Sunday, September 12, 2010

Millet Polenta

As tasty as this meal was, I'm afraid it commits the sin of being more than a hair too monochromatic. After I plated it up, I thought about a story our friend D likes to tell about her mother's all-yellow meal. Apparently it was a thing. This isn't quite all yellow, and it was very tasty, but I don't know that I'll again serve millet and cauliflower together! I've written before about my love for millet. That is well-established. It is by far my favorite grain, though *alas* it is my second choice. I had a short but torrid fling with quinoa before she dumped me. I spent two long, sleepless nights rocking on the couch with a horrible stomachache before I decided that the feeling was mutual. If quinoa hated me so much, I would console myself in the warm and welcoming arms of  almost-as-nutritious and equally sexy millet. One of the benefits to being a millet girl is getting to discover the flexibilities of this grain. Though I usually just cook it up and stir in some caramelized onions before serving it with some greens and a protein of some sort, I also like to soak it, blend it, and make waffles with it. Well, I used to make waffles before my waffle iron followed quinoa's lead and broke up with me. Now I either make millet pancakes or millet waffle fragments. We eat the latter in piles, which is still tasty but lacks something in the looks department. Also, you totally can't spread vegan margarine on waffle fragments.

Traditional polenta always strikes me as such a weird food. Though I like the flavor of the savory cornmeal concoction, I get a little turned off by its texture when served as a soft, pudding kind of thing. I prefer it when it has been pressed into a log or a loaf and then sliced. To make it even tastier, the slices can then be fried in a bit of oil and served with some kind of sauce or pesto or vegan cheese. Of course, I'm not the first person to make millet polenta. A quick google search for millet polenta returns a lot of results. There's one in Vegan with a Vengeance that uses sundried tomatoes and spinach, I think. When I decided to attempt it, though, I knew I wanted to go super simple. I like millet so much that I don't want a lot of other flavors to get in the way. This very basic millet polenta is delicious and savory on its own. You can even eat the slices and skip the frying part all together if you're feeling averse to the extra fat. C and I both enjoyed the slightly crisped slices of polenta, which I topped with a flavor-packed mushroom and caramelized onion tomato sauce.

Basic Millet Polenta

1 cup millet
3 1/2 cups water
1 vegan bouillon cube

Boil the water in a medium saucepan. Add the millet and bouillon and return to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes, checking frequently after 20. When the water has all been absorbed, remove the millet from the heat and allow to cool slightly. When you can touch the grains without wanting to die, scoop it into a loaf pan. Press the millet down evenly and firmly. Refrigerate for an hour or so. The millet wants to set up. It doesn't need much convincing. Ten minutes before you want to eat, loosen the sides of loaf from the pan and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and fry lightly in a large skillet. Top with sauce, or not, and enjoy.

Roasted cauliflower recipe is forthcoming. I've been making it quite a bit and trying to nail down the perfect combination of seasonings. Consider it something to look forward to, along with the September Daring Bakers Challenge and my sister's very special guest blog about vegan macaroni and cheese!

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