Polenta Pile-Up

comments: 38


My friend Sarah invited me over for a holiday lunch the other day and made these beautiful stacks of polenta, tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, and Parmesan cheese. I don't have a recipe for you because Sarah is an incredibly talented cook who makes these things up as she goes, I think. At least, I never saw a recipe here.


I love being at Sarah's. It's my favorite house in Portland. It's golden and beautiful and filled with little kids and toys and books and an enormous golden retriever and people I love. It has the most gorgeous kitchen and every time I sit down at that huge marble kitchen-island I feel myself sink into my seat so thoroughly that I don't seem to be able to leave. I just like to sit and watch it all. The whole afternoon goes by. Lovely.


Next week we are going to make something savory together, so I'll show you that, I promise. I'll be trying the brownies again today and will post a recipe for that if they turn out better — last time I just had too many things going on simultaneously in that poor little brownie and not enough brownie, and it seriously was not good. Those were more . . . peppermint circus. I'm going for more of a . . . peppermint recorder solo. Stay tuned.


Your afternoon at your friend's house sounds so NICE! Do you think she'd mind if you took a few photos of her house when you two cook together? Nothing too personal, just to give us a feel of the warmth and friendliness? I love that kind of home. Happy Holidays!

I have a friend that sounds a lot like Sarah. It's so fun to have girlies in your life that inspire you and make you feel so at home when you visit!

Lisa in Boston says: December 07, 2007 at 07:16 AM

Alicia--I feel like I know you! The recipe below is most wonderful, albeit not frosted as you want. And, you would have to use an 8" pan--but Dorie's recipes are the best and you should give these a try--and add your frosting to make them festive!! Rumor has it these are really terrific when eaten straight out of the freezer.

Brrrrrr-ownies (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

5 T unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (6 oz) York Peppermint Pattie Bites (or an equal weight of patties), chopped into bits

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted- you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
With a whisk, stir in the sugar. Don’t be concerned when your smooth mixture turns grainy. Whisk in the eggs, one by one. Add the vanilla and whisk vigorously to bring the batter together and give it a shine before gently stirring in the salt and flour; stir only until incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the peppermint pieces. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.
Bake the brownies for 30-33minutes, or until the top is dull and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean. (The tip of the knife may be a touch streaky.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
When they are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

Wow! Your pictures make me feel like I'm right there with you enjoying that wonderful tummy pleasing food. It's so nice to have friends who you would like to spend a lot of time with. I miss my best friend who recently moved to Pennsylvania, but we'll get together for Christmas. xxoo

Those mountains of polenta yumminess look so good! My friend who was kind of like that moved away years ago. I still miss how comfortable she always made me feel in her home. I am looking forward to more pictures of savory cooking and sweet baking and good times!

Alicia, such a nice thing to have such friends. I love those wonderful visits, where you linger in someone elses kitchen and observe the beauty of other lives...it's so intimate, the tradition of breaking of bread with friends. i too LOVE when someone cooks for me. i just wrote about it on my blog...come by any time :)

and i am off to try those brownies that lisa in boston left you...(hope you don't mind that i snake that recipe from ya ;))

have a beautiful and blessed day.

Good friends and good food, you can't beat that! Your day sounds ideal. This post as definitely made me hungry!

Elizabeth Mackey says: December 07, 2007 at 09:00 AM


Mmmmm, that dinner looked so good that I had to find a recipe. Here's one from epicurious that looks similar if not the same.


Hi Alicia, Just in case you are looking for another brownie recipe...I tried the "World's Brownie Recipe" on the back of the King Arthur flour package last week. They were D**M good. Let me know if you would like the recipe. Enjoy.

hi alicia,
you don't know me, but can i come and live at your house? :) i live in a huge old draughty (freezing, really) run-down place which has been thoroughly marauded by a toddler and a baby. i visit your page sometimes when i'm breastfeeding, just to nourish myself on the simple hand-made beauty and orderliness of it all. you're like the martha stewart of the sweet, old-fashioned alternative set. i'll keep eavesdropping into your life until i can finally get my own!
thanks for putting yourself out there.

I'm a certified carnivore and that looks good enough to be a holiday main dish! Mmmmm.

I wonder if confining the peppermint to a bit in the brownie mix and then just the crushed topping would do the trick? Then the icing could be vanilla and balance out the "ooh" of the peppermint. Anyway, hope it turns out delicious!

Alicia...this post perfectly encapsulates what I love about your blog: beautiful photos, good recipes (even though there was, in fact, no polenta recipe,) and humorous writing. Too bad about your brownies, they did look rather, um, neglected. Your friend's house sounds so cozy!

Man oh man, I do love me some Polenta....but have never tried to make it. Sarah's place sounds like going home feels like; lucky you. I enjoyed the pics and hearing about your day.

Polenta is he most safisfying of foods. There is something about it that juts makes you happy. I'm glad it's not just me.

looks so yummy! and how wonderful to feel that way at the home of a friend...

(i cracked up out loud when i read peppermint recorder solo. oh that took me back to 4th grade!)

Who is this Sarah? I want to go to her house too! Her home sounds like mine--not the golden and beautiful part (my kitchen is crummy), but the kids and toys and books part! I don't have a big dog--would a giant cat count? I really want to know how she made that lunch! dang. It looks so good.

yr friend sarah has the probably prettiest color teakettle up there on her stove. and that polenta stuff looks scrummyumtous. and also who doesn't love a recorder solo?!!! yr so funny. xo.

I'm going to avoid the "corny" jokes here. :D

Thanks so much for checking in--it's nice to know people are watching. :D

Don't friends, and happy gatherings just make the season? Love it.

ooohhhh, all that sounds and looks yummy!!!! Your afternoon sounds so fun.

Wow, those look absolutely delicious!!

Aaahhh, lovely! I love afternoons like this, and that lunch certainly looks delicious!
love Alison x

Delicious..I cannot have wheat or flour though! I love your blog!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.