Sunday, December 27, 2009

Polenta of Possibilities

Inspired by a new cookbook I received for Christmas, my culinary adventure du jour was polenta. The recipe was as simple as cornmeal, water, and salt but I decided to spice it up with 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Once the polenta had cooked, I pressed it onto a lined cookie sheet and allowed it to cool for about an hour. Using a cookie cutter, I created small rounds. Each one was brushed with olive oil and pan fried for 2 minutes on each side creating a wonderfully crisp outer shell on which to perch delicious toppings. I dressed the crunchy cornmeal cakes with onions that were caramelized in apricot nectar and butter. This brought a wonderful sweetness and balanced the heat of the cayenne pepper. Since it was truly a blank canvas on which to create, fried polenta has secured it's place as another weapon in my culinary arsenal.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

PB & Ganache Sandwich

It's that time of year again... cookie exchanges, secret santas, and gift giving galore. Christmas baking is in high gear here at my house and today I stumbled upon a delicious combination - chocolate ganache and peanut butter cookies. Since I happened to have a vast amount of chocolate ganache, thanks to my truffle making endeavors, I decided to boost the yum factor of my peanut butter cookies by combining them with the sweet chocolaty filling. Sandwiched between two perfectly crisp cookies, the gooey ganache added a level of flavor that can be described in one word... perfection. It's a simple, classic combination but one that makes me weak in the knees every time. There is no resisting the power of chocolate and peanut butter.