Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled Summer Vegetable and Mozzarella Polenta Stacks with Honey-Balsamic Dressing

Tomorrow is the first day of school around these parts. I'm not ready to trade in my sweet watermelon for studious apples, but apparently August is the new September. I'm still sucking on summer down to the very last drop in Mother Nature's ice cream cone. And although my children will begin school tomorrow, it's not the butterfly in the stomach kind of first day. I'm a home schooler, so tomorrow will be quite a bit like a regular summer day, except instead of lounging on beach towels, we'll continue with violin and piano, World History and Geography, Spanish and Science, etc. We'll still swim, but on recess, and we'll still play with friends, but after 3:30. And there will be no apple on my desk, but perhaps I will have a wedge of watermelon while I teach about Shakespeare and Rossetti and the ephemeral wonders of youthful summer days.

Here's a recipe designed to celebrate the true nature of August, a still golden summer month.
The Pioneer Woman is hosting a recipe contest featuring healthy dairy products,so here's my entry. She's offering some fun prizes, so enter one yourself!
Money Saving Tips: Hit your farmer's market or backyard garden for summer's bounty. Save money by using a domestic mozzarella on your polenta-no need for the fancy stuff here. If fresh basil is too expensive, you can used about 1 teaspoon of dried, or better yet, try fresh rosemary or sage. You can purchase a prepared roll of polenta if you're short on time, but it will be less than 1/4 the cost to make your own.
Grilled Summer Vegetable and Mozzarella Polenta Stacks
Estimated Cost: $7.00 for four servings
olive oil cooking spray
2 cups low-fat milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces on the bias
2 large summer squash, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces on the bias
1 medium egg plant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
4 ounces thinly sliced part skim mozzarella cheese (I used domestic mozzarella)
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Coat an 8 by 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and stock to a boil over medium high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often for twenty minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to prepared dish. Refrigerate until cool and set, at least 40 minutes. Preheat grill for medium hot grilling. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Brush a very small amount of balsamic mixture on both sides of cut vegetables(except tomatoes); place on tray. Slice polenta into 8 equal squares. Spray each side with no stick cooking spray. Grill vegetables and polenta over medium high heat. Grill eggplant and polenta for about five minutes per side, and squash for about four minutes per side. During last two minutes of cooking, cover polenta with mozzarella slices to melt. To assemble, drizzle grilled vegetables and tomatoes with all but 1 tablespoon of balsamic mixture. On each of four plates, place one slice of polenta (cheese side up) on each plate. Stack with grilled vegetables and tomato slices and sprinkle with basil. Top with one additional polenta slice, cheese side up. Sprinkle with basil and a tiny bit of remaining dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Coming at the first light of Tuesday:
Tuesdays with Dorie-maybe the best one yet
Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

33 comments:

ashlee said...

Hey Prudy,
My sis in law is dying to make some of your recipes... however, her computer for some reason will only show the pictures and not the recipes. Have others had this problem? Maybe it's just her computer. I told her I could copy them and email them to her. You truly have amazing recipes.
thanks again!

Lina said...

what a fresh summer meal!

Prudy said...

Ashlee:
I've never heard about this problem from anyone else. Have her email with any recipe requests and I will email her any of the recipes she wants. Thank you for being such a supportive reader.

The DeL Sisters said...

I love polenta! Have to try this sometime!

Thanks for the comment!

Cow girl #1

Emiline said...

Your school sounds like fun. Especially with swimming. I wish my mom had home schooled me.

The stacks sound delicious. I love polenta. Good luck to you.

Marie said...

That looks like one mignty tasty looking stack of grilled goodness! Well done Erin!

Beth said...

I don't cook with polenta very much - Im not sure why really. I have a stack of polenta based recipes that I have bookmarked - perhaps I will make a start this week! This will be on the list of to do's.

Katherine Aucoin said...

The name of the recipe is a mouthful in itself. I love polenta, ok heck I love all of it. This is a recipe that I would like to try on "spa day" when I'm home alone and can enjoy it all by myself. Or maybe you need to home school me - lunch sounds divine at your school!

Aggie said...

I would feel so good after eating this! The veggies look absolutely wonderful...and I love polenta!

I love what you wrote about summer ending and school starting...Happy first day of school! : )

Emily said...

Holy cow! This looks soooo good! I LOVE squash! Plus anything with Balsamic just calls my name! Brilliant!

Mary Ann said...

Looks amazing and definitely my type of meal! I am drooling over this one and I can't wait to see your ice cream tomorrow!

Jenny said...

Now those look good! I'm going to get the grill fired!

Catherine said...

I detest school starting in August. September is back to school month! This looks delicious. I've never made polenta, but I can't wait to try.

I wish we lived closer, so you could home school my kids, too! Maybe by the time Annabelle is ready for kindergarten we could do via satelite or webcam or something. Ya game?! =D

1freshstart said...

I absolutely love polenta! I've been too scared to grill it though. I'm always afraid it's going to fall apart and it would have been a waste. I'll try sometime this week.
~The Cat's Pajamas

Clumbsy Cookie said...

And Prudy does it again! A delicious looking helathy dish! Have fun with the going back to school thing. It's starting so early this year!

Amy said...

Looks delicious!! I've never made polenta...looks like a good time to start!! I can't wait to make the pizookies, they look too good to pass up!!

Darius T. Williams said...

Yes - looks great. Such a great use of a vegetable - lol.

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Jeena said...

I have just finished eating a steak and mushroom sandwich but yet I could just bite in this and eat up the lot!

I love all the different layers and the polenta is so yummy with those vegetables. :-)

Michal said...

i so needed this recipe. i have burned out on all my tried and true zucchini and summer squash recipes and we still have plenty in the garden. and i adore polenta. can't wait to try it.

Maria said...

Oh my goodness! This is going to be my new favorite meal!! I can't wait to make it! We bought tons of veggies at the farmer's market on Sat. so we are set! Thanks!

The Blonde Duck said...

I think you've got some kind of feed into my husband's brain. He's been whining about polenta for the past few weeks. Any chance you could funnel his thoughts to chicken fried steak and peanut butter pie?

However, if he can't obsess over my favorite foods, this is a tasty alternative!

How brave of you to homeschool! I have no idea what we'll do when we have kids. The education system is terrifying....

Sara said...

This looks great! I have never made polenta, or tried it... I think I will give it a go! I admire you for homeschooling...we will have to chat about it sometime.

gigi said...

I went to the store tonight and bought some corn meal. I've never made polenta. I've eatin it but never made it myself. I'm going to give it a shot.

BTW, I made the zucchini pineapple bread last night! It was amazing. I gave my brother the other half of the loaf I ate and shared only a slice with Harry and I gave the other to my friend for keeping Shelby for me. My brother loved it. I haven't heard back from Amanda yet. I even used my own whole wheat that my MIL ground up for me! I was to excited. Thanks.

How did the first day of school go??

Bridgett said...

What a healthy and delicious summertime meal. Plus the colors are appealing and make you want to eat more veggies! At least that is what I tell my kids!

Lorie said...

These look really, really good and I think I have everything to make them except some of the fresh veggies, which I can get tomorrow. I liked that you used regular cornmeal and not actual polenta which I can't get in my small town.

Happy, happy homeschooling day tomorrow. My girl is off to college this week and instead of buying curriculum like I usually do this time of year, I'm paying for very expensive college textbooks. Enjoy your little ones-they'll be grown before you know it! Now let me go dry my eyes...

Debinhawaii said...

What a creative way to use polenta--it looks delicious!

Prudy said...

Gigi:
Thanks so much for asking about the first day of school. We got through all of our work and instrument practice and still had time to play with friends, so in my book, that's an A plus day.

Prudy said...

Lorie:
I can't believe your girl is going to college. She was a young teen when I met you all at NCC in 2005. Time does fly-that's definitely one of the reasons that I choose to homeschool. I want to enjoy every minute of those kids of mine. (Even though I just sent them to bed for quarreling.)

Prudy said...

Sara:
I'd love to chat homeschool with you sometime. We have loved it, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. It's always good to have choices.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Prudy, Can I come over and share this with you? I'll bring the wine!

The Farmer's Wife said...

That looks amazing! Yum!

Jaime said...

those look so healthy and perfect for summer grilling!

Lore said...

Love the polenta in these delicious stacks of yours. Yum!