Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Brunch or What to do With Leftover Polenta

Italian Eggs Bendicto
It is the question that eternally plagues home chefs - what to do with leftovers that are too yummy to toss.  I was faced with dilemma after overestimating how hungry my husband and stepson would be after a morning of surfing.

The hubby came up with the brilliant idea of making an egg dish.  We both love brunch and Eggs Benedict.  But as vegetarians yummy brunch classics rarely pass our lips these days.  So those bare polenta cakes screamed Eggs Benedicto!   

Eggs Benedicto

3 polenta cakes
2  tbs olive oil

Tomato-Basil Topping 
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 small clove of garlic minced
Splash of water
3 tbs fresh basil in chiffonade
**If you don't know how to chiffonade click here**
Salt and pepper to taste. 

3 eggs 

Heat the olive oil in non-stick frying pan on med-high heat..  When hot add polenta cakes and cook until a golden crust with toast points are on both sides.  Remove and place aside in a dish.  Keep warm.

Reduce to medium heat.  Add onions and cook for two minutes.  Add oil if needed.  Next add garlic, tomato and water.  Salt and pepper to taste.  When the tomatoes are visibly cooked add the basil place.  Cook 10-15 more seconds then place in a bowl and keep warm.

Wipe out the pan.  And prepare as you like to fry the eggs.  Cook the eggs over easy.  The key to this dish is a lovely runny yolk.   

Assemble the dish.  Place the polenta then add the egg and top with the tomato-basil topping.   You can also used poached eggs and/or top with Parmesan cheese.

To make vegan friendly simply remove the eggs. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tropical Vanilla Mango Jam

Laundry basket full of mangoes
 When Maria Von Trapp, then Sister Maria, sang about her favorite things she forgot to mention homemade mango jam.  Granted it was World War II Austria where mangoes weren't likely to be a popular fruit.  And there was the rise of the Third Reich and that fact that the problem known as Maria was fictional.  But I firmly believe had she known she would have found a way to rhyme to mango jam with raindrops, kittens and warm woolen mittens. 
Monty guarding my precious mangoes
 My mango jam adventure started as Costa Rica's mango season was winding down.  Warm sunny days started to give way to rainy gray skies and roadside fruit stands were desperate to sell quickly ripening mangoes.  Signs offered crates of mangoes for $5 US dollars.  I can't resist a yummy ripe mango or a bargain.  So I bought crate and dreamed of all the goodies I could make.

As it turns out a basket of mangoes can go pretty far.  I made jam, fruit parfaits, pies and smoothies.  But the Tropical Vanilla Mango Jam was the best.  Like bottled sunshine.   

 Tropical Vanilla Mango Jam


  • 6 cups semi-ripe or ripe mango slices
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar   
**( I decreased it to 2 cups and cooked slightly longer)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Chopped mangoes at a boil
 Combine the mango slices and water in a saucepan and boil over moderate heat for 15 minutes, until the mangoes are tender. 

Pureeing mangoes in the pan with immersion blender

Press this mixture through a sieve, or process in an electric blender or food processor until smooth.   

I opted to use my handy-dandy immersion blender.  So there was no fussing with moving boiling hot fruit to a blender or food processor.  If you don't have an immersion blender a potato masher would be just as effective. 

Adding raw sugar
Return to the saucepan and add the sugar and vanilla extract.

Mangoes with sugar and vanilla boiling
 Boil for 30 to 40 minutes, until thick and the proper consistency for a jam

The delicious finished product

Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.  Let cool then store in refrigerator and/or give as gifts.  The jam should be consumed within 4 weeks. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monty and His Next Victim

The fear you see in this little bear's eyes is not a figment of your or my imagination.  I am convinced this sweet little bear knows he is in for a wild ride.

Anyone with a Boston Terrier will confirm the following; unstuffing toys, pillows, tissue boxes and anything with fluffy fun goodness inside is a more than just a hobby.  It is a passion.

I think the bear knows.