Saturday, August 07, 2010

Polenta is the cornmeal mush of the new Millenium...

I tried "polenta" when I first started seeing it appear in the recipe/menu section of magazines.....bought one of those "chub" packages in the produce section, sliced it, fried it, and tossed it into the garbag.  Ick. 

I continued to see it mentioned in magazines, online, and on local restaurant menus.  Avoided it like the plague. 

An article appeared recently that suggested polenta in place of pasta and rice, using either a box of instant polenta or adding water to the stuff in the chub pack.  Surely there is a bag called 'polenta' in the supermarket for me to cook.  Nope.
So I come home and google "polenta"....guess what it is?  Good old fashioned southern cornmeal mush!  Now I can cook that.   I headed to my pantry and got out my bag of cornmeal and went to work.

I served it with roasted zucchini and tomatoes and it was absolutely delicious.  I actually liked it better than rice or pasta with this particular vegetable mixture.
The zucchini and tomato part is here.  I did not have a garlic bulb this time, so I just tossed some jarred garlic into the roasted vegetables when I put them into the skillet to heat with some water and 2 T tomato paste (for richness).

To make the polenta, or cornmeal mush:

For 4 servings:

Whisk together 1 cup cornmeal with 1 cup water.  Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil.  Stir in the cornmeal mixture and simmer, stirring, until it tastes done.  The recipe said to stir til thick, but mine thickened up immediately, so I kept tasting it til it tasted cooked, not like raw starch.  Stir in butter and add more salt to taste.  Ta da!!!

"polenta"                                                                            "cornmeal mush"

The above photos are free from and I searched 'polenta' for one photo and 'cornmeal mush' for the other.  Admit that polenta sounds much more elegant.

And before you comment that, of course, polenta is simply cornmeal mush...everybody knows that,  I want to defend myself.   I knew that polenta was just cooked cornmeal, I just figured I had to buy cornmeal ground specifically for polenta.....I mean, polenta just sounds so exotic compared to cornmeal mush....

And, please tell me why anybody would opt for mixing water into the chub to get their cornmeal mush, when all it takes is cornmeal and water + butter and 20 minutes of your time???????

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