Saturday, January 8, 2011

Polenta Pizza with Feta, Sundried Tomato, and Pesto

Polenta provides a terrific base on which to build a gluten-free pizza. For this recipe you will need pesto, which is always best when made fresh. Refer to my pesto recipe. You can also make this recipe with tomato sauce instead of pesto. The point is that the polenta is used instead of a pizza crust.


2 c. cold water
1½ c. yellow cornmeal
4½ c. boiling water
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. butter
¾ c. pesto (or, alternatively, tomato sauce)
¾ c. sundried tomatoes chopped
½ c. crumbled feta cheese
1 c. grated cheddar cheese (or combination cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan)
1 tbsp. oregano
Optional other additions to the topping are listed below


If you are going to use a fresh pesto, made from scratch, then prepare that before you begin this recipe. Refer to my pesto recipe.

Put the cold water and salt into a pot. Gradually add the cornmeal, whisking it into the water with a wire whisk. Then add the boiling water and blend it with the cornmeal with a wire whisk. Heat the mixture to boiling. Then turn the heat down to low and cook covered (it “pops” and sputters) until the cornmeal turns to a thick polenta, about 25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking to the pot. When the polenta is nice and thick, remove it from the heat, stir in the butter (be sure it melts all the way in) and the agave nectar. Then spread the polenta in a greased Pyrex pie pan or a greased quiche baking dish (low, flat, round). Allow the polenta to sit for approximately 20 minutes for it to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Chop the sundried tomatoes. I usually use julienne-cut sundried tomatoes marinated in oil. Grate the cheddar cheese (or combination cheeses). Crumble the feta.

When the polenta is firm, spread the pesto (or tomato sauce) generously across the top evenly. Sprinkle the cup of cheddar (or combination of cheeses) evenly across the top. Next put a layer of sprinkled crumbled feta. Then put a layer of the sundried tomatoes. Sprinkle the oregano.

Feeling creative? Here are some other toppings that you might wish to add: marinated artichoke hearts, chopped olives, sliced fire-roasted red peppers, pineapple pieces. And my favorite addition is jalapeňo peppers (if you like spicy food, the peppers are awesome). I like to sprinkle some onion powder on top. If you are an onion-lover (or likewise garlic) then fry up some onions (and/or garlic) to scatter on top as well.

When you have your polenta pizza assembled, put it in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the goodies on top are thoroughly heated. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then slice and serve as you would a traditional pizza.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Pan-Fried Sweet Potatoes (Garnet Yams)

I always forget that what I refer to as sweet potatoes are technically called “garnet yams.” I prefer the garnet yams, but this recipe works with yams or sweet potatoes just as well. You can even do a combination of the two. I find that the garnet yams are sweeter and I love the bright orange color. This recipe is simple, but requires patience since you have to stir the yams frequently while they’re cooking to prevent them from burning.


2-3 sweet potatoes or garnet yams
3-4 tbsp. or more olive oil
Optional herbs: ground rosemary, tarragon, black pepper
Optional: ½ c. walnuts or pecans


I usually leave the skin on the yams, but it can be tough, depending on the batch of yams. If you think you would prefer not to deal with the skin on the finished product, then scrape it off. Slice the yams into rounds about 1/8-inch thick. Put 3 tbsp. of olive oil into a large skillet and turn the heat on high. When the oil begins to smoke slightly (is very hot), turn the heat down to medium and put the sweet potatoes into the pan. Fry the sweet potatoes, turning them frequently, for 15-20 minutes. Add more olive oil if necessary to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you want to use any of the optional herbs listed, add them when you put the yams in to cook. If you wish to include the nuts, put them in at the start as well. Do not put a lid on the pan or the sweet potatoes will steam down and get mushy quickly. You can turn the heat up a bit on them if you watch them very carefully and keep turning them frequently. You don’t want them to burn. The thinner they are sliced, the faster they will cook. To see if they are done, take out one of the thickest slices and bite into it. Be patient and keep tending them until they are done.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!