Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

I love Gena’s site and have always been happy with how her recipes come out! We love Polenta in our house, so not surprising when I saw this one I had to try! I am such a sucker for appetizers too, they really are always the best part of any meal or party! I made these for several gathering and parties and they were always a hit. Enjoy!!!

You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, and the tapenade up to 3 days. On the day of your party, simply broil the polenta squares and top them with the tapenade. The polenta can also be used as a base for many different seasonings. Try & play around 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes and I am sure many more to come: Creamy Polenta with Barbecue Seitan SauceVegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta Squares with

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
Recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com 
Serves 22 (recipe can easily be halved)

Polenta Party Squares

6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade

Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they’re lightly toasted. You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 cups water
2/3 cups walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes. Allow them to soften for 20 minutes. Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they’re finely ground. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You’re aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.

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Marisa’s Babies Blessing Party

Candle 79 is one of the best restaurants ever as far as I am concerned! It’s on the UES so a bit of a hike for us, but makes the ultimate date night spot. Romantic, Cozy and deelish!! Check out my review from 2009.

But I went there for a very different reason recently. I had my fabulous Babies Blessing Brunch Party there. SO much fun, a bunch of beautiful girlfriends and the best food to celebrate the almost arrival of our little kiddos 🙂 Benay, the manager, was amazing in helping me set up this event and everything went super smooth. The food of course was deelish!

My mom made fabulous favors: Super cute planters all prepped with organic soil and seeds and a super cute flower on top 🙂 So perfect!!

Thanks ladies! Such a great day to celebrate!!!

We had a great menu!

APPETIZERS


Guacamole Timbale
chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce

Steamed Dumplings
seitan, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, sesame-soy-ginger sauce
Angel’s Nachos

corn chips, mozzarella, tomatoes, refried pinto beans, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce

ENTRÉE


Stuffed Avocado Salad
baby greens, quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, radishes, black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, grape tomatoes, chipotle-avocado dressing

Black Bean-Pumpkin Seed Burger
mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, chipotle ketchup


Home-Style Pancakes
seasonal fruit, cranberry butter, gingered maple syrup

Wild Mushroom-Squash Risotto
cashew cream, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, frizzled leeks

Seitan Picatta
creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce

Check out my version of this famous dish 🙂

and then Dessert 🙂

Live Sweet Potato Parfait
nut granola, huckleberry ice cream


Cannoli
vanilla cream filling, coconut-chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce


Apple Cranberry Pie
toasted oat crumble, french vanilla ice cream, berry
coulis, candied almonds

There were lots of fabulous beverages going around. I was super happy to have ordered the Coconut-Mint Frappe avocado, coconut water, agave, mint, lime. AMAZING!! I have been craving this drink ever since!

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