Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Little Round Hot Things

I don't mean hot as in "spicy hot." Although you certainly could spice them up if you felt like it. It's just that I snapped the pictures when they were right out of the oven and the camera lenses kept steaming up if I got too close.

What we have here is a magical incarnation of polenta that is sorta-kinda based on a recipe I found at Food Down Under. Incredible web site with all manner of recipe bounty covering just about any sort of food you can imagine. For the polenta, for instance, there are 587 recipes!

If you want to see the original for this dish, look up Recipe #93777, titled Easy Cheesy Savory Polenta. Those instructions call for pouring the cooked polenta into a pie dish and cutting it into wedges. I poured mine into a rectangular baking pan and cut out the rounds with a small biscuit cutter. The rounds were roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and I got 23 of them. The scraps will be chopped up and sauteed golden brown and added to a hash. For my version of Little Round Hot Things, here's what you do:

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, put 3 cups water, 1 cup cornmeal, 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon and whatever seasonings strike your fancy. I used a healthy dose of Mrs. Dash chipotle seasoning. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, whisk thoroughly, microwave another 5 minutes. Whisk again, then whisk in a tablespoon-sized glob of butter, a tablespoon of dried onion flakes and about 1/4 cup (2 ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese. Spread polenta in oiled pan, trying to smooth it as level as possible, and let cool for at least 15 minutes. (I just slipped the pan in the refrigerator.) Cut out rounds and place on cookie sheet.

Now, the original recipe says to broil one side for 5 to 7 minutes, then flip everything over, sprinkle with shredded cheese and broil another 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Which is what I did. In retrospect, I'll bet I could have simply baked it at about 400 degrees until the cheese was just right and the Little Round Hot Things would have ended up pretty much the same -- without all that flipping stuff over. That's what I think. I'll find out next time I make these -- and there WILL be a next time.

I'm thinking these would make darned good party food. You could make the rounds up ahead of time and freeze them, then just take them out and bake them when ready. Or even just do them up earlier in the day, right up to the oven part, then bake them just before you want to serve everybody. They are great finger food because they hold their shape while remaining creamy-smooth and tender and addictively delicious. And, really, you could add all kinds of interesting goodies to the polenta before you spread it out to set. Minced green and red pepper, for instance. Or sun-dried tomato. Or tiny bits of cooked chicken or pepperoni or whatever.

Little Round Hot Things. Yeah. Makes me smile.


Wendy said...

Making me smile, too, and looking an awful lot like dinner around here.

Dee said...

(grinning) Works for me, Wendy. After all, a whole bunch of 'em were my lunch while hot -- and I just snacked on a couple that were room temp and found them still delicious, so I figure dinner and midnight snack are still doable.

John Bailey said...

I do love snacks, and little round hot things are great, too... ;-)

Bex said...

I have a question. I read once that microwaving ANY kind of food was bad for you/us/the body in general. I do use my M-wave on occasion but since I read that, I've cut way down on using it. All I remember was that the author said "never eat anything that has been microwaved." I wondered if you or any of your guests here know why or more about that theory?

Mage And George said...

Hey Dee........those look good. I made corn bread the other day, and I could have as easily made those.

Thanks for that Question Bex. I've heard that before but discounted it. One of us should do some research on that. Google propably has 205,000 articles on that.

Dee said...

John, I'm grinning and agreeing.

Bex and Mage: excellent question and one I've pondered myself. I've thought of bringing it up before but didn't know if anyone was interested. I have done some research into this and, with your question, dug in a little more. Results in tonight's blog entry. (smile)

Wendy said...

Dee, I just made the wedge version, using your microwave technique. Oh, my. So good. So very, very good.