John's mom took us there with his sister on a short trip, and sent us to the cooking demo so she and her husband, Keith, could have an hour of peace and quiet.
John's sister, Morgan and I had a camera-off while we waited for the shrimp and grits to be ready.
I digress. The reason I'm telling you this is because Morgan doesn't eat sea food. And I tell you that because the woman giving the demo made roasted vegetables for her to put on her grits. When I saw a similar recipe a couple of weeks ago, I knew we would like it. And good news for my newly vegan cousin and other non-dairy types - this contains no animal by-product. In an effort to try new things, we made it with soy "cream cheese," which is unbelievably good. It doesn't behave like regular cream cheese in all settings, but when added to polenta, it makes a light, fluffy, and yet creamy texture. We couldn't get enough of it.
I hear a lot of differing opinions on how to make polenta, and whether or not polenta is just "grits for yankees." Once we made this, I didn't much care because it was so good, but if you have a particular preference, this technically calls for polenta.
This recipe is designed for any vegetables you have on hand. We bought too many to use the first time, and just shuffled the rest of them into the second batch we made later in the week. Batch #1: zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and carrots. Batch #2: red peppers, mushrooms, and parsnips (officially my new favorite vegetable - who knew? They're delicious!).
Roasted Vegetables on Creamy Polenta
Squash, peppers, eggplant, bell peppers (whatever you have-at least 3 vegetables per person*)
1 Red onion
2 Large Tomatoes (1 tomato per person-or more if they’re small)
Fresh basil for garnish
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Slice zucchini, crookneck, eggplant or peppers in long thin strips. Slice tomatoes. Cut onions and round squash in wedges.
Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, just enough to prevent sticking.
Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Spread out vegetables in a single layer on cookie sheets or roasting pans and roast for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the veggies and roast for another 10 - 15 minutes until browned around the edges. Serve on polenta, garnished with fresh basil.
3 cups filtered water
1 cup polenta
1/4 cup non-dairy cream cheese (or sub the dairy one)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread (or sub butter)**
Salt to taste
Bring water to a boil in heavy pot.
Slowly pour polenta into boiling water as you whisk it.
Turn heat to slow and simmer until polenta is thick, about 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in cream cheese and buttery spread.
Salt to taste.
**Yes, I did sub the dairy butter, but I hear non-dairy butter tastes pretty good.