[Homestead] Grits-Polenta, OMG I am confused!<g>
timopp at gmail.com
Mon Oct 18 08:12:10 EDT 2010
Thanks Lynda on the mini-course. I have some experimenting to do this weekend.
Sent from my iPad
On Oct 17, 2010, at 5:55 PM, "Lynda" <lurine at com-pair.net> wrote:
> Well, having been married to two Italians, although not at the same time,
> mind you <g> AND having grown up in the Bay Area where my dad knew the owner
> of about every restaurant there was, I have had the benefit of learning at
> the knee of some exceptional Italian cooks. From Mama Frediani, Lena Fiori,
> the chef's at Peter Allioto's and, of course, Noni and DH's dad who passed
> down his mother's recipes from Naples.
> *Real* polenta, not that dastardly c**p sold in grocery stores in tubes, is
> a combination of coarse ground yellow corn and fine ground yellow corn. It
> is served two ways: the mush which you seem to not like (recipe to follow) and
> loaf. In Italy, the lady of the house always makes extra polenta. She will
> serve it like the mush BUT not as a breakfast food, as something you put
> "stuff" on top of. Then she takes the extra, puts it in a loaf pan and
> sticks it in the fridge overnight. Next day or sometime in the not to
> distant future, you pop it out of the loaf pan, slice it and fry it. And sometimes she'll just make it to be "pie" and set it out on a marble slab to cool and then slice it and fry it or use it in a layered casserole type dish.
> Now, that's when I like it for breakfast and I melt some butter on it and
> sprinkle brown sugar or sugar/cinnamon OR you can just pour maple syrup over it.
> For a dinner, the fried polenta is great with your basic meat sauce over it
> or a marinara with melted Parmesan or other Italian cheese of choice, OR if
> you are a weird American Indian such as myself <g>, you fry it up and put
> Indian taco fixing over the top. Excellent that way!
> So, here's your basic recipe:
> 9 cups water
> 3 cups cornmeal.
> Bring water to a boil, add salt, reduce heat to medium low. When water
> comes down to a simmer, slowly!! pour the cornmeal in a thin stream, and
> stir constantly with a long wooden spoon so you don't get lumps. Keep
> stirring and when polenta returns to a VERY low simmer, cook 25-30 (Noni
> insisted on 90 and stuck it on the back of the stove and just let it go at a
> REALLY low simmer) minutes.
> The differences in regions are in how long you cook it, what type of
> cornmeal you use, how much salt and whether or not you add butter.
> You go south, and they'll add up to 2 tablespoons of salt.
> You head north and it is less salt and it is 2 to 1 coarse ground cornmeal
> to fine ground cornmeal.
> You get really far north and towards the end of the cooking process they'll
> toss in a tablespoon or two of butter.
> Almost anything you've heard of being done with or to noodles is done to
> polenta. Layered with sauces, cheese stirred in, pesto stirred in,
> shrimp/beef/pork/chicken with "gravy" poured over.
> And in some regions, Lombardy, for example, they'll use part buckwheat flour
> and part cornmeal to make the polenta.
> Now, I will say that I have never seen anyone add pepper <g> but wouldn't be
> surprised if they did the closer you get to Sicily since from about Naples
> down they sprinkle red pepper flakes on just about everything, so black
> pepper wouldn't be out of the question!
> Oh, almost forgot. To do it right, you should have a copper pan. Seems you
> don't have to hock your first born over there to buy a good copper sauce
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "EarthNSky" <erthnsky at gmail.com>
>> Okay, we are part of the 'grit-eating' world, and have never eaten or
>> tasted polenta, per se. It was always my understanding that grits are
>> made from hominy which is made from soaking corn kernels in lye. The
>> hominy is then dried and ground, voila, grits. Polenta, I thought, was
>> more akin to corn meal, just a course ground meal. In Dixie, cornmeal is
>> used in frying, and in making cornbread, which I have always thought would
>> be closer to what polenta would be like than grits.
>> Now mind you, I grew up eating Quaker instant grits-blasphemy, I know, to
>> some, but common enough for you to know what that is. Now, we mostly use
>> the long cook version, still Quaker, but we like the course ground, long
>> cook grits. I eat grits with butter and sometimes cheese or sausage or
>> bacon. I don't put eggs in them the way dh does, nor ham, nor onions, nor
>> sugar nor milk, nor anything else that I have ever heard of using to
>> flavor grits. I think I am rather simplistic in my grits preferences,
>> but I should also include that I have eaten leftover fried grits and a
>> cheese grit casserole with fried fish.
>> So here we are in Kroger yesterday (I rarely shop at Kroger anymore, but
>> wanted some organic cherry juice that only they carry) and dh puts a bag
>> of Quaker "yellow corn grits" in the buggy. We later had a discussion
>> about the difference and I told him what I knew about so called hominy
>> grits, and that the lye removed the color, I thought. He went to the web
>> for answers. He looked at Wikipedia? and found a page that suggested that
>> the only difference between yellow grits and white grits was the color of
>> the corn kernel. He found something else that likened the process to the
>> difference between brown rice and white rice, equating yellow grits with
>> brown rice-degerminated. So is this degerming process the whole lye to
>> hominy stage? Have we just dropped the word hominy from hominy grits and
>> just call them grits, or are grits and hominy grits separate things still?
>> Are Quaker instant grits really instant hominy grits? Are Quaker long
>> cook grits really hominy grits since they are white and degermed, even
>> though it doesn't say hominy?
>> Fast forward to this morning, we prepared the yellow grits as usual.
>> Neither of us liked them. It is not grits. This did not even approximate
>> grits, even with butter and salt/pepper. If this is polenta, I surely
>> don't like it. Half a spoonful was enough for me. But, perhaps if this
>> is polenta, I have cooked it improperly and seasoned it improperly. Dry,
>> except for the color, it looks just like long cook grits in courseness.
>> Do I need to feed this to the chickens or is there a yummy dish I could
>> make and call it polenta? Could it be used like a cornmeal in cornbread
>> with tons of corn and jalepenos?
>> What the heck??
>> EarthNSky Farm 34.498N 85.076W
>> SISU! (Finnish--There is no single word in English that encompasses
>> all that sisu means, but it combines the following ideas: guts, pep,
>> determination, stubbornness, perseverance, hardiness, stamina, go, do,
>> nerve, spunk, pluck, and grit. It's like "Just Do It!" & "Go for It!")
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