With all of the lovely summer vegetables available this was a simple tasty dish.  It is a replica - sort of, of a recipe I saw somewhere but seem to have lost.  So, it took some " brain storming" with my not so great memory, some liberty with ingredients and luckily it turned out delicious.  Thank you to whoever came up with this similar recipe, it was delicious! Italian Polenta is always such good comfort food regardless of what the ingredients are.
A word about corn:  Some celiac's have trouble digesting corn - myself being one of them.  However, I have learned by trial and painful error I can eat corn if it is organic.  And I seem fine with cooked polenta.  Having said this, it is a food I do not eat large amounts of as corn is hard to digest for anyone.  This dish would be lovely with fresh organic corn - something hard to find in my area, so have used organic canned corn in place of.  Homemade fresh pesto is a lovely addition, but a good organic store bought one will do in a pinch.  Also, for a vegetarian dish use vegetable stock.
1 pint organic grape tomatoes
1 cup chopped yellow organic zucchini - slice in rounds 1/8th inch thick then cut into fours
1/2 cup of red onion roughly sliced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
few good splashes of Balsamic Vinegar
salt and fresh cracked pepper
Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Toss all of the ingredients into a bowl then transfer to a baking dish.
Roast 20 minutes and remove from the oven and set aside.
Swiss Chard:
2 cups organic swiss chard leaves cut finely into ribbons
5 minced garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tblsp. EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a saute pan on low/medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the minced garlic to the pan, saute until fragrant - a minute or 2.  Add in the chard and saute for 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the fresh lemon juice and continue to saute for 2-3 more minutes.  Remove to heat, and gently combine with the tomato/zucchini mixture.  Place in the oven on the lowest temperature to keep just warm.
1 cup Polenta
4 cups chicken stock
salt - enough added to the stock to taste salty - polenta needs salt
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tblsp. butter
341 ml or 12 oz. organic canned corn - drain well
Add the chicken stock to a pot and season well with salt.  Bring to a boil and slowly add the polenta whisking well.  Turn down to low on a light simmer.  Frequently stir so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  This will want to cook for a good 30 minutes, if needed add splashes of water to keep from drying out.  At the 30 min. mark add the drained canned corn stirring well to incorporate, then the Parmesan cheese and butter, again stir well.
Remove from the heat, and plate, then add a big spoon full of the roasted tomato/zucchini/chard on top of the polenta and garnish with pesto.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Oh how I love Italian Food. What I love is, Italians keep their food simple, without any fuss or complex ingredients, always using fresh ingredients and as a result their food is always delicious.  Jamie Oliver once said he was born in the wrong country....I very much think the same thing!
This recipe was quick, easy, elegant and delicious.  What makes this dish so easy is you can make up the polenta the day before or the morning of.  You can also use leftover marinara sauce or use a store bought jar of marinara if you are in a crunch for time.
How this recipe came about is years ago we had this dinner in a restaurant and I fell in love with it.  That was back in the day when I did not know anything about anything in regards to cooking.  However, I never, never forgot about this wonderful meal. This dish would be wonderful cut into smaller portions as an appetizer too.  Anyways, for whatever reason, this recipe popped into my head the other day and I thought .... yes .... it is time to give it a go.  So happy to go down memory lane...and how delicious it was too.
1 cup of milk (we use 2% lactose free)
2 cups water (plus keep extra water on hand)
1 Bay leaf
salt - be generous
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup Parmeasan cheese
Combine milk, water, generous amount of salt to season, and bay leaf in a good sized pot.  Bring to the boil on low medium heat.  Add in the polenta - whisk well, then turn down to a good simmer.  Now using a wooden spoon continue to stir well.  Keep stirring for a good 30 minutes.  I added in total at least an extra 1/2 cup of water a bit at a time continuing to stir.  When it feels smooth to taste remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese mixing well.
Lightly oil an  8 1/2 x 12 inch glass casserole dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Transfer the cooked polenta to the casserole dish spreading out evenly.  Allow to cool 20 min. then refrigerate until 30 minutes before it is to go into the oven.
one  796 ml/28oz can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 minced garlic cloves
fresh cracked pepper
2  generous Tblsp. finely chopped Italian Parsley, and fresh Basil
Heat up a sauce pan of low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the minced garlic, and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute until fragrant - a minute or 2.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and add the finely chopped parsley and basil stirring to combine.  Take the casserole dish of polenta out of the fridge and put aside.  Keep the marinara on a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 min. and remove from the heat.
Other ingredients:
130 grams herb crusted goat cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
10 asparagus spears - cut in half
While the marinara is simmering, blanch the asparagus for 1  1/2 min. drain and add to a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add a few generous ladle fulls of marinara sauce on top of the polenta - spreading evenly.  Then a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese, topping with the blanched asparagus.  Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese through out the dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.
To plate:  Add a small ladle full of marinara sauce to your plate, then add a slice of the baked Polenta Asparagus Goat Cheese.  It is amazing how a few simple fresh ingredients can create a delicious wonderful meal.  Enjoy!  We sure did.

Please contact me through my email with your mailing address to receive your free copy of the cook book....congratulations Linda!
I recently received The Italian Diabetes Cook Book Delicious And Healthful Dishes From Venice To Sicily and Beyond written by Amy Riolo.  Published by the American Diabetes Association.
First, let me say, this cook book has so many wonderful recipes it was a tough call choosing a few to test for this post.  Just flipping through the cook book had me wanting to make every single recipe - and there are 150 of them!  This will definitely be a cook book I will use time and time again. It has also been a fun new taste experience for my family.  Each recipe I have made has been seriously delicious.  If you read my blog, you know I am a lover of food, especially Italian, so this is a cook book that pulled me in right away.
On another note, a good friend of mine recently passed away.  He was a diabetic who was very careful with his diet and exercise regime.  He did not die from diabetes, but from other health/age conditions at the age of 72.  He often said, "if people followed a diabetic diet, there would be less obese and much healthier people in this world".
In reading this cook book I would totally agree.  The recipes use local, fresh in season ingredients.  Wholesome food that is delicious and nutritious.  The book begins with Appetizers, then First Course recipes, 2nd Courses, Side Dishes, Salads, Breads, Sauces and Condiments,  and Desserts.  Amy also offers many gluten free options for her recipes  - every recipe made for this post, of course, is Gluten Free.
If you would like to receive a FREE copy of this lovely cook book, just leave a comment saying what your favorite Italian dish is.  One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.
Here are just a few of the dishes I have made so far:  By the way, all of the pictures of the recipes I have made were taken by my dear husband so he gets full credit here.
CLASSIC MEATBALLS (POLPETTE) A TRADITIONAL CALABRESE DISH: (quick, easy to make and we loved them, we have had them twice now)
Next up:  ASPARAGUS, ORANGE, AND FENNEL SALAD (INSALATA DIASPARAGI, ARANCE, E FINOCCHI): (this salad was so refreshing and delicious, again quick and easy to make)
(I would like to add a note in regards to this delicious dish:  The beans listed in the book call for Borlotti beans sometimes known as Cranberry Beans.  I went to a local health food store and here they are called Heirloom Anasazi Beans - so they are known by a few new favorite dried bean)  This dish has lovely subtle flavors that get even better the next day.
Now for a couple of dessert recipes:
Next up:  Yogurt Gelato (GELATO ALLO YOGURT) with Strawberries: (this was surprisingly refreshing and full of flavor with added vanilla)
Next up:  IVREA'S POLENTA CAKE (POLENTINA DI IVREA) This was a moist delicious cake with subtle flavors....we loved it!  Again an easy dessert cake to make and lovely to serve with tea, plus it is the first time I have used Almond Flour...what a great texture it adds to baked goods.
I really had a fun time in the kitchen making these recipes.  You should see my copy of the cook book - dog ear'd, lots of book marks for all the other recipes I still want to make, it already looks well used, which in truth it is and certainly will be even more so down the road.  Thank you Amy Riolo for your cook book of delicious recipes, my family loved them all.
(Don't forget to leave a comment saying what your favorite Italian dish is, we have 1 cook book to give away free!)

Yeahhh....I had a day off to cook something new!  With it still being September, our tourists are still here so work is still quite busy.  But today I had a day off...time to head into the kitchen.
Merciful heavens....this was one delicious dish.  I have never made a savory Polenta dish before - so so good!  Jamie Oliver has often said he was born in the wrong country (meaning he should have been born in Italy)....I think I am with him on this one.
As kids growing up, we would have creamed corn meal breakfast cereal - give me savory any day!  We had this dish with my Breakfast Sausage  With Tomato Rosemary Sauce meal - only here I used  Italian Dinner sausages - a marriage made in heaven.
This is a dish I will make time and time again. While the Italian Sausage with Tomato Rosemary Sauce was in the oven, it was perfect timing to make the Italian Polenta.  I really, really recommend making both of these dishes - they are perfect for each other - and true Italian at it's best.
DH was away this nite and missed out.  He was jealous.....don't blame him I would be too.
Creamy Italian Polenta:
2 shallots, finely minced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3  1/2 cups chicken stock, reserve 1/2 cup
3/4 cup Polenta/corn grits
8 sun dried tomatoes (in oil, blot off oil with a paper towel, then finely chop)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup aged Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil
salt and fresh cracked pepper
This is the Polenta/corn grits I used - Gluten Free of course:
Heat up a large dutch oven on medium low heat with the olive oil.  Add in the chopped shallots and garlic, sauteing a few minutes until translucent.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Pour in 3 cups of chicken stock, and add the sun dried tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer, then add in the polenta.
Stir quite frequently on a low heat.  After 20 minutes, add in 1/4 of the reserved 1/2 cup of chicken stock.  Bring back to the simmer, stirring.  At the 30 min. mark add in the rest of the stock.  Bring to a simmer stirring well.  When more thickened add in the grated cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese stirring well to combine.  Add in the minced Basil and remove from the heat.  Serve with extra minced Basil on top and if making the Italian Sausage with Rosemary Sauce, add that on top of the polenta.  You will not be disappointed...that is a promise!

We live for asparagus season in this household.  When it arrives - we have asparagus dishes pretty much every day.  Here is an interesting article on the health benefits of this power food.
This is not so much of a recipe, but more of a method - so easy, and so tasty.  I'll also post some of our favorite asparagus recipes to entice your taste buds.
8 fresh asparagus spears
feta cheese
dash of season salt - I used this one
dash of balsamic vinegar
3 small tomatoes sliced
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Add the asparagus to a roasting pan along with the tomatoes, and a sprinking of feta cheese, olive oil, season salt, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper tossing to combine.
Roast for 20 minutes and serve along side a poached egg.  This dish is lovely on it's own, or as a side dish to any main meal.
Onto more asparagus dishes:
One of my very favorite risotto's:  VEGETARIAN RISOTTO:
And finally a delicious SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS SALAD:
Recently, I had a most delicious asparagus dish at a restaurant - it was to die for.  It was asparagus wrapped in goats cheese and polenta.  It looked difficult to make, but I will give it a try, and keep everyone posted if it works out. Not holding my breath here...but wish me luck!

I have never made homemade Polenta before.  I had tried the store bought, that comes in a round tube.  Can't say I thought too much of it.  But homemade?  Delicious.  I am having so much fun with the cook book Emeril At The Grill, his picture looked so good, I thought I would give it a try.  No comparison to the store bought.  This was soooo good. Now I did not get the beautiful grill marks that Emeril did, nevertheless, this was amazing.  Crunchy on the outside, soft on the die for!  I did make some changes to his original recipe, which can be found on page 46.  I used soy milk instead of whole milk, and used freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese instead of Mascarpone.  This recipe was a lovely accompaniment to Emeril's Best Baked Beans, we also had BBQ Pork Loin Chops, and a garden salad. Polenta is a nice change from potatoes, rice, or pasta, if you have never made it, give it a try!
1 1/4 cups soy milk
1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 Tblsp. butter
olive oil
(Emeril suggested cooking the polenta for 20 minutes, but mine was thick and done in about 5 minutes, not sure why, but it worked.)
He also recommends a very clean grill, that has generously been oiled with olive oil.
Using a 9x13 inch baking pan, lay down parchment paper, that has been generously greased with butter - butter side up.  Cut another piece to fit on top, generously grease with butter and set aside.
Using a large sauce pan, combine the milk, water, salt and pepper and bring to a good simmer.  Slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking the entire time, and turning the heat to a low simmer.  Keep whisking until the polenta reaches a nice thick consistency - about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, and stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese - mixing well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the polenta onto the greased parchment paper, smoothing out with a spatula to get an even shape.  Place the other greased piece of parchment paper over top of the polenta, pressing down to cover.  Refrigerate 4-6 hours.
Preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Trim the polenta, and cut into even sized squares, rectangles, or triangle shape.  With a clean grill, generously oil the grates. Brush the tops of polenta with olive oil, placing the oiled side onto the grate.  Then brush the tops of the polenta with more oil.  After 3 minutes, rotate the polenta to achieve nice grill marks.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Turn the polenta over to grill the other side, same process.  Serve hot, with more grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Served with any meat or vegetarian dish...lovely.