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Old 03-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Mama View Post
Well Alex, here's the way I understand it: Polenta, cornmeal and grits all come from corn. Polenta and cornmeal are basically just different grinds, cornmeal being the finer grind. Grits, as well as Mesa come from hominy which is corn that has been treated with lye...grits being the coarser grind.
Not all grits are Hominy Grits...There are also Stone Ground, (aka corn grits)
the better of the two. Then there's Instant grits (aka wall paper paste, school glue etc)
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:30 PM   #22
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i love polenta! add anything to it and it's delicious. Why is it gourmet? shrug, i dunno. It's friggin good. And you don't just leave it in a pot and let it cook. You do have to stir and make sure the bottom doesn't burn. I don't really see it on too many menues in my neighborhood. It does compliment a strong flavored meat item pretty well.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:47 PM   #23
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It does compliment a strong flavored meat item pretty well.
Funny/strange/odd that you mention that! ~~ A few minutes ago, whilst looking for something to eat, I ran across some leftover chuck roast and Au Jus ...and some left over Grits from Sunday morning...I can attest to the fact that heated chuck roast over Stone Ground Grits is good eats!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:52 PM   #24
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mmmmmmmm uncle bob that sounds delicious!
I am thinking polenta for dinner...
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:56 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
I'm amazed that foodies go ga-ga over adding polenta to their dishes. Polenta is the the Italian name for porridge, cruel, cornmeal mash, cornmeal mush, peasant food, and even some names that I should't say in public or nice company! IT'S BOILED CORNMEAL! The poorest of the poor man's dishes! Culinarily I would rank it below a single slice of white bread.

As I was growing up, my dad, who is NOT a cook, would cook cornmeal, let it set over night and then slice and fry it the next morning as breakfast, served with butter and syrup before we headed out for a day of fishing.

It carries no flavor of its own, and is about as bland as any food on earth. It's a filler - period. Perhaps it could be a textural thing, but that's about all. In a supermarket I've seen it come prepared in a roll the size of liverwurst. Why? They sell you 3 cents of cornmeal for $1.98!!!!! If you can't boil cornmeal yourself and refrigerate it over night, then maybe you should stay out of the kitchen. The skill level is right up there with making toast.
You are 110% correct, Selkie. However, there are so many folks who don't really cook. That's who those little liverwurst-sized rolls of polenta are for... They go home and open a jar of store bought pasta sauce, slice the roll, fry it and top it with the sauce. They call that "cooking!"

When I was growing up, my mom (who came from a farm in Central Illinois) made cornmeal mush for us a time or two. Fried with maple syrup like you described. My dad wouldn't touch it because he didn't like the sound of the name "Mush." Many years later, I served soft polenta (mixed with cheese) along with some Osso Buco, and he lapped it up and took seconds. Mom just rolled her eyes. "Polenta" clearly sounded more appetizing to him than "Mush."
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:30 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by ChefJune

You are 110% correct, Selkie. However, there are so many folks who don't really cook. That's who those little liverwurst-sized rolls of polenta are for... They go home and open a jar of store bought pasta sauce, slice the roll, fry it and top it with the sauce. They call that "cooking!"

When I was growing up, my mom (who came from a farm in Central Illinois) made cornmeal mush for us a time or two. Fried with maple syrup like you described. My dad wouldn't touch it because he didn't like the sound of the name "Mush." Many years later, I served soft polenta (mixed with cheese) along with some Osso Buco, and he lapped it up and took seconds. Mom just rolled her eyes. "Polenta" clearly sounded more appetizing to him than "Mush."
I think the reason a lot of chefs like polenta is that it can be quite versatile. It can be used in appetizers, as a side, as a substitute for the english muffin in eggs benedict, etc. It can be grilled, fried, used as a thickener in stews and soups as well.

My only exposure to polenta was in the form of mush growing up, which my father would fry up and put syrup on. When I went into the Army I was exposed to grits for the first time, though I'd had cream of wheat growing up. Now, I love grits, polenta, cream of wheat et. al.

Try thinking of polenta as a substitute for other starches, e.g., mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, etc. It's just another ingredient in the arsenal to make things different.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:33 PM   #27
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Polenta can also be used as a crust. Top with chicken, bacon & cheese, broil & serve with ranch. Yummy!
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:40 AM   #28
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Spamolenta, make the polenta, add egg yolks, parm cheese, heavy cream and cubes of crisp fried spam, mix spoon into a loaf tin, chill till set.
Slice 1" thick fry in butter till golden and crisp and top with a fried egg, used a poached egg as the healthy option
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