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Spicy polenta with toppings

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Farm to market type stores carry polenta in a plastic wrap as a roll which makes it incredibly easy to slice, cook, and top with delicious sauces and healthy veggies. This cornmeal delight is surprisingly low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins A and E. According to research done at Purdue University milled corn is easily digestible. The Native American word for corn is Maize meaning "That which sustains life."

Corn has had some bad press lately which is mainly because almost all corn is genetically modified (gmo.) Be sure that when purchasing polenta check the source. Is it certified organic with no gmos? If not, do not buy it. The source of corn is very important to our health.

Polenta presents as a beautiful appetizer or as a side dish. It serves as the perfect base for colorful ingredients. Each slice can have different ingredients making it a very versatile choice for parties.

Now for simple ideas for organic polenta that look lovely on a plate and taste even better:

The Italian Way

Slice polenta and heat in a saute pan with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and diced garlic over low heat. At least 3 garlic cloves. The more garlic the better. Season with salt and pepper to taste. After polenta begins to brown remove from heat. Place 4 polenta slices on a plate and drizzle the cooked garlic and olive oil over the top of the cooked slices. Top with parmesan cheese and cracked red pepper for a big kick. Serve right away. It's spicy, be careful.

Other toppings - steamed peas, well seasoned and steamed chopped broccoli, cauliflower, or a half teaspoon of pesto sauce spread over each polenta

The Mexican Way

Heat polenta with the same method above with EVOO, garlic, and half of a diced yellow onion, salt and pepper. While the onions cook down to transluscent and the polenta is browning on both sides over low heat, heat up some black beans in a bowl in the microwave. Dice one large Hass avocado and set aside. Grate 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese. Preheat oven to 325.

When the polenta is slightly browned remove from heat and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle remaining olive oil, onions and garlic over each polenta. Sprinkle sharp cheddar over polenta slices and place in oven only until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Place 4 slices on a plate.

Toppings: Black beans, avocado pieces, fresh, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, black olives, and a dollop of sour cream over each polenta.

The Greek Way

Heat sliced polenta with EVOO and garlic and when brown remove from heat. Drizzle EVOO mixture over the top of each slice of polenta on a plate. Top each slice of polenta with crumbled feta cheese and cracked black pepper. Dice kalamata olives and scoop a teaspoon on top of each polenta.

Toppings: Yogurt cilantro dip

The only reason to place polenta in the oven after heating is to melt cheese. Always add fresh veggies and sour cream or yogurt dips after polenta has been taken out of the oven and placed on its serving dish.

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