living with just a little less

Parmesan Polenta Fries & Chipotle Nut Dip

I’d have to say that of all the foods out there, deep-fried foods really have never been my thing. It’s no secret that I always gravitate towards clean foods versus, well, the alternative (and this is not to say I deem the food I don’t prefer to eat as unclean).

As a youngster, I never really liked many of the more popular common foods, and made many an earnest attempt to fit in with my peers – most notably a number of failed attempts to eat meat. These were always a giant disaster, as inevitably I would need to find a napkin or a suitable vessel to spit out my mouthful when my throat violently closed up on me, demanding answers as to what I had just asked it to do. Swallow a piece of turkey? It just was not going to happen. Literally. My mom took to calling me a‘karmic vegetarian’, as if I didn’t already stand out enough, but oh well. It could have been worse I suppose

Since I really just wasn’t destined to consume the stuff, I’d say by about grade 4 I decided to give up on my dreams ofbeing just like everyone else.I accepted that I was just naturally different and so it has been for forever and a day (and I don’t judge folks who aren’t like me, because that would just be, well, silly).

Today’s recipe is a testament to how re-makes of classics are sometimes better than what we already know, and while I do love potatoes, I’d take this version of a ‘fry’ in a heartbeat over the heavy, oil laden potatoes so many of us consume. Combined with this dip, inspired bythis potato salad, this is just about the most darned delicious treat I’ve tasted in a while. And one hint: the whole thing is crazy easy.
Parmesan Polenta Fries:
~ Adapted fromEpicurious

(3) 1/4杯冷水
(1) cup coarse polenta
(3/4) tsp salt
(1/2) cup grated Parmesan (I used our good house brand, nothing too high-end, but not Kraft)
2 tablespoons butter or coconut butter
olive oil for brushing

Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil. Combine water, polenta, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Once the polenta boils, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring here and there with a wooden spoon until thick, about 15-20 minutes, ensuring the heat is low enough that it doesn’t stick or burn to the bottom.

Stir in cheese and butter until incorporated, then transfer polenta to the baking dish, spreading evenly with a dampened rubber spatula. Chill, uncovered, until set, about 45 minutes. This can be done well in advance, even up to a day (which is what I did), just cover it in foil after it’s cooled and it will be good for days. To cook, heat the oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush (very lightly) with oil, or you can do this without the foil.

Remove the polenta from the pan, and place on a work surface. With a sharp knife, cut into one-inch sticks (I got about 22 fries). Place the fries oil side down on the oiled pan or foil, and brush the tops with oil and space evenly on the baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip over carefully and broil a further 5 minutes on the other side until crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool a little.

Chipotle Nut Dip:
~ Inspired byLuminous Vegans

(1/2) cup raw macadamia nuts (or whole cashews)
(1) tbs olive oil
(2- 3) tbs lime juice
(2) canned whole chipotle peppers
(1/2) tsp salt
(1/4) cup water
finely chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy, tasting to adjust the lime juice (I like it on the tart side). I happen to be sitting on a 5 pound bag of macadamia nuts that I bought in Hawaii, and had been wanting to try them in a nut dip for some time. I’d say it far exceeded my expectations (I adore mac nuts). For those who wish to use cashews, the result will be just as delicious, just not as rich and creamy (but very very close). Serve in a bowl garnished with cilantro for colour if desired.


26 responses to “Parmesan Polenta Fries & Chipotle Nut Dip

  1. 制作!黑豆汉堡这下降会吗l send to the next level (and the air’s pretty thin up there!) and the idea of polenta fries is, well, crazy good! thanks shira! Lucky for us you were born to stand out!

  2. You are B-E-A-Utiful right down to your younger days!! We all have those moments of trying to fit in. Your body knew meat could be sketchy before it was even “cool!” HA! This looks delicious, I tried polenta for the first time last year and was so surprised by how much I loved it!

    1. Thank you lovely lady! I tried so hard — so very hard! In the end I guess I always just preferred vegetables. These fries would be great without the added cheese too!

  3. Amazing Shira! Sooo creative and I bet so delicious! I love the dip…I make a kind of similar spicy creamy dip using coconut cream, lemon juice, apple juice and chili powder for get this, sweet potato fries! Super fast and easy. I just shared it on Facebook this week but haven’t posted it yet on my blog….I totally need to try my dip with your polenta fries…to die for!

  4. i’ve always wanted to make polenta fries, but always forget. i love polenta so much so i just can’t wait to make these!

    i was a little bit of an anomaly growing up, too. my parents didn’t keep junk food, soda, etc. in the house and we didn’t eat fast food very often. it wasn’t until high school that i became best friends with a girl who had an incredibly fast metabolism and a craving for all things bad. i started eating like her and gained 20 pounds…hmmm. i should have never convinced my mom to take me to mcdonalds every week.

    1. Oh my goodness that’s wild Caitlin! Good to hear you corrected that pretty quick – and good that you already had a taste for the healthier stuff!

  5. It’s so nice to hear that I’m not alone in having the oddest aversions to things growing up. I’ve found that as I get older and become more aware about the sources of food (especially meat and dairy products), my taste preferences tend to blur environmental/moral consequences with the taste of the food itself, so that it’s difficult for me to really embrace a meat dish at all anymore. It’s a tiny bit sad to let that side of things fade (I come from a family that really does love meat, and it’s a big cultural tie for us), but it’s moments like these that I feel really great about the new opportunities, too. Can’t wait to try these polenta fries–thank you!

    1. Thank you for sharing this Ala – I can relate to this totally – and think it so amazing and important to follow your body and your heart! I hope you get to try this recipe too

  6. I have always been intimidated by polenta fries- you make it look so easy!

    Thankfully our long weekend is this coming weekend and I couldn’t be more excited

  7. Fries used to be my downfall- if they were put in front of me I would eat the whole thing! Nowadays though even a couple bites and I regret it later- my stomach and my palate just don’t like them anymore! Not that I’m complaining

    These look so delicious, a much better alternative. And they can out so perfectly fry-shaped!

    1. This dip is so amazing Kiersten – and too funny! I should take a page out of your book and use the cooked stuff!

  8. The quote attributed to Oliver James… Oliver James is an actor and he did speak that line in a movie: “What a girl wants”.

    I love the quote. I really liked that little movie….Colin Firth, Oliver James, Kelly Preston, Amanda Bynes and Eileen Atkins plus some other outstanding British actors. But the quote – it is a line from the movie not the unique words of Oliver James. Not being critical, just clarifying as I happen to love the quote and have it printed and posted near my desk.

    1. Hi Liz! Amazing, thank you for clarifying that for us – I will make sure my fave quote reference knows this too It is a great quote and I really should see this move now…xx
      Thanks again!

  9. So tasty! Just made the dip, but I only had pecans. The colour was not as pretty as yours but the taste is all there. I will have to try it with macadamia nuts too. I’m not a fan of polenta, but the word fries is making me want to try polenta one more time using your recipe.

    1. Good to know it still works with pecans – another super versatile & oily nut. We love them too! Let us know if you do try the fries – they are really really good…not at all like mushy polenta. Thanks again Elle!

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