This past weekend I was in Temecula, California at The Big Traveling Potluck. It was a super quick trip but I’ve been reflecting on it ever since I returned home. I’ll be sharing a little more about the trip soon but there is one thing I just have to say right now.
This trip ruined me on avocados. In the best and worst way possible.
The main day of events took place at a house in a hilly-mountainous area near Temecula. The owners of this absolutely stunning [like, jaw-dropping] house rent it out for different types of events and we were lucky enough to spend most of our time there over the weekend. Beyond the house they have a gorgeous, rolling property filled with organic produce, flowers, lavender, and who knows what else.
While walking around outside I noticed an whole area of avocado trees, which were gorgeous. I just kind of stood their in awe and of course snapped a photo.
Earlier that day was when I first tried the tree-ripened avocado and I was kind of speechless. Yes, avocado left me without words. It was just so flavorful and creamy and soft [but not mushy] and vibrant green. On Sunday there was an amazing brunch spread and of course a gigantic bowl of fresh avocado. Like, mixing bowl size. There was also a fresh loaf of gluten-free bread and a toaster. You should have seen how high I piled my avocado toast. Three times.
I’ve been obsessing about it in my head ever since.
This may partially be because I bought 3 avocados yesterday, all of which were completely inedible. While they appeared and felt ripe they were streaked with brown, pale yellow-green, and they tasted like bitter water.
My hope was to slather the top of this pizza with guacamole but that just ain’t happenin’ today. Ohhh, California.
Now that I’ve stopped crying about avocados let me end on a good note.
A REALLY freaking good note.
GRILLED polenta pizza.
Never bake your polenta pizza again. Ever. Don’t do it!
When grilled, each side becomes crisp—especially around the edge—but the inside still has a tender chew. You know when you roast corn how the flavor intensifies and becomes that much more amazing? Well, the same exact thing happens with this crust! I wanted to eat the entire thing before I even put the toppings on.
If you like corn on the cob, cornbread, and corn tortillas you are pretty much going to flip out when you try this.
Topped with my easy enchilada sauce and a handful of lightly sautéed veggies, you’re looking at one flavor-packed, almost-summer meal. Maybe for an occasion like Cinco de Mayo? Maybe eaten with a cocktail in hand?
Who needs avocado anyway?
Mexican Grilled Polenta Pizza gluten-free, vegan // yields 2, 8-inch pizzas
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup polenta grits
- 1/2 batch easy enchilada sauce, let simmer longer until thick like pizza sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- toppings: red onion, red peppers, corn, black beans, mushrooms, hot sauce, cheddar cheese, etc.
For the polenta: Bring water to boil in a large pot. Slowly stir in the polenta grits and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on slightly ajar to avoid spattering. Stir frequently for 25-30 minutes [lid can be removed once spattering stops] until the polenta is very stiff. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the salt + pepper. Taste and add more s/p if needed. *The polenta will seem thickened around 15 minutes but continue to cook the full time. Do not use these instructions for quick-cook polenta.
While cooking, line two, 8-inch round pans with parchment [or wax paper]. Spread half of the polenta in each pan with a silicone spatula being sure to spread evenly, firmly, and all the way to the edge. You want the pizzas 1/8-1/4-inch thick. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until fully chilled.
While chilling cook any pizza toppings and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat your grill to 350-375* F [med/med-high]. Grease your grill grates and evenly brush 1-2 teaspoons of oil the top of each polenta crust. Remove from the pan and gently flip onto the grill. Peel the parchment off and close the grill. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until grill marks appear and the edges are golden brown. Lightly oil the other side then carefully flip with a large metal spatula. Grill for about 4 minutes then top with sauce and other toppings [add sharp cheddar or pepper jack if desired]. Close the grill and let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Carefully remove from the grill and let rest for 2-3 minutes then slice on a cutting board and serve.
notes: Cooking polenta for hot breakfast cereal may only take about 5-10 minutes but when cooking to actually create polenta it takes about 30 minutes until it’s fully ready. It’s important to cook it this long so the pizza crust holds up when grilling. Pizzas can be made 1 night ahead and kept in the fridge overnight. Cover once cooled.
for the toppings: I like to give a quick sauté to the red onion and red pepper over med-high heat with a sprinkle of salt, then place them on a plate. Next I cook the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes then set them aside. Then I added frozen corn and black beans sprinkled with a few pinches of cumin, salt, + mild chili powder and cook for 4-5 minutes. I set everything aside until ready to top the pizzas.
Now someone come clean the mess. I’ll pay you in food.