolce overtop. Garnish with chives if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4 as a side. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

turmeric roasted cauliflower.

After I made those cauliflower steaks last week (yum!), I was left with a sizable amount of a cauliflower florets leftover (the cauliflower I had was positively huge!). I love, love, love roasted cauliflower, and thought it would be perfect side dish to snack on this week. I typically roast cauliflower very simply, with just olive oil, salt and pepper, but decided to give this dish a spiced up version.

IMG_4872

I love turmeric, and it is so very good for you. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is often used is Indian cooking. It has a bright deep yellow color, and besides being super healthy, the flavor is earthy and fragrant, with hints of ginger and citrus. I’m combining turmeric with ground cumin, with is warming and spicy but not hot, resulting in an aromatic flavor combination that will go beautifully with the nuttiness that arises when you roast cauliflower.

I line my baking sheet with foil, as the turmeric can stain, and the foil allows for easy cleanup! Eat as a side dish, or mix in with any cooked grain, or in a bowl by itself for the main dish, like me!

IMG_4873

turmeric roasted cauliflower.

ingredients
1/2 large or 1 small head of cauliflower, broken down into large florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets, drizzle in the olive oil, ground turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Add to the pan and spread out in one even layer.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway to ensure browning on all sides. Cauliflower florets are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

Remove to a platter and season with additional salt/pepper if needed.

Serves 4. *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

curried corn with red bell peppers.

As much as I love summer produce and harvest season, it’s a relatively rare occasion that I indulge in what could be considered the ubiquitous summer vegetable: ears of corn, fresh off the farm. I think corn’s status as the king of summer vegetable is rivaled only by tomatoes.

I am typically content with simple corn on the cob, smeared with butter and a healthy dash of salt, especially if it is Mexican street corn, aka the only time I allow mayonnaise anywhere near me. There are exceptions, however, and today’s recipe is a delicious exception that takes corn to a whole new place. Curried corn. 

IMG_4570

I was watching a travel food show a while back, and a scallops dish was highlighted, but I was intrigued with what was beneath the grilled scallops: curried corn. It sounded so different and decadent, and I knew I had to try it at home. We’re using plain yogurt in place of heavy cream, which is healthier and an added source of protein. You’ll want to use plain yogurt, preferably full-fat or 2%; you need the milk fat for right texture/creaminess. You can use either mild or hot curry powder: I like mild for this.

IMG_4571

This makes a fabulous, interesting side dish that is sure to be gobbled up. I served it alongside some wild shrimp, quickly sauteed with sea salt and pepper. A perfect late summer meal!

IMG_4572

curried corn with red bell pepper.

ingredients
4 ears fresh corn
1 medium sweet red  bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of grassfed butter
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
cilantro, optional, to garnish

directions
Heat butter in a medium/large skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted and lightly sizzling. Add the shallots and bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent and peppers begin to soften.

Add the corn, curry powder, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Let cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the corn is cooked through (you may have some golden spots on the corn). Add the yogurt and stir consistently until the yogurt is well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sea salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from pan and serve, garnishing with cilantro if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*

 

 

easy refrigerator dill pickles.

These are the fastest, easiest dill pickles EVER. E.V.E.R. Are you hearing me? As in, I didn’t have regular vinegar and went out at 9:30pm on a Sunday and still came home and made them-fast and easy. Are you with me? Good.

IMG_4537.JPG

I was at a farmer’s market over the weekend, and kept seeing those little wrinkly pickling cucumbers that were calling out to me. “Make dill pickles” they said. “You’ve been craving pickles”. So I picked up a basket before I left deciding that I would make refrigerator pickles. Sanitizing jars and boiling brine and processing in a water bath was just not on my agenda. Ah, laziness.

I love pickles of all kinds: beets, cauliflower, cucumbers, beans, fish… all very good in my book. A few years ago my dad and I got really into canning and spent several Sundays in a row making all kinds of yummy things, and the whole process was demystified for us both. Growing up, late summer was synonymous with my mom standing over the kitchen counter preserving her garden’s bounty. As I child and teenager this seemed odd to me (why can tomatoes when I can just go the store and buy them?). Now I know how amazing it is to taste a farm fresh tomato or peach in the dead of winter.

IMG_4536

Anyway, back to these easy peasy refrigerator pickles. As awesome as shelf stable canning is, it’s a day long endeavor. Enter this simple, alternative method. All you need is vinegar, sea or kosher salt for a simple brine (no heating required!), cucumbers, some fresh dill and boom! Pickles. Sounds too good to be true, but the hardest part is waiting 2 days before you crack open a jar. Waiting a week is best, but patience is not my strong suit. These keep well in the fridge for several weeks, but if you’re anything like me, they’ll be gone shortly after they’re opened. The level of vinegar will worry you, as it did me, but trust me, this works. The salt and vinegar will draw out moisture from the cucumbers, and voila! Just give the jar or jars a shake or two every time you open the fridge door. Magic will happen in that refrigerator. Trust me.

easiest refrigerator dill pickles.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
10-12 kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thin
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, torn or roughly chopped

directions
Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the washed and dried cucumbers into 1/8 inch thick slices.

In a large jar, add all the cucumber slices. Pour in the vinegar, salt and tuck in the dill. If your jar is too small to fit all the cucumbers (as mine was), I suggest mixing the salt/vinegar/dill separately, and then adding appropriate amounts to the jars (half as much to a jar that is approximately half the size, for example).

Place the jars in the refrigerator, and give them a shake every time you remember/open the fridge door/every hour or so. They will be ready in about 8 hours, but try and let them hang out for 48-72 hours. Please? And then? Devour. Now, or three weeks for now.

roasted sweet potatoes with lemongrass creme fraiche.

I was recently gifted an absolutely delightful cookbook, titled Plenty. It is the cookbook from the restaurant Ottolenghi, and it is a vegetable-centric tome. It was purchased because the gifter said “I saw this artful, complicated, ridiculous photo on the cover, and it just knew you would appreciate it”. And I do! The book is organized by vegetable/vegetable family, and there are so many amazing recipes. Today I bring you one from that book: roasted sweet potatoes with lemongrass creme fraiche. YES!

IMG_4452

Doesn’t that just sound delicious? We are taking the roasted sweet potato, a standby item in my kitchen, and amping it up with a dusting of ground coriander for spice, and pairing with this utterly fragrant sauce on the side. You guys. Lemongrass is like if lemons and limes got together and had a very elegant baby. Pairing it with spicy ginger, citrusy lime and the creamy, velvety and slightly sour taste of creme fraiche? Forget it. Divine. You can absolutely use 2% plain greek yogurt in place of the creme fraiche if you either can’t find it, or are looking for a more affordable option.

IMG_4451

I apologize for the photos you guys, it was super rainy and dark on the day I made them, but they were too good not to share! These lasted about 5 minutes in my home, and I’m willing to bet the same goes for you! Serve these up as an appetizer for entertaining, or as a main dish with a little baby arugula on the side drizzled with olive oil. So simple!

roasted sweet potatoes with lemongrass creme fraiche.
recipe from Ottolenghi cookbook, Plenty. 

ingredients
3-4 sweet potatoes equaling 2 pounds
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut or grapeseed oil
3/4 cup creme fraiche (can sub 2% plain greek yogurt)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 lemongrass stalk, very thinly sliced
zest and juice of one lime
dash of sea salt

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes and dry thoroughly. Slice each potato into spears, cutting each potato in half lengthwise, and then cutting each half into 6 even spears. Add cut spears into a large bowl and add 1.5 teaspoons of coriander, sea salt and oil. Mix well and add seasoned potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet.

Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the potato slices after 10-12 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, assemble the sauce. Add the creme fraiche, lemongrass, ginger, lime zest and juice and mix well. Taste, and add the sea salt, adding more if needed.

Once potatoes are fork tender and crisp, add to a plate, being sure to only set them in a single row (piling will steam them, and cause the roasted potatoes to soften) and serve with the creme fraiche immediately.

Serves 4 as a side/appetizer.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

basic, perfect polenta.

I’ve been trying to get better at meal planning for the week, as I already make about 24 stops at Wegmans/Trader Joes/public market/natural foods store each week. It never fails, I inevitably forget an ingredient or pick up a quick meal. I always have the best intentions to do a weekly shop…

A few weeks ago, I picked up some hot turkey Italian sausage at a great price, but never had time to make it, so I promptly tossed it in the freezer. When I did said weekly meal prep, I decided to cook up that sausage with some marinara. I wasn’t in mood for pasta, so I decided to make the classic Italian side dish, polenta.

img_3159

Mm, polenta. Have you ever tried it? Polenta is not for weeknight cooking. Classic polenta is made from humble cornmeal, and it takes a while for the cornmeal grains to swell up and cook properly to become tender, yielding that creamy finished texture, not unlike grits.

Polenta is remarkably simple, in both technique and number of ingredients. I used homemade stock for mine, but if you use store bough stock, please try and buy low sodium, as you’ll want to adjust the salt you use. Most recipes have you add the cornmeal to boiling water, a la quinoa or pasta, but not here! I think that contributes to the risk of lumpy polenta; no thank you! We want smooth and creamy: starting both cold and lots and lots of whisking will alleviate that risk.

Leftovers can be cut into squares or triangles and fried crisp in a pan with some oil; you’ll see the leftover polenta will thicken up considerably.

img_3160

Serving this under sliced Italian sausage and marinara sauce was a hit, and a delightful change from pasta. This homey, cozy side dish is perfect for short January days.

basic, perfect polenta.
adapted from New York Times Cooking. 

img_3161

ingredients
4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese plus 1 tablespoon (I have used an Italian cheese blend with mozzarella, fontina, romano with success).

directions
In a deep saucepan or saucier (2-3 quart), combine the stock, cornmeal, olive oil, salt and pepper over medium high heat. Whisk often (consistently, if not constantly), until the mixture comes to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Partially cover and cook for at least 45 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so. When polenta becomes too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon, adding the additional cup of stock if needed (I always add 5 cups in total). Polenta is done when it pulls away from the side of the pot, and individual grains are tender and creamy.

Turn off heat and gently mix 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl. Top polenta with about 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

Serves 4-6.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**