Here I am again with my roasted red pepper kick! I was cleaning out a cabinet and saw the package of coarse corn meal still hanging around from the winter share and I decided to give it a little love. (Tip-store dry goods in plastic containers to keep them fresh and avoid pantry moths!)
I thought about making polenta strips or “dippers” to mimic a French fry for the kids. Then I though about homemade ketchup which evolved into roasted garlic and red pepper ketchup. Then it sounded like a treat for the grown ups and not the kiddos, I was totally ok with that!
I set a head of garlic roasting in the oven and started the polenta on the stovetop. I used 2 cups of the cornmeal,
2 cups of milk, 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 teaspoons of salt.
Cook over medium heat until the polenta thickens. I like to use a long handled spoon so that when it bubbles it won’t pop up and possibly burn your hand. After it thickens you can add more flavor. I put in 1/2 cup of cheese and some herbs to mine.
To get the polenta into strips you need to first cool it on a rimmed cookie sheet. Line the sheet with tin foil and spray it with non stick cooking spray. Pour out the polenta and spread it out of fill the sheet.
Set that in the refrigerator to cool and get started on the ketchup. Slice up some tomatos from your share and a jar of roasted red peppers, drained.
I threw in salt and pepper as well as a bay leaf and the roasted garlic. You just let this bubble away and make your kitchen smell amazing!
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl mix together the flavorings for the ketchup:
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
When the sauce has simmered down to a ketchup consistency remove it from the heat and throw away the bay leaf. Put the tomato mixture into a vitamix, food processor, or blender and give it a few pulses. Then add the flavorings from the measuring cup and process until very smooth.
Set aside to cool slightly. Take the polenta out of the fridge and slice with a knife into dippers. Place them on a cookie sheet that has a rack placed on top. This allows the heat of the oven to reach all sides of the polenta so that it crisps everywhere.
Put it them in a hot oven, about 400 degrees until they are crispy. Check them by touch and remove when they have the crunch you desire. Enjoy!