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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh the things cornmeal can do.

 I love getting presents. I won't admit it,but it's true. I 'm much more a fan of giving presents and with this amazing side I can give and get something pretty delicious. I made this amazing chicken,olive and pine nuts dish for my Aunt Carol's impromptu birthday dinner .I had a flash of genius when planning the menu and went with it. I couldn't figure out what starchy side I wanted to serve the luscious chicken dish on top of and then... wait for it...polenta. Really folks,way to go Jones. The creamy polenta was the ribbon wrapped around the chicken/olive/pine nuts present and what a tasty ribbon it was.
    I go to my trusty copy of How To Cook Everything and went to work. Love this cookbook and Mark Bittman has got it together I tell ya. So I found the version of polenta and wished on a star and hoped for the best. I knew this dinner would be special and the meal was my present to her, geez. The polenta took a bit of whisking and some focus on timing and ta-da! creamy,soft,cheezy cornmeal goodness or better know as Basic Polenta,Version 3. Find a nonstick pot,a whisk and some cornmeal and get to whiskin,it's worth every single bite. Happy Birthday Aunt Carol.

Basic Polenta,Version 3
How To Cook Everything ,page 188
 -Mark Bittman
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup medium-grind cornmeal
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TBL butter (optional)
1/4 cup or more freshly grated Parmesan or crumbled
 Gorgonzola cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh chives or parsley for garnish
1. Bring water to a boil in a heavy medium pot,preferably non-stick;salt it and turn the heat to medium. Add the cornmeal a little bit at a time,whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Once you've whisked in all the cornmeal, turn the heat to very low and cover;the mixture should be just bubbling.
2. Uncover and stir with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon for about 1 minute out of every 10. When the polenta is nearly done,about 35-40 minutes,uncover and stir frequently for about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the pepper,optional butter and, cheese and stir until it dissolves. Garnish and serve immediately;passing more cheese at the table if you like.

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