I have THE cutest lunch date ever! My sister and her fiancé just adopted/rescued this sweet little four legger. Her name is Lily and I get to babysit her while they are at work. Who could refuse all this puppy cuteness!?
Lily was super excited about making these easy Polenta cakes with whipped herb cream cheese. Start with the polenta base first, that needs to be baked, and slightly cooled. Be sure to leave your cream cheese out to come to room temperature. It will be much easier to whip and work with. Prepare the cream cheese mixture while the polenta is baking. Once the polenta is out of the oven and slightly cooled, you will cut it into squares or triangles and then lightly fry/crisp the outsides in a sauté pan.
Take the polenta off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Then you can add your tomato and cream cheese. If it is not cooled your cream cheese will melt. Then top it with your green onion garnish.
1 ½ cups Milk
½ Tablespoon Pepper
½ teaspoon Salt
½ cup Polenta
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Oil
Herb Cream Cheese:
4oz Cream cheese, room temperature
½ Tablespoon fresh Basil, super finely chopped
½ teaspoon Fresh Rosemary, super finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Roma tomatoes
1 Green Onion or chives
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. This will make it easier to incorporate the herbs and spices.
- In a large sauce pan bring the milk, and spices to a simmer. Cook for two minutes.
- Add the polenta. The polenta will instantly soak up the liquid, and form a ‘dough.’
- Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the ‘dough.’ Evenly spread out and allow this to stand for 10 minutes. The “dough” will become firmer.
- Pull the parchment paper up and out of the sheet pan, and rest on a flat surface. Neatly trim off the rounded edges. You can eat them :). Now you will need to form a uniform patter of squares or triangles. I liked the triangle shape. Cut all of the dough.
- In a frying pay heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the polenta cakes to the pan, but do not over crowd. Fry the polenta on each side until golden brown. You will probably need to do this in 3 or 4 batches depending on the size of your pan. Add fresh butter to the pan for each batch.
- Cut the roma tomatoes in half long ways, and then thinly slice by the width. Cut the green onion or chives at an angles to form a nice point for your presentation.
- Mix the softened cream cheese with all of the herbs and spices. Transfer into a piping bag. I used a small zip lock bag for this. Open the zip lock bag and place it into of a cup that is about the same size. Roll the edges of the bag over the edge of the cup to hold the bag open. Scoop all of the cream cheese mix into the bag. Roll the edges of the bag up and seal. Snip off a teeny tiny corn of the zip lock back and voilà you have a piping bag.
- Add one slice of tomato on top of a polenta triangle. Pipe a small amount of cream cheese, and stick it with a green onion slice. I like the look of the onion pointing straight up to add some height to the appetizer.
Someone finally got sleepy….