Tag Archives: polenta

¡hot plate! pork ragu w/ polenta

24 May

Last week I wrote a post on the 10 things you need in your kitchen to be a great cook. Okay, so what do you do with all that stuff once you have it? Well I’ve noticed many of my favorite recipes follow a similar cooking pattern; this ragu recipe from The Parsley Thief is the latest example of how a few basic steps can add up to make culinary magic:

Step 1: Brown your meat. The recipe called for beef short ribs, but I went for pork shoulder. (Several vendors from the farmer’s market recommended it as a good alternative because it has a similar amount of fat as the beef short ribs.)

Braised pork shoulder

This pig's shrugging days are so over.

Step 2: Sautee some veggies. See all the yummy flavor bits the meat left behind? So important. Plus when my pots get all messy like this it makes me feel like a real cook in the way I imagine Tim “The Toolman” Taylor felt like a real mechanic whenever there were grease and wrench heads strewn all over his garage.

If this came with audio, I would be doing a self-satisfied Tim Taylor kitchen grunt in this shot.

Step 3: Add some saucy stuff, throw the meat back in and chillax. The best part about these kinds of recipes is that once everything’s in the pot, you get to just walk away and let it cook itself while taking complete credit for how good it’s going to turn out.

Its last words were "Be inspired."

Step 4: Take care of any finishing touches. This includes things like adding time-, flavor- or temperature-sensitive ingredients (i.e., herbs that would burn if added earlier ) and mercilessly tearing your meat into bite-sized shreds.

Puree sauce, shred pork, get way too excited about the delicious ragu smell filling your house.

Step 5: Serve. You can eat your ragu over polenta, pasta, gnocchi–or just ravenously devour cold it straight out of the Tupperware. (Not that I would know. … Okay, I totally know.) Either way, you want to make your leftovers last as long as humanly possible, because this is one dish that gets even better with age–I had my last bowl of this over a week after I originally made it, and it was twice as amazing as I remembered.

Mangia mangia!*

*Note: Photo from The Parsley Thief. Her pic was just way better than mine (even though it’s beef). UGH, fine. Here’s my pic:

No laughing at my runny sauce!


¡hot plate! spicy shrimp over polenta

22 Aug

This week’s hot plate comes straight from another friend, Ashley Zach. Ashley and I used to share an office when she worked with Moore Consulting Group, and I distinctly remember being jealous of her ridiculously delicious-looking lunches on a near daily basis–so it was my pleasure to cook this spicy shrimp and polenta recipe from her brand spankin’ new foodie blog, Sprout.

You guys, I am going to cut right to the chase: This recipe is amazing. How amazing, you ask? Do you know that feeling, when you’re someplace quiet and you catch a sunset and it makes you realize how beautiful the world is? That is how I felt eating this dish.

Ashley, if you want to be a caterer I hope you will let me hire you. To cater my life. Because damn.

spicy shrimp over polenta

Spicy shrimp over polenta

A few notes on the experience:

It was my first time cooking with jalapeño. I normally avoid anything spicy, but after making this I can assure you that rule has been tossed directly out the window. Delish.

It was also my first time shopping at Southern Seafood Market in Tallahassee. If you are like me and have never been to a seafood market, find one. My jaw literally dropped when I walked in the door; I had no idea fish could be that beautiful. Or fresh. Or enormous.

And to round out the list, this was my first time cooking (or even seeing) polenta. Mine was instant and I think the texture was off, but it was still good.

I so, so enjoyed this recipe, and it was actually easier to make than you would think. I am not kidding when I tell you I got a little teary-eyed when I tasted that first bite, and after telling myself to pull it together–it’s just dinner, for chrissakes!–my brain went into autopilot and I didn’t think another thing until that entire plate was clean.

Thank you, Ashley, for sharing!

Tomorrow: Lessons from the kitchen. Turns out not all recipes have such happy endings. Stay tuned!