Artichoke-Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust & Ancient Grains for Modern Meals Cookbook Giveaway

Sara Remington © 2011

This GIVEAWAY is now CLOSED!! Congratulations to The Spicy RD!!

Floating Sesame Loaf recipe by Maria Speck is one of many compelling reasons to wish to win a copy of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals cookbook or rush to buy it. If you are an experienced baker, you will be mesmerized by the no knead, no rise, immerse entire whole wheat dough in water technique. If you are a novice baker, and fear the mystique of yeast breads, this is a no fuss beginner's level loaf. Fantastic to bake with kids, as the dough is ready to bake when it plops and floats to the top after being immersed. If you are anything like the Greek and German born and raised, Maria Speck, who moved to the United Staes as a young adult and now lives in Cambridge MA, that will be the turning point and you will fall in love with baking.
Once in awhile a cookbook will come across that will teach you something new. Something, you haven't seen anywhere else and Ancient Grains for Modern Meals does it without much preaching just as a matter of fact wholesome whole grains, a way of living. Hot off the presses, recently published, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (Ten Speed) by Maria Speck draws mainly from flavors of the Mediterranean. She weaves us through her mother's Greek ancestary, takes us to Turkey, South of France, Italy and off to her Father's German roots with fusion of tradition with innovative flavors for the modern palate.

A well established writer with articles published by SAVEUR, Gastronomica, the Vegetarian Times and Cooking Pleasures among others here and overseas, Maria approaches the 100 recipes in this cookbook with flavorful simplicity. Farro, barley, quinoa and spelt are not only notorious for their health benefit but they are also extremely easy to prepare and affordable. I should note here, Maria doesn't shy from using butter in moderation to enhance flavor and will give you throughout Ancient Grains for Modern Meals tips and advice for substitutions and variations. In the Summer Tabouli with Farro Maria suggests to get a head start by cooking the farro in advance. In the Purple Rice Pudding with Rose Water Dates Maria suggest to lighten up the reipe use whole milk instead of half and half.
With so many mouthwatering recipes strewn throughout, it was a challenge to choose the first recipe to inaugurate in my kitchen. I wanted to make the Saffron Waffles with Orange Cream or Cornmeal Pancakes with Warm Cherry Sauce, as breakfast for dinner, as Jonathan was away and I was home alone. I also want to make the Quinoa Cakes with Smoked Trout and Lime Mayonnaise and Homemade Spelt Fettuccine. When I got to page 168, I felt as if Maria has thought only of me when developed this recipe. You see, I just got for the first time polenta and corn grits at the market a day before. Now I am getting hungry so ciao for now I am going to get a slice of this delicious tart for lunch!

*All photographs and recipe reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Sara Remington © 2011 Thank you Maria and Ten Speed for providing me with a review copy and one giveaway copy for my readers.

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Artichoke-Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust

Serves 4 as a main course, or 8 as a starter

polenta crust
11/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
11/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
11/4 cups polenta or corn grits
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 21/2 ounces; use the large holes of a
box grater)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

artichoke cheese filling
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (about 3)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) package frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 To make the polenta crust, bring the broth and the water to a boil in a large
heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt. Using a large
whisk, slowly add the polenta in a thin stream, and continue whisking for 30
more seconds. Decrease the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring
vigorously with a wooden spoon about every 2 minutes to keep the polenta from
sticking to the bottom. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit, covered,
for 10 minutes, stirring a few times. The polenta will be fairly stiff. Stir in the
cheese, egg, and pepper.

2 Grease a 10-inch ceramic tart pan with olive oil or coat with cooking spray, and
place on a wire rack. Have ready a tall glass of cold water. Dip a wooden spoon
into the water as needed as you spread the polenta mixture across the center of
the pan, pushing it up the sides. Set aside to firm up at room temperature, about
15 minutes, and then form an even rim about 3/4 inch thick with your slightly
moist fingers, pressing firmly. No need to fret over this—it’s easy.

3 Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.

4 Prepare the artichoke cheese filling. Place the yogurt, eggs, green onions,
parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a 2-cup liquid measure or a medium bowl
and combine well with a fork. Distribute the artichoke quarters over the crust, cut
sides up, forming a circle along the rim and filling the center (you might not need
all the hearts). Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and gently pour the filling over the
artichokes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

5 Bake the tart until the top turns golden brown and the filling is set, about 45
minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and set aside at room temperature to
firm up for at least 20 minutes, 40 if you can wait. Using a sharp serrated knife,
cut into slices. Serve with more freshly ground pepper on top if you like.
to get a head start: The polenta crust, as in steps 1 and 2, can be prepared 1
day ahead, as can the entire tart. Cool to room temperature, chill for a couple
of hours, and then cover with plastic wrap. Allow the tart to come to room
temperature before serving, or gently reheat to warm (not hot) in a 325ºF oven
for about 20 minutes.

to lighten it up: Use 1 cup non- or lowfat Greek yogurt in the filling instead of
whole-milk yogurt.