The appetizer fell to me last night. I’ve had polenta almost every possible way you could imagine but never grilled. I cooked a batch on the stove according to the package directions, adding a knob of butter, salt, pepper and a few chilli flakes, then poured it into a 9×9″ Pyrex dish to cool in refrigerator. Four hours later I sliced the polenta into thin strips and grilled them off.

I set out dishes of a tomato basil sauce I threw in the freezer the other day with another of my homemades: chanterelle duxelles with tarragon. Glasses of Viu Manent Secreto Carménère to drink.

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One of the treats I requested from Dragon Star [but really didn’t have to; it was a given they’d buy it] was Hmong sausage. I mentioned before that we’ve had Hmong sausage a couple times at the International Marketplace in St. Paul. It’s so completely different from any other sausage – a richness and complexity all its own. We never could quite put our finger on the ingredients and frankly weren’t too anxious to find out…

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Once and for all: the mystery green bits in our sausages were not basil, but chopped scallions; the earthy, sweet and aromatic flavors were the smoky pork base and minced lemongrass.

Par-boiled in beer [like every good Wisconsinite] and grilled until the tips had a nice char, these Hmong sausages were as good or better than we remembered.

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