Last week I finished a heavy duty Paranormal Romance rewrite. Of course, this doesn’t mean things are quiet and calm, not by a long shot. This week I’ve begun a number of new projects. I’m querying the finished book and researching a series of non-fiction books while plotting a new Woman’s Literature novel I’ve been antsy to write. This can make a girl exhausted and I need to keep up my strength, right?
I love wonderful homemade things that I can just pop in my mouth while working at the computer. Yes, cookies and candies are easy but sometimes I just want something savory.
This is a recipe I developed when I was a chef in a country club back east. We were looking for a substitute for fresh made crackers or bread to accompany some of our signature luncheon salads and I remembered my mom always pushing polenta on us. My siblings and I hated the stuff, we called it “mush”, but it had the starchy qualities I needed to fill the bill. Polenta is like a blank canvas too, it lends itself to any flavor profile I needed so I started making savory Polenta Diamonds and they were a hit.
Of course now that I’m no longer slaving in a hot professional kitchen and get to sit at this keyboard to create, problem solve and write all day, I like to call these my Plotting Polenta Diamonds. I make them when I’m beginning the plotting process, season them to match the genre I’m working on, and like comfort food, they instantly put me in the mood to rock and roll with a plot to die for! Hope they do the same for you!
Savory “Plotting” Polenta Diamonds
2 C Milk
1 C Water
1 ½ C Yellow Cornmeal
½ tsp Salt
½ C Parmesan Cheese
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Minced Fresh Rosemary
¼ C Olive Oil
Bring milk and water just to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly. Add salt and lower heat. Continue stirring until polenta thickens, (this is kinda like roasting a turkey, it can be done quickly, or take a while). Stir in the parmesan cheese, garlic powder and rosemary. Remove from heat.
Cool for a few moments then spread mixture ½ inch thick into a baking tray with a spatula and your fingers. Chill overnight. Slice into diamonds about 1 ½ ” wide by 2 ½” long. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, turning the diamonds over halfway through. YUM!
For plotting a YA adventure, Lemon Garlic Plotting Polenta Diamonds – substitute ½ tsp lemon zest for rosemary.
For plotting a Spicy Romance, Caliente Plotting Polenta Diamonds – substitute ½ tsp chili powder for the rosemary and dip the Diamonds in picante sauce.
For plotting a Romantic Comedy, Counterpoint Plotting Polenta Diamonds – eliminate the Parmesan and substitute ½ tsp dried tarragon for rosemary.
For plotting a Historic Romance, Mama Mia Plotting Polenta Diamonds – eliminate the rosemary, and add 1 minced roasted red pepper plus an additional ¼ C parmesan cheese.
For plotting a Murder Mystery, Red Herring Plotting Polenta Diamonds – substitute Old Bay Seasoning for the rosemary and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top before baking.
Enjoy! Next week: Comfort food snacks to survive the rejections … maybe … if I’m in the mood.