Blue Cheese, Hazelnut, and Honey Polenta
Let’s categorize this post as not cupcakes, not pancakes, and not kale. Let’s categorize this post as real life real talk.
Five Ridiculous Things I’ve Said to Boys that I May or May Not Have Had Crushes On:
“Oh my goodness! You have two different colored eyes! You look just like a dog I know!” It turns out that’s not really the compliment I intended. But seriously… do you know the dogs I’m talking about?
“I like your shoulder cat!” Because a dude in raver jeans, smoking a clove cigarette, with a cat that lives on his shoulder is totally a giant heap of red flags.
“Yea. You can totally borrow my car to pick up your girlfriend from the airport.” Rethink! No car + girlfriend = NO GO! Ps. Jerk!
“Yea… I love The New Yorker.” Be real, Joy. You know you don’t actually read The New Yorker. Seriously… unless Nigella Lawson is on the cover, you probably didn’t read it. It’s ok. It really is.
“No… it’s cool. I’m spiritual, not religious.” Oooh this one. Oooh these words that are not true for me. These words that I used to say because I thought it would make me more palatable in the dating world. These were my worst of words… making me more palatable to the wrong people for me. Grow up and learn things, Joy!
Learn from me. Don’t be like me. Don’t compare boys to dogs and project yourself as a fancypants New Yorker reader. It’s ok if you don’t listen to vinyl. It’s totally cool if you want to throw your cat a birthday party and hang out at church. I’m just sayin’. It’s cool.
This recipe is a result of standing in the kitchen… hungry… having just taken a beautifully golden, but utterly disastrous cheese danish out of the oven. Apparently I’m still learning how to make a cheese danish without pulling an oozing, melted mascarpone mess out of the oven. I’m working on it.
Danish aside, I mustered up the last of the delicious ingredients I found hiding in my cupboard and pantry. The result is a sweet and savory, breakfast and lunch dish. It’s a delicious surprise! Danish though? I’m comin’ for ya. I’ll figure you out.
Disasters happen. Praise God for polenta and hazelnuts.
Creamy golden polenta is a solid base for just about anything.
Heavy cream, butter, and black pepper.
You might just grab a little spoon and go at this pot as is.
If you listen closely, you can hear hazelnuts roasting in the oven.
Their oils sizzle, and their tough brown skins burst just slightly.
It’s like roasted nut romance. Wait… was that gross?
Tough hazelnut skins are loosened in the oven.
A clean kitchen towel will rub most of them right off.
Creamy and salty, crunchy and sweet, topped with blue cheese.
I don’t know if this is breakfast, dinner, or a super extravagant midnight snack. It’s warm and comforting and I absolutely LOVE the salty cheese and sweet honey. If blue cheese scares you, I do believe this dish would be just as lovely with goat cheese.
Try something new! … as long as there’s not a shoulder cat involved.
Blue Cheese, Hazelnut, and Honey Polenta
makes 6 small or 4 medium servings
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
scant 1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
fresh thyme or parsley
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on an ungreased baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit until cool enough to touch. Place toasted hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub together to remove the brown skins. Some skins will be stubborn. That’s ok! Coarsely chop hazelnuts. Set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt, and slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and stir polenta as it thickens. Depending on the grain of your polenta, it will thicken in 15 to 25 minutes over low heat.
When polenta has thickened to the consistency of a thick pudding, remove from heat and taste. Polenta should be cooked through with just a bit of a toothsome crunch. Stir in heavy cream, butter, and ground pepper.
Spoon warm polenta into serving bowls. Top with hazelnuts, blue cheese crumbles, and honey to taste. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and/or parsley.