Crispy Baked Polenta Wedges | With Fresh Cut Strawberry, Cucumber and Lime Salsa

Parents make a fairly accurate claim when they say that having a kid is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I’m not even talking about the pushing-the-baby-0ut part – although I still stand by my assertion that being in labour feels (in my experience) like being hit repeatedly in the abdomen (and back) with a sledge hammer. The real work comes with figuring out just how to handle the darned thing once he or she pops out as a fully-formed infant.
Salsa1
I used to roll eyes derisively behind my Ray-Bans when a parent would bemoan to me their toddler-induced exhaustion. But now that I have a toddler of my own I know only too well what they’re talking about: the non-stop night nursing, the refusal to eat certain foods (and the subsequent hurtling of said foods across the room or in the direction of the dog), the panic-inducing (for me) thrill seeking (my little guy loves to scale to the highest heights unassisted), the obsessive manhandling of only the filthiest household items (plunger and toilet brush), the seemingly unprovoked, back-arching tantrums. I could go on and on. I love the little sucker to bits and am growing more obsessed by the day – I even look at pictures of him on my phone while he’s napping – but HOLY COW does he put me through the paces at every conceivable moment!
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At a certain point one gets to thinking about taking a bit of a vacay, especially on days like today when the dog woke you up at 2am in the throes of diarrhea. Oh wait, except as a parent of a young child a true vacation – one where you can kick back with your oversized cocktail of choice and not have to worry about the proximity of your kid to the pool, and other potentially life-threatening considerations – isn’t really an option. Neither is leaving him with the in-laws, because as burned out as I feel at times the thought of not being around him for even a few days puts a very large and sappy tear in my eye. At any rate, we’ve decided to attend a friend’s wedding in Puerto Vallarta – although it’s not until November and I’m sure I’ll spend 99 percent of my time there chasing the little guy around with a tube of sun screen and worrying about the possibility of shark attacks, kidnappings and other statistically improbably occurrences. Being a parent has transformed me into the ultimate worry wart!
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While our sojourn to Mexico is still 6 months away (will I still be sane by then?), as soon as I was finished booking our seats with the travel agent my mind reverted to its favourite topic: food. And in this instance, Mexican food. My favourite item of Mexican cuisine, apart from a big old Mission-style burrito cram packed with fresh veggies, is also the most simple: fresh cut salsa paired with crispy tortilla chips (and an ice cold bottle of Sol, of course).
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Fresh cut salsa typifies the notion that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. I love how the ripe tomatoes, cilantro, the mild bite of sweet onion and fresh lime juice come together and form something so bright and balanced on my taste buds. The salsa in this post deviates from the traditional by replacing tomatoes with strawberries, whose juicy sweetness is tempered perfectly by lime juice, minced shallot and jalapeno. It tastes great with tortilla chips (of course) or tossed into a green salad, but here I’ve made it into a nice light lunch and served it over baked polenta wedges – golden and crispy on the outside; warm and tender of the inside. Our vacation is still merely a dot on the horizon, but dishes such a this will do a decent job of tiding me over :)
Recipe: Crispy Baked Polenta Wedges | With Fresh Cut Strawberry, Cucumber and Lime Salsa
Serves 3-4
Ingredients:
Baked Polenta Wedges
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil
Strawberry, Cucumber and Lime Salsa
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, skin and seeds removed and diced small
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, diced small
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced small
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

Prepare Salsa

  1. Place lime juice and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add cucumber, strawberries, cilantro, jalapeno and shallot to bowl and gently toss until everything is combined.
  3. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator until needed.

Prepare Baked Polenta Wedges

  1. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Place almond milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Whisk in cornmeal then switch to a spoon as mixture thickens. Stir until liquid is fully absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in margarine and nutritional yeast (or parmesan), and a bit of salt and pepper.
  5. Immediately transfer polenta to prepared pan and smooth top with a wet spatula.
  6. Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes, or until firm.
  7. While polenta is in fridge lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
  8. Once polenta is firm, remove from fridge and preheat oven to 375F.
  9. Flip polenta onto a cutting board and cut into wedges.
  10. Transfer polenta wedges onto prepared baking sheet and brush tops with a bit of olive oil.
  11. Place in oven for 45 minutes or until tops are crispy and golden brown.

Assemble

  • Transfer polenta wedges to serving plates and top each portion with a few scoops of salsa. Eat!

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23 thoughts on “Crispy Baked Polenta Wedges | With Fresh Cut Strawberry, Cucumber and Lime Salsa

  1. Yum!

    Hey Girl!

    For some strange reason your posts are not showing up in my reader. I was just thinking today how I hadn’t seen any posts from you in a while — and now I see you have been posting only I’m not receiving them which is so strange.

    How’s the house coming along?

    • Hi Susan! That is strange. I’ve had issues with my reader too, especially when I use the WordPress app on my phone. What’s also strange is that you’re comment came up as ‘awaiting moderation’. Obviously you’ve commented on my blog before so your comment should have published immediately. Weird. I guess WordPress can be glitchy at times :(

      Everything at the house has pretty much ground to a halt. My guy is still working lots and hasn’t had much time to put into renovating. Thankfully he hired someone else to finish the drywalling in the bedrooms, so that should speed things up quite a bit. I just want the bedrooms to be finished! I’m sick of keeping all our clothes in tupperware storage containers.

      Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great to hear from you :) How are things with you? Are you taking any time off this Summer?

      • That is strange.

        After I sent you a message, I noticed that other bloggers I follow are not showing in my reader. Perhaps WP is glitchy…it’s just, well, I hate to miss out on anything. I mean, I completely missed out on the VVP because it didn’t show in my reader. How did it all go.

        I am taking time off starting Friday. I plan to spend this weekend and all next week working on my house. I’ve hired a couple of guys to do some stuff, and the price was right which is good. One of the men is clearly interested in me, which is flattering but honestly, I just cannot go there… I need time to myself right now. It’s always the way, isn’t it?

        How about you guys? Taking any staycations or vacations? :-)

      • I did a search and it looks like posts not showing up in the reader is a reoccurring problem on WordPress. I think it’s just a weird glitch, as you say :(

        The VVP went really well! I think about 130 blogs participated this time around. There are so many delish recipes to ogle… I’m still making my way through all the posts.

        I doubt we’ll go anywhere this summer. There’s just too much to do (and pay for) around the house. But in November we’re going to Mexico for 2 weeks. The first week we’ll be at a resort in Puerto Vallarta for a friend’s wedding, and the second week we’re going to my parents place in La Manzanilla (they live there half the year). My guy hasn’t taken time off work in years so it’ll be good for him. I’ve never been to a resort before… I keep thinking about Club Med and lots of group activities and forced fun. Hopefully I’m wrong!

        Enjoy your time off – and staving off your suitor! Lol. What happened with that stray cat you were feeding? Maybe you posted an update but I might have missed it.

      • I hear you about the money and list of projects. I already have what my friend Yvonne calls, “A money knot [in my stomach]” from the amount of money I am spending on my house. But as you say, “there’s too much to do.” I love having projects because when I complete them, I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor but what I do not like is the constant draw on my funds. Why couldn’t I have been born rich instead of beautiful. LOL!

        Your parents live in Mexico for part of the year? How awesome is that? Can I come? LOL!

        It’s good to take time off and if your guy hasn’t taken any in a long time, it will be good for him — everyone needs to decompress. My therapist recommended a book to me called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle’s message is simply this: Live in the moment. Live in the Now. Forget the past, as you cannot change it, and stop trying to predict the future because you can’t. We all spend too much time either thinking about what has already happened or anticipating what will happen. His book is pretty powerful. When I find myself worrying about the future or festering about something that has happened in my past, I catch myself and then I say, “There is only right Now Susan — that’s it, this is all you have to worry or think about is this very moment you are in right now.” I have to say Hannah, it WORKS! It’s hard not to focus on past or future because that’s how our brains work; however, Tolle says we can break ourselves of the habit.

        You mean Holly a.k.a. Baby Mamma? Yes she’s doing well. She’s been showing up for her daily feedings; however, no sign of her babies but she is still nursing.

        I took some more recent photos of her. I will try and post them at some point this weekend or coming week.

        I look forward to seeing more of your recipes and thanks for looking into the WP glitch.

        Enjoy your weekend.

        XOXO
        -Susan

      • “Rich instead of beautiful”… this had me laughing :) You have the sense of humour of a gay man. I mean that as a huge compliment!!!

        On paper it’s pretty cool having parents who live in Mexico, but the reality is they’re both super high strung so my time visiting them is never relaxing! If I didn’t have a baby to look after I’d pack some pills and booze and spend my time there passed out in the sun, while they do their crazy neurotic dance around me! Lol.

        I’m typically not into spiritual stuff but I do like Eckhart Tolle a lot! I haven’t read The Power of Now, but I read A New Earth a few years ago and liked it. I have a really hard time with letting go of the past and tend to stew for years about perceived wrongdoings. A New Earth contains some really useful concepts for training oneself away from these behaviours. My copy of it got wrecked a few years ago but I recently downloaded it onto my Kobo, and I’m going to give it another read this Summer :)

        I’d love to see pictures of Holly. We got a new dog a few weeks ago. My mum found him on the beach around where they live in Mexico and brought him back to BC with them, and then passed him over to us as they already have 2 dogs of their own. His name is Indio and he’s a real sweetheart! I’ll post a picture of him soon :)

        I think my posts still aren’t appearing in the Reader. I can’t find any useful advice on how to fix whatever the issue is so I might just send an email to the WordPress support people and wait for a reply. Sigh!

        Hope you have a great weekend. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you… this 18 month old is a real HANDFUL!

        XOXO Hannah

      • No worries on responding — I think it’s safe to say we are all busy juggling our lives while trying to maintain a blog which at times, can feel like a full time job.

        Ha-Ha! I blame my gay BFF Kenny who for years I have affectionately been calling “Wheeza”. He and I saw Billy Idol this past Saturday at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Let me tell you, the man put on quite a show and damn! He looks Mmmmm Mmmmm Good! And to think he’s 55 years old. Wheeza and I were literally falling out of our chairs every time Billy took his shirt off. The man is a hunka hunka burning love. LOL!

        Too funny about your parents! Mine have been separated for years and yet incredibly enough, still drive each other crazy. Go figure. I swear they both thrive on the drama, which I could do without.

        I didn’t have a chance to read much of Tolle’s book while on vacation last week. I plan to get back into the book on the train ride home tonight. Like you, I tend to think too much about past “wrongdoings” and/or worrying about future events which is really ridiculous seeing as one of us can predict the future.

        That’s so cool that your parents rescued a dog. Anyone who rescues an animal is good people to me.  I’ll try and remember to post or send you some Photos of Hope.

        Oh and your “Test” post showed up in my reader, btw.

        Take care of the little one.

        XOXO
        -Susan

  2. Oh yum! This is my kind of food! Love it.
    You aren’t showing up in my reader either :( I have some catching up to do.
    Oh I can relate to your toddler comments! My little guy has started scaling great heights too. Can’t turn my back for a second. Yes, he loves toilet brushes too, haha! Oh, and throwing things in the toilet! But if I keep the toilet door shut, my 4-yr old can’t reach the handle to let himself in.
    How lovely that you have a holiday to look forward to! :)

    • Toddlers are such rascals! I really don’t get the toilet fixation. I bet our little guys would get into lots of trouble together, LOL ;)

      Thanks for letting me know that my posts aren’t showing up for you either. I wonder what the issue is. Maybe I’ll contact the WordPress support people and see if there’s anything I can do to fix the problem :(

  3. I love the presentation – it’s so festive!! And since other people have mentioned it here, I don’t see your posts on my reader either. There are other bloggers that I follow that I don’t seem to see in my reader either. I don’t get this. Celeste:)

  4. OH MY GOODNESS….. This looks ridiculously amazing. I love the idea of putting strawberries in this. I have been writing a lot of articles about difefrent fruits and vegetables and I see all the amazing vitamins and minerals that this dish has to offer. This is a must make recipe for me. I will absolutely try this.

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