Pontificating on Polenta

About the music: In a way polenta is a lot like a good playlist. At the end of a good playlist you don’t necessarily know the exact songs you were listening to, you just know that they made whatever you were doing while listening to them a whole hell of a lot better. They are the base layer and the backbone, the sad song at the end of a movie and the pure funk groove background to your powder run. They are the raging Brain Damage>Eclipse as your crushing I-70 at 2 am on your way to Vegas. That’s like this polenta, by itself it’s delicious, but with other things, its god damn incredible. We have chosen the perfect playlist for your polenta. The European Crystal Fighters start you off with about as pleasant a song as one could ask for. We keep it smooth through the middle with the very mysterious Shook’s remix of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” Just listen to the bass in that song, mint. Our favorite Glam Rock stars Scissor Sisters keep your energy up for the fight to the finish and LCD Soundsystem ensures you have something great to eat to. This mix is great from start to finish, enjoy it.

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Serves: 6
Prep time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken broth (better chicken broth = better polenta)
1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
a little lemon zest
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup crème fraîche

Directions:
First take a second and rack your brain to figure out our not-so-secret secret that we hid in the playlist. Fantastic, hit play and let’s move on.

Pour your chicken stock into a large saucepan. If your wondering why you feel so god damn fantastic it’s because you turned this first song on. It is literally like the Crystal Fighters have come into your kitchen and dumped like a ton and a half of sand, brought a bunch of beer, at least 6-8 smoking hot girls and this polenta, and are now forcing you to play naked beach volleyball.

Add the garlic to the stock and turn on high heat until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in the cornmeal preventing it from globbin’ up. Add the salt and pepper and KEEP STIRRING at a simmer for about 12 minutes. Now, you may be asking what the hell your going to do with yourself for 12 minutes while you stir this witch’s brew? Well, remember MGMT? Electric Feel should be having you bobbing enough to stir. Stir right on through this Poolside song, and take it home in the final stretch like you would take yo’ friend’s mama home after a long night on the town.

Take off the heat, stir in the parmesan, butter and crème fraîiichceeee. Eat it alone, or underneath some sort of dank meat dish. We made ours with a spicy beef brisket. But most of all enjoy this dish like LCD Soundsystem would have you enjoy it- with all your friends.

Peanut Butter and Jamz Donuts (Guest Post)

So we are a couple of doods. We like dood things. Once in a while however, it’s good to hear from the other side of the chromosomal wagon. And while I won’t publicly admit that I have actually attempted to make these donuts whilst listening to this choice selection of songs, this here donut is damn fine. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Megan Ranegar.

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Hello! I’m Megan from The Dinner Party Association. I’m a writer and breakfast food enthusiast based in Iowa City, Iowa. I spent this past week in my hometown in Indiana for my last ever college spring break. I didn’t get a tan, but I did get a cold. I drank whiskey hot toddies in bed and rarely changed out of my pajamas. I made (and ate) a lot of donuts.

Being home really took me back to 1998, the days of Spice Girls and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Nostalgia and boredom can make you do crazy things, like fuse your childhood and current favorites to craft a PB&J donut. This is a jelly-filled situation slathered in peanut butter, and the things my eight-year-old dreams were made of.

The playlist is a mix of my 1998 favorites and my current jams, made especially to get you ready for this jelly.

Baked Peanut Butter & Jam Donuts

donut

For the donuts:
makes 6 donuts
Adapted from Forbidden Rice blog
 
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
jam, any flavor

For the glaze:
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup powdered sugar

Before we get going here, we need to talk about donut making methods. Donuts, while normally fried, occasionally like to get baked. That’s where a donut pan comes in. I rant in this post about how donut pans are a game changer. I’m no donut expert…but I’m close. Just purchase the pan. Your life will feel more complete.

ingredients

Preheat your oven to 425 and lightly grease your donut pan. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, honey, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir together wet and dry ingredients, until combined. Fill your donut pan and bake for 7-8 minutes.

While your donuts are in the oven, get your glaze on. Heat one tablespoon of butter on the stove until brown, about 4 minutes. Pop a quarter cup of peanut butter into the microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Take a step back and breathe. You should like the smells you’re smelling.

Now mix your butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Butter on butter. Own it.

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Your oven is probably beeping at you now. Tend to those donuts! Let rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, cut three small slices into each donut. Are you ready for this jelly? Using a piping bag and your favorite jam, fill each donut. Don’t worry if this looks a little messy—peanut butter fixes everything. Dip your donuts into your peanut butter glaze. Serve warm with your signature dance move and a glass of milk.

Fig & Olive Tapenade

About the music: During our conversations over what music we would be pairing with this delicious tapenade, we sparked an interesting debate – what really classifies as cocktail hour/appetizer music? Clearly this question doesn’t have a single answer as we realized that there are simply too many different types of occasions for such an event that a single music genre would be unfair. So, we thought about it, drank a little bit of chocolate milk (because it’s delicious), thought some more, and decided that this specific dish was best enjoyed with a myriad of the smoothest Funky-Jazz around. Why you might ask? Well because this tapenade is light, tangy and, if anything, a little different. We haven’t really delved into this genre before on Sandwich Funk and we thought it was about damn time we did so. As you whip up this pre-party secret weapon let the sounds of Ernest Ranglin, George Benson, Les MacCann & Orgone vibrate the inner workings of your ear-drums, and think to yourself, “Hey, I’ve heard this song. Wait, have I?”

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Serves: 8
Prep Time: 5-20 minutes

Ingredients:
4 ounces dried figs
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 cup green olives, pimiento-stuffed
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions: This recipe has two speeds of preparation, food processor or hand mince. If you have a food processor, by all means us it, because let me tell you a little something about finely chopping figs…it’s teeeeerrribbllleeee.

Anyways, now that that’s out of the way, hit play on this finely crafted playlist of funky jazz sounds and let’s get tapenading. Mince the figs, olives and sun-dried tomatoes as finely as you can either in a food processor or by hand. Mix the chopped goodness together in a bowl and work in the rosemary, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, It’s best to do this part by hand because you can get a better idea of how the texture is coming together – add extra olive oil if needed.

Welp, that’s pretty much it. Either you’ll love it, or the process of hand chopping figs will have scared you so deeply that the thought of consuming them forces you into a manic state of depression.