"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baked Polenta with Parmesan

Another adventure in the Grains and Beans chapter!

Baked Polenta with Parmesan allowed me to address one of the difficulties I had when I made Creamy Polenta Parmesan, which is that I couldn't get the polenta to move in a "thin stream" into the water. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to put the polenta into a funnel and stream it in that way. Perfecto!!

But before I could use this brilliant idea of mine, I was confronted with this fact--that I didn't have the correct corn ingredient.

This is what the recipe says: I cup polenta (not quick-cooking) or yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground).

Folks, this is what I had in the pantry:

I don't know if you can read the fine print, but it says, "stone-ground"

Now. Am I going to make a special trip to the store to buy some not-stone-ground yellow cornmeal? Heck no. I am going to throw caution to the winds and find out what happens when you make polenta with stone-ground cornmeal.

So after using my brilliant funnel-streaming idea, the polenta cooked for 15 minutes (without clumping-ha!) Stone-ground cornmeal retains the germ of the corn kernel--it's a rougher texture than the more finely-milled stuff. But it still cooked up just fine--I poured it into an 8X8 baking pan and baked it for 25 minutes, then sprinkled it with parm and broiled it for another 3.

How did it taste? Corn + butter and parmesan = yummy in any combination, but I'll come down on the side of using not-stone-ground for the polenta dishes. It's not that it was bad, it was simply a texture issue, and I like the finer texture better.

It got eaten up though, trust me.

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