A Moist Dense Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Candied Kumquats

Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Candied Kumquats- A Stack of Dishes

Earlier this summer I attended a party that served the most delicious olive oil polenta cake. It was densely wonderful, and only slightly sweet. It was the unusual texture that I really fell in love with. It had a slight crunch of the grits, and to counter the low sugar in the cake, a lovely glaze that just fringed the top edge. As you can see this cake has been haunting me. So much so that I had to sort it out- A gorgeous Olive Oil Polenta Cake, just like the one I had tasted. [Read more…]

Creamy Polenta with Bacon and Mushrooms {and A Healthy Hunger is born! Almost…}

Creamy Polenta w Mushrooms~ A Stack of DishesIt’s been a super hectic week as I’ve been furiously working on fleshing out the new website- A Healthy Hunger. As my loyal fans know, the new business is a menu subscription service for folks who want to improve their health with better eating. I offer a Clean Eating menu plan and a Diabetic Friendly menu plan.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this. First off it’s just such a blast creating healthy menus. There is SO MUCH good food to be had that is also healthy for you. Of course my food style as experienced here will translate into AHH. No boring plain-o plain-o. Nothing horribly esoteric either, just beautiful, delicious and healthy eating. Sounds heavenly right??

With luck the final touches on the techy aspect of things will be complete by Tuesday and we can launch full bore. In the meantime you can swing on over there and take a poke around and see what you think. BTW- feel free to drop me a line with thoughts or insights. Good or bad, I would appreciate it. I really want this to be a successful resource for people, so any advice to help me stay on the mark would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Meanwhile, MY eating has been sporadic to say the least. Quick, simple comfort food, such as this creamy polenta, is what’s fueling me right now. In another week I’ll have reached cruising altitude, so I’ll enjoy these indulgences for now.

Creamy Polenta with Bacon and Sauteed Mushrooms
The smokey salty bacon and the vinegar just love the earthiness of the mushrooms. I ate mine with a luscious zinfandel. I highly recommend it.
196 calories
34 g
7 g
3 g
9 g
1 g
298 g
794 g
8 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 196
Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 7mg
Sodium 794mg
Total Carbohydrates 34g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 8g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 cups skim milk
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 cup polenta
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. several healthy grinds of black pepper
  6. 1 basked of cremini mushrooms (you can mix in other varieties, but this was the offering at my market this week)
  7. 2 slices bacon, diced
  8. 2 cloves garlic sliced
  9. 1/4 cup picked sage leaves
  10. 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan add the milk and stir in the polenta until smooth. Then turn on the heat to medium and add the water and salt. I find this method is best as preventing lumps and takes the flurry of activity over a hot flame out of the equation.
  2. Simmer the polenta until thickened and cooked, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile: in a saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy and most of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and pour off excess grease, leaving about a tablespoon of fat in the pan.
  4. Return the pan to a medium heat flame. Add the mushrooms top side down and cook for 3 minutes. Then turn over the mushrooms and add the sliced garlic. Cover and let cook for 3-5 more minutes, then remove the cover and add the sage and vinegar. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  5. Serve a portion of polenta onto one of four plates then place the mushrooms on top. Return the pan to the flame and reduce the vinegar sauce until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with bacon and drizzle with vinegar sage sauce.
  7. Serve immediately.
  1. A little shaved parmesan would be fantastic here- sadly my larder was bare. Add a hearty green salad and you've got an easy and complete meal.
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

Rosemary Orange Polenta Cake: Day 2 Irene’s Beans

So glad everyone liked the donuts! Thank you for all your comments and tweets! The second installment is a delicious coffee cake, that takes no special ingredients and only minutes to get into the oven. Then once in the oven it fills the kitchen with a beautiful aroma of orange and rosemary.
For a little added texture I used a coarse cornmeal. This renders a hearty crunch to the crumb of the cake, and the sugar/rosemary topping adds a sweet crunch to the top. It might seem a bit rustic for some, but I like to sink my teeth into a good coffee cake, and the balanced flavors gives it some grace.
I used fresh rosemary from my window box, but dried would work fine here too. Rather than add rosemary into the batter, I left it for the topping, which infused the cake with the aromatic without overpowering it- allowing the zesty orange to shine through.
The coffee pairing for this (sounds like a wine pairing, doesn’t it?) is Irene’s Barundi Yandaro. It’s a medium bodied roast that Irene describes as having chocolate notes with spice, I sensed it as an earthier robust with spice and some sweet high notes. These beans come from East Africa where the coffee industry is emerging and taking itself very seriously. You can count on quality beans and a rich robust flavor.
The rosemary is a nice compliment to this coffee and the orange zest in the cake gives the sprightly lift it needs to highlight the top notes.
And for the record- if all this nuancing of flavors has you holding your head- forget about it! Enjoy the coffee, enjoy the cake- and have another slice on me.
Rosemary Orange Polenta Coffee Cake
10-12 slices
.5 c neutral olive oil
2 large eggs, room temp
1c sugar
zest of one orange and it’s juice
1.5c all purpose flour
.25 c coarse cornmeal
2t baking powder
1t salt
2T rosemary
4T sugar
mini pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350˚ and prepare either an 8″ cake pan or 4″ wide loaf pan. Grease pan with oil and line with parchment paper (I used a paper bag) and grease that too.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, zest, cornmeal, bp and salt. Stir thoroughly.
In separate bowl whisk together olive oil, eggs, sugar and orange juice.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry and gently but thoroughly mix batter.
Spoon into the prepared pan and distribute evenly.
On cutting board combine the sugar and rosemary. Mince the rosemary with the sugar. This is why the fresh is so lovely, it will impart some of it’s oils and aromas directly into the sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the cake.
Bake in the center of your oven for approx 40 mins until the center of the cake springs back to the touch or a tester comes out dry.
Cool for 5 mins then gently, so as not to mess the sugar topping, remove the cake and cool on rack until ready to serve.
When I stored my leftover cake I simply wrapped foil around the sides, leaving the top exposed. The cake may stale a little overnight, which is fine for a coffee cake, but more importantly, it preserves the crunch of the topping, which is definitely the best part.