I am so excited to review Dynise Balcavage’s newest cookbook! This book is packed with fun and fabulous recipes, covering a wide variety of holidays from the traditional (all of the usual cultural and religious holidays) to the not-so-traditional (like Girls’ Night In, Snow Day, Tailgate Party, and Slumber Party, to name a few). Even better, these recipes also make fabulous go-to recipes for weeknight dinners, when you want to get out of your rut and try something new and out-of-the-box.
The polenta fries is one of those recipes. I cooked up a pot of the polenta, thinking that I would serve them up along side some veggie burgers. What I discovered was not only were they really delicious as fries, but that the polenta itself would be wonderful served up on it’s own, topped with a grilled portabello mushroom or oven-roasted veggies. This stuff is good!
Everything that I have made from this book has been delish. The Thai-Centric Mac & Cheese is outstanding (and actually you can find not only that recipe but also a video of the beautiful Dynise preparing it, on Everyday Dish). I’ve also tried the Sticky Rice with Mango, Sweet Potato Pie With Pecan Crust, Bruschetta With Easy Romesco Sauce and the Smoky Tahini Sauce. Everything was really delicious!
Fortunately for all of you, Dynise and her publisher have generously offered a giveaway, but have also said that I could share the recipe for the Polenta Fries. Unfortunately the giveaway is for US residents only. All you have to do is leave a comment below, and your name will be entered into the drawing for a free copy of the book. Don’t forget to include your email address, so that we have a way to reach you if you’ve won.
Now, before you go, here is the recipe for the Baked Polenta Fries. I highly recommend that you go give them a try soon!
Baked Polenta Fries
These grain-based fries are a fun, healthy, alternative to regular French Fries, and you can easily whip them up using pantry staples. If you are of the supermom or superdad persuasion, instead of cutting them into “fries,” use cookie cutters to form them into kid-wowing shapes like animals, hearts, stars, and more. Serve with ketchup or Vegenaise, or with the Cumin-Harissa Dipping Sauce if you’re serving this to adults or adventurous kids.
Yield: A lot -enough for 4 hungry kids (or adults!)
6 cups broth
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup polenta or fine cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Spray a large (9 x 13-inch-ish) cookie sheet with cooking spray. Use a high-sided sheet if you have one.
2. Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt, herbs and nutritional yeast. Reduce the heat to low, then whisk in the polenta, a bit at a time, taking great care to whisk away any lumps. Be very careful at this stage, because the polenta can bubble up like lava.
3. Whisk continuously until extremely thick, about 10 minutes*.
4. Remove from heat. Using a spatula, spread into the prepared cookie sheet, making sure the dough is at least 1/2-inch thick. Let cool (place in the fridge to speed up the cooling time, if you’re in a hurry), then cut into fries or desired shapes. If cutting into fries, make sure they are between 1/2- and 1-inch wide so they will hold together. Preheat oven to 425°F.
5. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn over fries, and coat the other side with remaining oil. Bake 20 more minutes or until crispy.
Adapted with permission from CELEBRATE VEGAN, by Dynise Balcavage, 2012, LyonsPress
*I found that it took closer to 20 minutes for me, which may be due to the brand of polenta I used. I used Bob’s Red Mill.