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Polenta

Recipe by Jack Fisher, Executive Pastry Chef, Urban Kitchen Group

Chef Jack Fisher’s kids love meat from the grill and polenta.
Chef Jack Fisher’s kids love meat from the grill and polenta.

I didn’t originally set out to become a pastry chef. I worked on the savory side for ten years, and then one day, the chef I worked with suggested I look at the opening in the pastry shop of the restaurant, and I did. The pastry chef who hired me became a great mentor and friend. In addition to teaching me the craftsmanship behind pastry, he taught me how to behave in the kitchen.

One thing I’ve learned early on as a pastry chef is the importance of listening. Once, when I was a young pastry cook, the timer went off on the kitchen oven and I walked over to see what was inside. I heard the assistant pastry chef say, “Don’t touch the damn oven,” but I didn’t listen. I opened up the door and I saw trays and trays of cream puffs that could have been ruined when I opened the oven. Luckily they weren’t, but I learned that when someone talks, you should just listen.

Since it can get very busy very quickly at Cucina Urbana, I like simple desserts. I don’t really have a favorite but I do love ice creams and sorbets, polenta cakes, and zeppola, which are like Italian donut holes. I’m not really a pie baker.

I learned how to cook from my mother, who was a great cook. My brother is a chef, too. We grew up in Imperial Beach, where I still live today with my wife and five kids. My 14-year-old daughter bakes cookies and my wife bakes all the bread we eat. I’m lucky I eat so well! When I cook at home, I like to make what my kids love, like meat on the grill and polenta.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cup yellow polenta (I use Golden Pheasant)

1–2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

HOW TO DO IT

(Serves 4)

Combine the chicken stock, water, and milk in a large pot and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 20–25 minutes until grains of polenta are soft. Whisk in butter and cheese, then season to taste. Feed to hungry kids.

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Chef Jack Fisher’s kids love meat from the grill and polenta.
Chef Jack Fisher’s kids love meat from the grill and polenta.

I didn’t originally set out to become a pastry chef. I worked on the savory side for ten years, and then one day, the chef I worked with suggested I look at the opening in the pastry shop of the restaurant, and I did. The pastry chef who hired me became a great mentor and friend. In addition to teaching me the craftsmanship behind pastry, he taught me how to behave in the kitchen.

One thing I’ve learned early on as a pastry chef is the importance of listening. Once, when I was a young pastry cook, the timer went off on the kitchen oven and I walked over to see what was inside. I heard the assistant pastry chef say, “Don’t touch the damn oven,” but I didn’t listen. I opened up the door and I saw trays and trays of cream puffs that could have been ruined when I opened the oven. Luckily they weren’t, but I learned that when someone talks, you should just listen.

Since it can get very busy very quickly at Cucina Urbana, I like simple desserts. I don’t really have a favorite but I do love ice creams and sorbets, polenta cakes, and zeppola, which are like Italian donut holes. I’m not really a pie baker.

I learned how to cook from my mother, who was a great cook. My brother is a chef, too. We grew up in Imperial Beach, where I still live today with my wife and five kids. My 14-year-old daughter bakes cookies and my wife bakes all the bread we eat. I’m lucky I eat so well! When I cook at home, I like to make what my kids love, like meat on the grill and polenta.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cup yellow polenta (I use Golden Pheasant)

1–2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

HOW TO DO IT

(Serves 4)

Combine the chicken stock, water, and milk in a large pot and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 20–25 minutes until grains of polenta are soft. Whisk in butter and cheese, then season to taste. Feed to hungry kids.

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