Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looks Aren't Everything (and polenta does not equal cornmeal)

I had high hopes for tonight's dinner: Corn and Scallop Johnnycakes with Green Onion Sauce, with grilled zucchini and a roasted beetroot and arugula salad. But I failed to recognize the difference between polenta and cornmeal in time (continue reading to discover how)...

For the salad, I roasted a massive beetroot for around 45 minutes at 400F. I then peeled, sliced, and sprinkled it with white wine vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. For the salad I tossed arugula with some leftover fresh lemon juice, half a tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon white wine vinegar. These leaves were then served atop the sliced beetroot with shaved parmesan reggiano. The sweetness of the beetroot serves a nice contrast to the pepperyness of the arugula and the tartness of the dressing.

The zucchini was muy simple: just sprayed with olive oil and thrown on the grill pan with some salt and pepper. Served with a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice because, well, it was there.

Now for the headliner debacle. I got this recipe via and of course, made some modifications. For the sauce, I substituted plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise and sour cream and cilantro for the parsley, because that's what I had on hand. I also used twice as much crushed red pepper in place of ground red pepper. As for the "johnnycakes" I made the fatal mistake of thinking polenta and cornmeal are the same thing after reading the ingredients on the polenta package. What I failed to reduce from the ingredient list was that cornmeal is ground much finer than polenta, and therefore holds together in a batter much better. Oh well, live and learn. They still tasted nummy. Just...grittier. Oh and I used whole wheat flour for all purpose, but doubt that made much difference. I'll definitely have to try this one again with proper cornmeal. Live and learn!

The recipe yielded 15 johnnycakes, at around 90cal each; the sauce was about 95 calories for the entire lot (so 20 cal/serving); zucchini about 30 calories/serving; and the salad around 100 calories. So a meal with 3 johnnycakes (I love saying that in my head - johnnycake. Quit acting a johnnycake! He has a melon the shape of a johnnycake. Jesus johnnycake! Okay, enough.) is about 430 calories.