Saturday, September 25, 2010

Retro Cooking Shows

I'm not sure if we have the book/movie Julie and Julia to thank for the recurrence of some of the classic food TV shows that are cropping up on the Food Network's offshoot, the cooking channel. The channel debuted last spring and has been gaining momentum (and subsequently new programming). The premise has been a food channel for food people, and part of that has been bringing back old programming, including a number of shows from the UK. My favorite so far has, hands down been the galloping gourmet, with his great love of clarified butter, and inability to keep a straight face. However, I'm loving the Two Fat Ladies (Bubble and Squeak anyone?), Nigella reruns and the queen of food TV, Julia herself. I know this probably sounds like an epic commercial for the channel, and in a way I guess it is. However, rarely does something come across the airwaves that excites me enough to get me to pick up the keyboard and write about it. Anyhoo I'm hunkered down in front of the AC unit watching people create mouth watering works of art reminding me that it's not all about the most exotic ingredients or insane nitro-techniques. Watching Juilia roast a chicken, or the galloping gourmet magically pull a roast from the oven makes me want cold hearty food weather. Yum.

Best thing I made this week:
Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta with spicy wilted greens*:
*Adapted from Food&Style

the polenta
3 cup water
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
1 cup corn grits for polenta
1 cup butternut squash purée (cube squash and roast in the oven at 425 for 45 min or untill tender)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon crème fraîche (I used greek yogurt and it was great)
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the wilted greens (I used chard, although the original recipe calls for spinach, I assume beet greens would be really good with this too)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon Paprika (the original called for 1/4 hot hungarian p and 1/2 spicy hungarian p)
5-6 large leaves of chard– rinsed and dried
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Step 1: Bring the water and broth to a boil in a heavy-bottom saucepan. As soon as the mixture boils, add the corn grits. Whisk vigorously until the mixture starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer the polenta, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes until it is thick and al dente. Add the salt, butternut squash puree, parmesan, crème fraîche (or yogurt), salt and black pepper. Stir well until well incorporated. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the oil, garlic and paprika. Sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic softens, but doesn’t brown. Add the chard and salt and toss until just wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
Step 3: Spoon the polenta into bowls. Top with the wilted chard and spoonful of the juices.

Simple, tasty, good.