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Leftover Polenta, Bruschetta + Chocolate Expresso Creme Brulee

September 5, 2010 by Joan Nova in Appetizers, Desserts, Travel Retrospectives | 11 Comments

This is Part 2 to Threading Polenta in Little Italy.

Kind of a mish-mosh of a title, but I forgot to show you what Carolyn did with the leftover polenta. And, as promised, I wanted to show you the 2 delicious bruschettas we served with cocktails — and a Creme Brulee she talked me into making. My first ever! I was surprised how simple it was…though it took 3 sets of hands at different stages. One stirred, one whisked and one torched.

Leftover Polenta
Once the leftover polenta cooled, it was cut in cubes and fried with a little butter, olive oil and diced onions. It was very tasty when it crisped up and took on the flavor of the onions…and I guess the butter and oil. :)

Carolyn followed a recipe that called for marinating beefsteak tomatoes with olive oil, fresh herbs and a little lemon juice before roasting them in the oven. They were the topping on toasted Italian bread that had been layered with seasoned ricotta cheese and a slice of proscuitto.  The finishing touch was a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Really delicious — soft and creamy, salty, sweet, and acidic. A perfect combo!

I was asked to make my brussel sprout bruschetta. She even had my recipe printed out for me. Good thing because I never remember what I do from time-to-time.

And then came the dessert preparation. Now I’m no baker or dessert-maker, as you probably know; but Carolyn really wanted Creme Brulee and she wanted me to take it on. And to follow a recipe! I selected a “Chocolate Expresso” recipe from “Elegantly Easy Creme Brulee” by Debbie Puente.

I’m one of those rare birds that doesn’t particularly like Creme Brulee, but this one was delicious – and I don’t think it’s because I had a hand in making it.

I had such a good time shopping, cooking and eating with my beloved friends in NY!

Next Up: A few off-the-radar restaurants.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. What an incredible meal! With my favorite ingredients too; love the polenta and any variation thereof; and of course chocolate and creme brulee are the chocolaty finale I prefer by far.

  2. Liz says:

    Another wow celebration!

  3. Dorothy says:

    It all looks so fabulous and fun.

  4. norma says:

    You did a great job..looks delish!

  5. Chocolate creme brulee, 2 types of bruschetta and tender morsels of polenta I think I would have been in heaven.

  6. elra says:

    Drooling looking at your creation Joan. Your creme brulee look amazing, even if you consider yourself as not a baker. I think you are :)

  7. So many great things here! Delicious use of leftover polenta, and now I have to try brussels sprouts bruschetta. And, some day, I have to attempt creme brulee.

  8. Lidia Lipstick says:

    Joan, it was great fun making this dish with you and thank you Mom for many years of polenta!!!

  9. I think it all looks to die for!!! Don’t you just love the versatility of bruschetta?

  10. Lori Lynn says:

    Ooh, I really like your brussels sprout bruschetta! Great color too.

  11. That is one incredible meal. The threaded polenta with the porchini tomato sauce and the bruschettas and the brulee… MY GOD, you two are a PAIR to reckon with! Carolyn – will you please now send me Joan’s recipe – and YOURS for the tomatoes you marinated and roasted? I roast tomatoes all of the time – but there is not all of the taste combinations in mine, and I want to try this. It is the best looking set of bruschettas I think I have ever seen. BREATHTAKING!

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