Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italian Sausage with Grilled Cheddar Polenta, and a Giveaway

After posting my vegetarian spaghetti carbonara, now I feel so guilty...Not!...but I should be, for posting sausage of all things, but not just any sausage, this is homemade, by my favorite Italian meat market, Mario's that's been around forever...about 30 years, with the same owners, now the owner's daughter in charge. This is the sausage, hot, and mild, that I bought for New Year's and still had another 2 lbs left over. I invited a friend over for dinner last night, and she was appalled and I could tell just the sound of her voice saying..."sausage?"...and then, silence!

Oh, my! I committed the "Cardinal Sin"...yes, I said "sausage, Italian sausage" her mind, since she doesn't eat sausage, thinking I was making these "dinky little breakfast sausages"...or, as she it "Jimmy Dean sausage patties?" silly homemade Italian sausage. Enough said, just come on over, and "stop complaining, already!" I recently, or actually the other day, browsing through my followers blogs,

I found a blog, which had the most delicious Hungarian polenta, well in Hungarian, it's called "puliszka", which I thought looked so delicious, and more tempting was the amazing meat stuffed with sauer kraut, and topped with Hungarian bacon. Wow!...just looking at the photo made my cholesterol, go high, but I had to make a polenta dish which I have not made in a few years.
Lucky for me, I had everything on hand, and did not have to buy a thing.
Do check out Gesztenye
which in English mean Chestnuts she also has another blog too, all about truffles, or as she calls them bon-bons.
Another talented, and creative food blogger, from a different country, Hungary, my mother's birth country!

I had some zucchini on hand, red skinned potatoes, onions, garlic, and a couple hot cherry peppers, and fresh rosemary springs in my freezer, which I peeled, and added to the roasted vegetable, in a heavy duty iron skillet, on top of the stove. Very simple, just slice everything thin, and saute in some extra virgin olive oil, about 2Tbsp. and some canola oil, 1Tbsp. The reason I mixed the two, is because the olive oil tends to burn on high heat, so the canola, or vegetable oil tones it down. I also used the same large skillet, to roast the sausages in the oven, on about 425 degrees for about 35 minutes, and after the vegetables were done, I saved it in a casserole dish to keep warm, and added everything together to display on a large platter.
I was hesitant to post the polenta photo, because of the messiness, and unevennes of the grill marks...but just look at my pride-and-beauty, my cast iron grill pan. Would not, and will not change it for any other, except, the outdoor gas grill, of course...and no, not the charcoal grill. I take pride in my cooking and baking wares, and treat them in the cast iron grill pan, but before you grill in it, rub it well with vegetable oil, and not cooking spray, and heat it up until it starts to smoke, and lower the temperature till you're ready to grill your meats or vegetable, and in this case the polenta, not just with cheddar cheese, folded in there, but with sliced canned jalapeno peppers, as you can see the green speckles, in the pan, and in the polenta. I didn't even get a chance to chill my polenta, and it was a bit softer for not being refrigerated. Recipe, and the giveaway, which will surprise you, to follow!

Cheddar Polenta
my own recipe

3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoon canned sliced jalapenos
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring chicken broth to a boil over high heat in a medium size saucepan. Gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from heat, and stir in salt, pepper, olive oil, and fold in the cheese, and jalapenos. Spoon into a cooking sprayed loaf pan and chill in refrigerator, for a couple hours, before slicing to heat up or grilling. It is a nice vegetarian side dish, or by itself, Serves 4.

Now, on to the Giveaway!

To enter the giveaway:

1) Please follow foodandthrift on Twitter...sorry, I don't have an account on Facebook. If you already do so,  please see number 3. If you are doing so for the first time, please let me know that you are now following me on Twitter, so I could add you to the giveaway.

2) Leave a comment on this post! You are encouraged to share a comment about the Matryoshka Dolls, or any other thoughts.

3). If you RT or post on your Twitter page this giveaway post link, you get an additional entry. Please drop me an additional comment on this post saying that you did so.

4) To get an additional chance in the giveaway, become a "follower" of 
 food and thrift find's  blog.

5) Drawing will be done randomly from all comments recorded by Tuesday January 18, 2011, at 11 PM (EST) and one lucky winner will announced.

6) Please note: Shipping only in the US, and Canada. I apologize to my other International friends.

The Matryoshka Dolls are made in Russia, exclusively, they have a gloss finish, and are made of basswood, from linden tree and are hand painted, and varnished. They come in 2 pieces, as in this one, in 4, 5, and up to 8 or nine pieces, all with different hand painted fairy tale story villages, and characters. They retail from about $39.99, to $69.99, up to $89.99, which this one is, being that this is about 17 inches high, and the smaller, about 6 inches high. It is brand new, and obviously someone did not want it, and donated it. I snapped it up for $6.99...honest! I will ship it to a lucky winner, who would be interested in this beautiful set. This is certainly a collectors' item, and one of a kind!

I think you all overlooked my mention of a giveaway in my previous post, from Goodwill, where I took a picture of the beautiful bird perched upon the shoulder of it's owner, and there at the checkout  counter, sitting, waiting to pay for, and getting the "eagle eye" from other customers that distinctively knew what my purchase was...a Matryoshka Doll, otherwise known as, Babushka doll, as well. 

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