Broiled Polenta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
To make the polenta:
In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup corn grits (polenta) with 2 cups water and a dash of salt. Whisk until smooth and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Once at a boil and quite thick, slowly stir in another 1 cup of water. Now cover the pot and simmer for about another 20 minutes, stirring often (and carefully - polenta likes to bubble and pop in a scalding way). Mix in 1/2 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar. Transfer polenta mush to a baking pan, mix in 1/2 cup grated parmesan, and spread out evenly across pan with a spatula. Put in the refridgerate for at least 30 minutes to cool and harden.
Once set, lightly oil a baking sheet and turn on the oven broiler. Cut out your polenta cakes (you can use a knife to make squares, the rim of a glass to make circles, even cookie cutters - be creative!) and place them on the baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and put under the broiler until golden and crisp. Flip them over with a spatula, brush the other side with olive oil, and broil again. Remove from baking sheet and spread out on a serving platter.
To make the pesto:
In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 2 cloves pressed/minced garlic, 1 cup fresh basil leaves, and 1 tbsp. sea salt. Pulse until well blended. Serve in dollops on top of of hot polenta cakes, with a small basil leaf or sun-dried tomato as garnish.
Truth be told, any real Italian grandma would probably scoff at my using whole wheat flour to make my (vegan!) biscotti, but I tell ya: they'sa goooooood!
Start out by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oiling a baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, 1/2 cup applesauce, 2 tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Toast and rough chop 1 cup walnuts. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and add the nuts. At this point, the dough will be impossible to mix with a spatula/spoon, so just use your hands.
Now de-stick your hands by wetting them with cold water and shape the dough into a log of about 12 inches by 3 inches by 3/4 inch thick, with the ends squared off. Put on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, till the top is firm and the bottom is slightly browned. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Now cut the log across in 1/2-inch wide slices and place the slices cut-side down back on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Turn the slices over and bake another 15 minutes. Cool on racks and store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
*Side note: My maple-walnut biscotti were inspired by some delicious pecan biscotti I recently tasted, made by the two awesome ladies of Tall Order, a Brooklyn-based catering company that offers "a unique and healthy approach to cooking, entertaining, and living"!