Monday, July 18, 2005

So what's this polenta stuff about...

Okay, so I confess - we have had polenta before but it has always been in the premade "tubes". So when I found a recipe that actually has you make it I figured it's about time we do it ourself. Of course it calls for instant polenta and I couldnt find it anywhere here. We settled on what was labeled "yellow corn grits AKA polenta" from Bob's red mill. It was very interesting as it turned thick quicker than I expected. I started to second guess myself if I put in enough liquid but, determined that I did I let it go and it turned out well! Bye bye tubes!

Tonights dinner was Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce served over Two-Cheese polenta.

The chicken was very moist and the outside was nice and crisp. We used the combo of butter/oil and the flavor really came through.

For dessert tonight I really wanted something that was refreshing and had a clean taste while still being light. I made Butter Crunch Lemon-Cheese Bars(CL). It is kind of like a lemon bar/cheesecake type filling over a crunchy brown sugar crust.


  1. Polenta and I have yet to become friends. We stand in opposite corners and glare at each other.

    Last time I made polenta (the real thing), my 'dome' turned out like a big slab...grr.

  2. Hey Joe - I can't use your email link - issue with aol and my computer... I would love this lemon bar recipe and the cookie recipe from last week (with white chocolate chips, maybe?) Thanks!

    See you on the KAF Baker's Circle - love the blog!


  3. Recipes sent Beth!

    Sorry to hear about your polenta issues Stephanie! Keep trying though because its well worth it!

  4. Hi
    I love this polenta recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Never fail. Add cheese, gruyere, parmesan, or whatever flavor you would like.

    Foolproof Polenta
    Written: Jan 1995

    The traditional method for preparing polenta is time-consuming and fraught with danger. Double-boiler polenta is still time-consuming--but it's foolproof.

    The Problem: Polenta is deceptive. Made with just cornmeal and water and seemingly simple to prepare, it can nonetheless be a challenge, requiring constant stirring, a wary eye for bubbles of molten cornmeal, and the ever-present risk of seizing.

    The Goal: A simple, foolproof method for fluffy, creamy polenta.

    The Solution: Substituting a double boiler for the traditional saucepan increases the cooking time, but polenta made this way requires only occasional stirring and will never overcook or seize. Best of all, the polenta is softer and more fluffy owing to the absence of constant stirring.

    When stirring polenta, there's no need to stir vigorously; just move the cornmeal around, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan.
    Serves 4

    4 cups water , boiling
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1 cup medium-grind cornmeal

    1. Bring about 2 inches of water to boil in the bottom of double boiler; reduce to simmer and maintain throughout cooking process.

    2. Set top of double boiler over simmering water, and add 4 cups boiling water. Add salt, then gradually sprinkle cornmeal into water, whisking constantly to avoid lump formation.

    3. Cover and cook until polenta is very soft and smooth, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring for several seconds every 10 to 15 minutes. (Once cooked, polenta can be covered and saved up to 4 hours and reheated; stir in a bit of water if necessary.)

  5. Joe, I'm trying to find the lemon crunch bar recipe and the balsamic chicken breasts with polenta from July 2005. Can you help me out?


  6. Vicky - Those were during the first month we did the blog and we were not posting recipes yet. Here are links to the recipes from the original sources.

    Lemon-Cheese Bars