Since the app launched we've had some downloads and a few comments, but not nearly enough. After some badgering from Steven to lead the charge, I decided to do a no-holds-barred Meal Madness throw-down (props to Bobby Flay for the term). One spin, one meal. One chance to gross out the nation.
To keep me honest, I had my husband and daughter oversee the selection process so I didn't "accidentally on purpose" spin again. The rules were simple (1) we had to make a dish containing all three ingredients; (2) we had to eat it; and (3) we had until dinner tonight (it's noon) to come up with our dish.
The big debate was which categories to pick. Katie wanted beverage, fruit, and cheese; Steven wanted meat, spice, beverage; and I wanted starch, veggie, and meat. We decided that each of us got to choose a category. Katie choose cheese (not surprising she loves cheese); Steven choose spice (how boring food would be without spice?); and I choose (oh! the pressure) starch (my comfort food).
Ok, here were go. A drum roll please... And the winners are: colby cheese, garam masala, and polenta. Hmmm... Er? Wow... Ummmm... Really????
Oh what to do? What to make? I love polenta and colby together but with garam masala? I love garam masala. Garam ("hot") masala ("mixture") is a pungent spice used in Northern Indian dishes. There are tons of different ways to make this spice combination. One of these days, I will make it from scratch. In the meantime I have the Spice Hunter's garam masala which is a mixture of cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and cardamon. (Yes, it would be great in an Indian apple pie.)
I am going to go out on a culinary ledge here and state that polenta is the same thing as grits (at least the grits I make). I hope that doesn't burst anyone's foodie bubble, but it's true. I don't believe in instant grits so they don't count. True grits are just polenta.
I have warm feelings for colby cheese, but then I have warm feelings for all cheese. Colby is a cow's milk cheese that is milder than cheddar. So mild in fact that it is seldom used in cooking. I now think this may be an oversight. It is a delicious moist cheese that melts well.
Before I go any farther, I must add that I whined about the ingredients on Facebook and two other foodies, I mean people, decided to take the challenge with me. I am amazed at what they made. Tristan Barnum, who is a food goodness, took a vegan slant and switched out the Colby cheese for tofu and created a beautiful and healthy masterpiece: broiled polenta stacked with spiced creamy spinach with tiny cubes of tofu standing in for the traditional paneer cheese (and colby in the case of the challenge) on an heirloom tomato slice, served with mango chutney, garam masala, and fresh coriander leaves. Her dish and directions for recreating her masterpiece are here.
|Garam masala rubbed duck breast with creamy ziti with bread crumbs|
|My meal of garam masala grits and pork steak cooked in apple cider|
Garam Masala Cheese Garlic Grits (I mean polenta)
6 Cups (1440 ml) of Water
2 Cups (360 g) of Grits
1/2 Cup (113 g) of Butter
8-9 Oz. (227 to 255 g) of Colby Cheese, Grated
3 Sticks of Mozzarella String Cheese, Cut into Small Pieces (Optional)
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp of Garam Masala
1/2 Cup (120 ml) of Milk
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
Preheat oven to 350F/176 C/ Gas Mark 4. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add grits. Lower heat and cook slowly until thickened about 8 to 10 minutes. Add butter and colby cheese and stir to combine.
|Grits and butter|
|Grits with everything else|
|Ready for the oven|
2-3 Tbsp of Oil
1.5 Lbs (.7 kg) of Pork Steaks
1/4 to 1/2 Tsp of Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
1 Cup (240 ml) of Apple Cider
1/2 Cup (118 g) of Applesauce
1 Medium Onion, Thinly Sliced
Sprinkle pork steaks with garam masala, salt, and pepper.
|Frying pork steaks|
|Pork and apples.|
|The finished pork steaks|
|Polenta pancake topped with sausage tomato sauce and cheese|