Cheesy Polenta Muffins

mamaliga muffins 019

This is a muffin recipe that I bet you’ve never seen before. It is based on a type of polenta called “mamaliga”, which a corn mush that is very popular in Romania and Moldova. In fact, mamaliga is considered to be the national dish of Romania and Moldova.  Mamaliga is very similar to the Italian polenta. The main difference between the two is that polenta is soft and has the texture of oatmeal. Mamaliga, on the other hand, is firm and has the texture of bread. Indeed, it makes a great gluten-free and wheat-free substitute for bread. The firmness of mamaliga is what makes it possible for us to make muffins out of it. A quick online search showed only one recipe for mamaliga muffins on a blog called Gourmandelle, which exactly one more than I expected. It looks very appetizing, but a bit more time-consuming than I prefer. Here is a simple recipe for mamaliga muffins that I made for breakfast a few weeks ago. They were delicious, filling, and a big hit with the family. The last photo shows how cheesy they are on the inside.

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Moldovan Fish in Wine Sauce with Sauteed Vegetables

Moldovan Fish after baking

Life, and stomach flu, has been getting in the way of blogging for the last two weeks, and I am finally back. This post is a dish that is very similar to the previous recipe, Fish in Tomato Sauce. The two dishes look somewhat similar, each one is a fish cooked in a red sauce, but the flavors are very different. The Fish in Tomato Sauce is smooth and creamy, while the Moldovan Fish is more bright and tangy. Each is appetizing in its own way. The Moldovan Fish recipe comes from the country of Moldova, a former part of the Soviet Union. It has been taken from Please to the Table by Anya Von Bremzen and slightly simplified.

Preparation time: 20 min

Total time: 1 hour

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Fish in Tomato Sauce

tomato fish on plate

This is a simplified version of my grandmother’s Fish in Tomato Sauce. My grandmother is an expert cook who can whip up something absolutely delicious in minutes without ever looking at a recipe, and this fish is one of my favorites among her dishes. It does not taste exactly the way it does when she makes it, which I would never hope for, but it comes somewhat close. The biggest modification of her recipe is that I added bell peppers to the vegetable marinade, while she only uses carrots and onions. Another difference is that she, like most grandmothers, measures out ingredients by eye and by taste, adding a pinch of this and a handful of that until the dish tastes right. I find this remarkable because her dishes always taste very consistent. But of course, “a pinch and a handful” is not something that will work in a written recipe, and so I had to estimate the amounts of ingredients. I think it worked out well enough, but you be the judge.

A great way to serve this is with a side dish that absorbs the sauce well, such as mashed potatoes or rice. We had it with just a salad and used bread to soak up the sauce.

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Recommended Recipes from Around the Web

In this post I’m going to do something different. Instead of one new recipe, it’ll be a list of links to different recipes from other bloggers that I made and liked. Here it goes.


Braised Cabbage and Veggies from Mom’s Dish

Lentils with Sausage and Kale from Sassy Radish

Chicken and Buckwheat Casserole from Enjoyyourcooking

Thai Beef Stir-Fry from Betty Crocker (I used chicken soup instead of canned beef broth, omitted the water chestnuts, and used flour instead of cornstarch.)

Egg salad from Allrecipes


I only make dessert in those rare cases when I see a recipe for something that looks really appetizing and that cannot be easily bought in a store. The three recipes below fit these criteria very well.

Banana Bread from Simplyrecipes

Strawberry Brownies from Betty Crocker

Caramelized Pineapple from David Lebovitz

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Best Traditional Food Dishes From Around the World

Here’s a great- looking post from a blogger named international Bellhop that I’d love to share.

Best Traditional Food Dishes From Around the World.

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The Many Lives of Pickle Juice

Recently I found myself dumping out pickle brine after finishing a jar of pickles. After the brine was gone, I wondered, isn’t there a way to put it to good use? After all, it has the ingredients one might use in a marinade. Can’t we use it to marinade meat? A quick search showed a wealth of information on the uses of pickle brine, such as here and here. The three main uses seemed to be 1) meat marinade, 2) re-using it to pickle more vegetables, and 3) drinking it after a hard workout to regain electrolyte balance. Right away, I decided to pass on #3 in favor of Gatorade. As far as marinating meat, I tried to marinade chicken for about an hour in pickle juice prior to sautéing the chicken. I didn’t notice much of an effect, other than to make the chicken taste slightly sour. Not very impressive. Next, I tried marinating different vegetables in pickle juice, and here the results were much more interesting. This turned out to be an extremely easy way to get pickled vegetables of the kind you won’t find in a local supermarket. After all, when was the last time you’ve seen pickled broccoli or carrots on a store shelf? Since I’m a big fan of pickles of all kinds, this method was a pretty exciting find. After pickling several different types of vegetables in brine left over from marinated cucumbers, I was surprised by how quickly some of them were pickled. Red peppers were done in only three days!

Red peppers and broccoli in the pickle jar

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Slow Cooker Veal Stew with Squash and Mushrooms

Here is a stew recipe that makes use of the slow cooker to get veal to a state of soft and tender perfection. Veal is the only ingredient in this recipe to be prepared in the slow cooker. The squash and mushrooms are sautéed separately in a frying pan. The side dish I like to use with this stew is pasta with preferably large shapes, such as bow ties.

Slow Cooker Veal Stew

Slow Cooker Veal Stew

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