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I don’t normally post about two different verses in the same chapter, but as I continued to read in Hosea I came across the following verse:

“And the earth shall respond to the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall respond to Jezreel.” – Hosea 2:24

And of course that got the culinary wheels in my brain turning. Corn, wine, and oil is not an obvious combination in a culinary sense, but it is mentioned quite a few times in both the Bible and prophets. Now, historically and geographically, it’s not the grain that we know today as corn that the Bible is referring to – corn as “maize.” The Bible uses the word “corn – dagan in Hebrew” – to refer to all manner of grains. But for the purposes of the modern ear and modern culinary sensibilities I decided to use corn – ground corn to be more specific, the fine-grained type commonly referred to as Polenta. Oil – and I’m assuming here that it is olive oil that is being referred to – was commonly used not only in cooking, but also for anointing and for kindling. Wine was used as a drink but also as a sacramental substance. So it seems to me that the combination of all of these three items in this verse is an attempt to convey the totality of the response that will happen if indeed we succeed in dedicating, or “betrothing” ourselves to God in the proper way and in the proper intentions – as mentioned in verses 21 and 22: “And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.” In return for our complete devotion – God will cause the earth to respond to us in an all-encompassing way: physical, elemental, and spiritual – as represented by the grain, oil and wine – three critical ingredients for our physical and spiritual sustenance on earth.

I decided to take these ingredients and see what I could do with them in two different directions – savory/salty and sweet. I guess you could take the two different recipes I ended up creating and look at it as a further explanation of the verse – you can take the good of the land, the corn, wine and oil that God provides and you can do a lot of different things with it – you can take it in a savory direction, or a sweet direction – it doesn’t matter which direction you take the gifts that God gives you – so long as you use them with the right intentions.

Polenta Two Ways: Savory and Sweet

What I found fascinating about this experiment was that you can truly take 4 basic ingredients: fine-ground cornmeal, olive oil, wine (red and white) and fresh rosemary – and take them in two completely different directions.

Herbed Polenta Tart with Red Wine Mushrooms, Garlic and Rosemary

Polenta 7

Polenta:
1 cup cornmeal
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil

Red Wine Mushroom Topping:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced thing or diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
10 white mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 cup red wine
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, as topping)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees c (350 degrees F)

Mix cornmeal with broth, salt, herbs, and garlic powder in a saucepan. Place on the fire and stir constantly until mixture thickens so that there are no lumps. When mixture is quite thick and stiff (most recipes tell you that this is when the polenta mixture starts to leave the side of the pan but this didn’t really happen to my mixture – so I’d say when the mixture becomes like very thick gruel or oatmeal) – then stir in 1 Tbsp. olive oil, mix well and then pour into a pie tart (I greased mine with non-stick spray.) Place polenta tart in the oven. (Let it cook for about 10 minutes)

Polenta 4 Polenta 5 Polenta 6 Polenta 8

While the tart cooks prepare the topping: Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, add fresh chopped rosemary, cook for 1 minute, then add fresh sliced mushrooms, let cook 2 minutes, then add red wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until about half of the liquid has evaporated – about 3-5 more minutes.

Remove Tart from oven and spoon mushroom mixture over top. Top with grated parmesan cheese (optional.)

Rosemary and Lemon Polenta Cake with White Wine and Olive Oil

Polenta 9

1/2 cup polenta/fine ground cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary/ 1 tsp. dried
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sweet white wine, such as an Italian moscato or a Muscat de Beaume de Venise
Powdered sugar for the top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a tart pan with non-stick spray

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, rosemary, and lemon zest. Mix well.

Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Polenta 11 Polenta 12

While still mixing, slowly add the olive oil. Add vanilla, then wine and then the flour mixture, and mix just until blended.

Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until the cake is fragrant, golden, and springy to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes and then turn it out of the pan. After it’s cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar.

Polenta 13

 

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