Cauliflower & Mushroom Polenta

Today is one day shy of 11 years that we buried my mom. Each year as we approach Mother’s Day, it gives me a reason to appreciate her more and more. When I was growing up, I had no idea that I would become a foodie, or that mom’s most prized cookware was copper. When I was old enough to cook for myself and go off to college, I recall wondering why I was the only person not using non-stick pots and pans. I think as a society we make so many unconscious decisions…following the same advice we grew up with. We select certain foods at the grocery store simply because that is what our mother or grandmother selected.

The most well-known brand for non-stick cookware is Teflon (taken off the market in 2015) although many others have popped up. It’s also known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which has been around since the 1940s. Nonstick cookware is made by spraying a coating onto aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron cookware, and is then heated at a very high temperature to cure the final surface.

Folks who use nonstick pans seem to love that food doesn’t stick and that they’re very easy to clean, however over the years I’ve often been asked about the safety of nonstick cookware. My non-stick griddle is a dream for pancakes, grilled cheese, and hash browns. However, the griddle is the only non-stick surface that I own because the coating process doesn’t fit in with my attempt to lead a “green” lifestyle.

According to most research on the topic the maximum temperature that a non-stick surface should be heated is 500 degrees Fahrenheit because the coating begins to decompose at higher temperatures. There has been much concern over the toxic gasses released as these temperatures as well as particles of the coating coming off into food. Experts conclude that in most instances this would not be harmful, but my view is that we’re exposed to so many chemicals and toxins on a regular basis, why put yourself and your family at unnecessary risk? I recommend opting for cookware that does not have a coating instead.

If you do use non-stick cookware, experts agree on these three tips:
1. avoid using Pam cooking spray because it can gum up the surface
2. never put your non-stick cookware in the dishwasher
3. if you notice scrapes or surface wear and tear or flaking, throw it away and get a new one.

Todays recipe is one you can make easily in a copper, aluminum, or stainless steel sauté pan.

What are your thoughts on non-stick cookware? Follow me on Pinterest @KateMurrayVogueMedia

Ingredients & Preparation:
1 cup Course Ground Corn Meal
1 head of Cauliflower
1 package of Mixed Gourmet Mushrooms
1 small Shallot
2-3 cloves minced Garlic
A few leaves of Fresh Sage
¼ tablespoon Truffle Oil
Pat of Butter, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

1 cup of polenta (I use course ground corn meal for this recipe). Prepare according to package directions. I typically boil 2 cups of vegetable stock and then whisk in 1 cup of polenta while turning down the heat, then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Add in 1–2 tablespoons butter, and to elevate the flavor, add a sprinkle of white pepper.
For the mushroom saute:
2-4 cups mixed wild mushrooms
1 shallot, diced
2–3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage and a drizzle of truffle oil for topping. You could also garnish with a shaving of fresh reggiano parmesan.

I roast the cauliflower separately. Wash and cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

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