Thursday, December 9, 2010

Polenta Pizza Cups

Featured Ingredient: Cornmeal
Made by grinding the dried kernels of maize, or corn, into various degrees of fineness, cornmeal is a rather lowbrow pantry item with a lot of great uses in the kitchen from coating the bottom of pizzas to adding wonderful texture to blueberry muffins.

A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study found that cornmeal is a very good source of bioavailable carotenoids. Carotenoids are among the different classes of antioxidants that help neutralize those pesky free-radicals before they can bounce around the body causing cellular damage.

If you’re a fan of polenta, you’ll totally dig these no-bake, gluten-free pizza cups. Perfect for lunches, you can also turn them into a hot meal by heating them up in the microwave and serving them with tomato sauce. Truth be told, these are actually better warmed up. It made more than what could fit in 12 muffin cups so I just spread the remaining mixture in a lightly greased cake pan and put that in the fridge as well.

I’ll be making these again, so I would be interested in hearing any other ingredient ideas.

Polenta Pizza Cups

Adapted from Alive magazine

3 cups diced cremini mushrooms
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal or instant polenta
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon coconut or other vegetable oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion to the pan and cook 6 minutes. Stir in dried oregano and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in basil, tomato and chili flakes and remove mixture from pan. Bring 3 cups water and the sea salt to a boil in the pan and slowly pour in cornmeal. Stir constantly until all the water has absorbed, about 2 minutes. Pour in milk and stir until absorbed. Stir in mushroom mixture and cheese. Divide among muffin cups and place in the refrigerator until set.

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