Roasted Beets and Polenta, Two Ways

Polenta Cake, Beet Greens, Goat Cheese, Roasted beets, and Walnuts

Polenta Cake, Beet Greens, Goat Cheese, Roasted beets, and Walnuts

You read enough recipes and it becomes second nature. You just know certain things work well together–like beets and goat cheese. So you walk into the kitchen with a vague idea of what you plan to do, but then, as you get going, you let your instincts take over and you just enjoy the ride.

Beets are washed, wrapped in foil, and put in the oven to roast. Chopping garlic scapes, you feel compelled to toss a handful of them into the creamy polenta cooking (too quickly!) on the stove. After stirring in the garlic scapes, you scoop the polenta into a pan and move it to the oven to cook more slowly.

Beautiful beet greens

Beautiful beet greens

Turning your attention to the mess of beet greens, you decide they would be best if cooked down, so you set about washing and chopping them. As the timer alerts you that the beets have finished roasting, you contemplate the options of how best to use the yummy tahini dressing you just made, now that the greens will be cooked down. Drizzled over top perhaps? No, you decide, tossed with the roasted and diced beets! Removing the polenta from the oven, you cut it into six squares, and remove one to be pan seared, creating a nice and crispy cake. You toss the greens into the pan, working quickly to pull it all together after what has been a quite laborious process.

Greens ready, you begin to layer your creation.

Layers of love

Layers of love

Polenta cake, beet greens, a few dollops of goat cheese, tahini-dressed roasted beets…

Something’s missing…

Walnuts!

You grab a few from the bag your purchased just this morning, crumble them in your hand, and scatter them over the top.

Viola!

Dinner is served.

plated 2

Roasted Beets and Polenta Napoleon

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized beets and their greens
  • 1 cup polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal)
  • salt
  • 3 cups water
  • Butter, for the pan
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic scapes, chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic scapes
  • 3 Tablespoons water, as needed
  • goat cheese
  • walnuts

Method

Prepare the beets: Thoroughly clean each beet, and wrap, individually, in foil. Roast in a 375 degree oven, about 45 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Once cooked, open the foil and allow the beets to cool. Run under cool water and use your fingers to peel the skin from the beets (it should be very easy to do!). Dice the beets and set aside in a bowl.

Wash and coarsely chop the beet greens, discarding most of the stems. Set aside.

Prepare the Polenta: Bring 3 cups of lightly salted water to boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and transfer the polenta to a small baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the dressing: Whisk or shake tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, honey garlic, and water until well combined.

Putting it all together: Toss the roasted beets with the tahini dressing (as much as looks good to you). Cut the polenta into squares. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Pan sear each square, flattening it a bit, about 2 minutes per side. Remove polenta from the pan, and add the greens, stirring until they are nicely wilted, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Layer the polenta cake, greens, a few dollops of cheese, a mound of beets, and a sprinkle of almonds.

Beet and Polenta "Quiche"

**Beet and Polenta “Quiche”

Beet and Polenta “Quiche”

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • Roasted beets, as per above
  • Beet greens, wilted
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooked polenta, as per above
  • Goat cheese

Method

Spread polenta squares in the bottom of an oven-proof skillet. Spread cooked beet greens and roasted beets over top of the polenta. Crumble goat cheese over the vegetables. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well beaten. Pour the egg mixture over top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, until set. Finish under the broiler for 2 – 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

**When I posted this picture on Instagram, Helene asked me for my “recipe.”  The recipe above provides loose instructions for how I used the leftovers from the Napoleon recipe to create a “quiche” of sorts. Perhaps “tortilla” would have been a better description… the egg soaks into the polenta like it would the potatoes in tortilla espanola, but also sits lightly on top, as a quiche  would sit in its crust.

Enjoy!

-L

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg

Over the weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with one of my dearest friends. It was so nice to sit with her in person and share the latest about love, friendship, family, and our mutual infatuation with Ashtanga yoga.

Brunch is served

Brunch is served

Driving home on Sunday after a terrific brunch at Green Pig Bistro, my friend’s favorite jaunt for brunch, dinner, or drinks, I felt absolutely full and nourished.

But I don’t mean full and nourished by the food.

Brunch was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I was filled and nourished by so much more…

Our friendship has reached a point of such ease and comfort, it amazes me. What’s mine is hers, and vice versa. So much has changed since we first met, on move-in day –our first day of college – 7.5 years ago. We have seen each other through the highs and lows of college life and the ups and downs of life in our 20s. Even though our visits are always too short, they leave me full of joy, and immensely thankful.

Weekend brunch is truly one of life’s greatest little pleasures. Whether it’s spent catching up with friends or doing crossword puzzles with my husband, I love lingering over a delicious meal with a cup of tea in hand. This recent brunch creation was a winner that will be repeated again soon.

Runny yolk, crispy kale, tomato sauce with a slight "kick"

Runny yolk, crispy kale, tomato sauce with a slight “kick”

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ~3 kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • marinara sauce
  • parmesan cheese

savory brunch closeup

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss kale with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake kale until crispy, about 10 minutes.

Bring vegetable broth and water to boil in a saucepan. Add garlic, salt and pepper; whisk in polenta until smooth. Add almond meal and whisk until mixture thickens; add butter and whisk until melted and combined.

Poach eggs, 1 or 2 at a time. Divide polenta among 4 bowls. Top with crispy kale, poaches egg, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

egg porn

Gorgeous egg yolk, creamy polenta

The almond meal adds variety of texture and flavor, while the crispy kale perfectly contrasts the smooth and creamy polenta. I chose marinara sauce for flavor, but I imagine that other sauces (hollandaise, tahini, honey mustard, to name a few) would work well, too.

I hope this brunch nourishes you and your closest friends and family, as my brunches have nourished me.

-L