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10 March 2008



People, your voluminous and kind-hearted responses this week have astounded us. My goodness, the comments on our announcement of Little Bean have us choked up, every day. It's marvelous to feel like we're a community, even in this strange world connected by our computers. This little one (who is kicking and getting bigger every day, pronounced by the obstetrician today to be thriving. The whoosh-whoosh heartbeat through the Doppler only made us grin harder) will be born with a huge cheering section waiting for his or her arrival. How many of us is that lucky?

So thank you.

But just as astounding (and far more useful for cooking, really) is the amazing outpouring of suggestions and cooking ideas for Savoy cabbage. I was hoping you might like this idea for a Monday ingredient spotlight, but was not prepared for the rush of enticing-sounding ideas. Goodness, people! I bought another huge Savoy on Saturday, just to try out some of your suggestions. You certainly inspired me.

Let's try another one, shall we?

This is a bowl of Anson Mills cornmeal (in this case, it's ground for polenta). I have only recently started eating this extraordinary cornmeal, milled on demand before it is shipped to each customer. They grow heirloom breeds of corn, buckweat, rice, and wheat, and they do it all organically. The Chef loves this stuff, and so do I.

Now, you may have noticed that Anson Mills does work with wheat in its South Carolina plant. That could give us gluten-free folks some pause. But never fear. I called Anson Mills a few weeks ago, to see if I could really eat this cornmeal. When the man at customer service picked up the phone, not only did he know what eating gluten-free meant without my explaining, but he said that the corn, rice, and buckwheat products are milled and handled in a completely separate room than the wheat products. They also test the air, to make sure that nothing creeps in. That's good enough for me. (And I'm being especially careful, now that I'm pregnant.)

You see, not all cornmeal is gluten-free. The dear folks at Bob's Red Mill make some of the best gluten-free flours in the world, in a dedicated gluten-free facility. But their cornmeal (and their masa harina) is manufactured in the other room, the one with all the gluten. We really need to look at every commercially-processed cornmeal, carefully.

(If you haven't tried it yet, you should splurge and buy some Moretti polenta, which is made in the Lombardy region of Italy. Those folks know what they are doing.)

So this cornmeal is rather special, for a variety of reasons. But cornmeal itself is a treasure.

When I was little, one of my favorite breakfasts was my mom's cornmeal mush. She was born with a Pennsylvania Dutch background. (Until I was much older, I thought that everyone said "read off the table" when it was time to clear the dishes.) That cornmeal mush must be from that rich history. She made something close to polenta the night before, spread it out in a casserole dish, and let it chill overnight. In the morning, she cut thick wedges of the sunny yellow stuff, put it on the electric griddle, and slathered the hot mush in Aunt Jemima syrup. Oh, I couldn't get enough, especially when bacon slices swam in the syrup pool.

Actually, I haven't had any in awhile. Might be time.

So the question is now in your hands. What do you like to do with cornmeal?


At 11:11 PM, Blogger The Peanut Butter Boy said...

2 things I would do.

First is make a cornmeal pizza crust with some olive oil. Top with some good marinara, basil, ricotta and thin-sliced fresh mozzarella.

Second would be to make some corn cakes. I don't actually have a good recipe for these, but I remember them as a child, they came in English muffin-esque packages were incredible when toasted and drizzled with honey.

- The Peanut Butter Boy

At 11:18 PM, Blogger The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Oh, one last idea.

I would make a cornbread casserole with a chili filling.

- The Peanut Butter Boy

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Kait said...

It's a girl??

At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would make, and am currently eating breakfast polenta. It sounds similar to the breakfast mush, but is loaded with dried fruits, nuts, honey and cinnamon. I then fry it after being chilled over night and drizzle with some englih honey. Yum...

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

No ideas, but you triggered an amazing mushy maternal food memory. I used to make cornmeal mush for my kids when they were little, push it flat a loaf pan, and slice it in the morning, then slather it with local dark, thick, rich syrup.

At 4:50 AM, Blogger Shirley said...

My favorites are corn muffins, especially with soup. However, recently I made cornmeal pancakes from a recipe I found on the web ... yummy, they really soak up your topping (we raise honeybees so we use honey).

I also found a recipe for a pound cake made from cornmeal (no flour). In my gluten-eating days, I adored pound cakes, so I had to try this one. It's called cornshuckin' pound cake and has a glaze that gets poured over it. The cake itself is a good texture and not super sweet, so the glaze is a nice touch. Corn syrup was called for in the glaze, but again I used honey.

I also make a flat heavy cornbread (from an old family recipe that someone posted on the celiac listserv) that we enjoy very much. It calls for no flour at all either so it's lovely and dense--just a nice "flat" circle of goodness.

At 5:26 AM, Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

Here in Peru, polenta is made into a breakfast "drink" with milk and sugar. I also love johnnycakes - cornmeal pancakes - with fresh fruit and a splash of maple syrup. Yum!

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two favorites that I like with cornmeal. The first is likened to your mothers process except I like to mix pancetta and onions that have been carmalized together in a cast iron skillet. Fold the sweet and salty mix into the cornmeal mush and let cool in a sheet pan. Then fry in olive oil until crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The second is a "tamale pie" with steak, pork or chicken that has been heavily spiced mixed with corn and fresh tomatoes. Dollops of cornbread on top and baked.

P.S. Congrats on having a little girl.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My "go to" with corn meal is a roasted vegetable and polenta lasagna. Such a simple meal - grilled veggies, a fresh tomato sauce and some polenta all layered and baked together - heavenly!

Congratulations on Little Bean!

At 6:50 AM, Blogger Il Fornaio said...

MMmmm. Polenta for breakfast is my favorite thing in the world. Some leftover wedges that have been chilled overnight, pan fried, then topped with a poached egg (of course, if you top anything with a poached egg, I'm in love). When they are in season, I add tomato slices, and crumbled goat cheese is another lovely addition. OK, now the granola I just had for breakfast at my desk is just not cutting it.

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first time I ever ate polenta, I was at a restaurant outside of Milan with my parents when I was 11 years old. I was never a big fan of hot cereal, and I was hesitant at first when they put the plate of steaming hot polenta in front of me. But I didn't want to be rude (thank god for my parents and their enforcement of good manners, particularly when it came to trying new foods as guests in someone's home or country) so I took a tiny little bite. The buttery, soft, grainy-but-not-hard, rich, golden polenta was a feast. Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease, it has become a staple in my pantry. After reading 'Heat' by Bill Buford, I make it the slow way, and at the end I add a big scoop of good butter, salt, and grated fontina, gruyere, or marscapone cheese, whatever I have on hand. Heaven.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nice way to wake up. Look at that cornmeal. It's like a bowl of sunshine.

As for what we do with cornmeal around here...I remember a winter where we lived on a pizza-style polenta dish that I found in A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider. Essentially, you make polenta as you like it (I like baking it; it takes twice as long in the oven as on the stove, but it requires much less stirring); when it's done, you pour it onto a baking sheet, let it cool down a bit, spread the top with green olive paste, slice some fresh mozzarella over the top, and run it under the broiler. It's really wonderful. I never knew how much I liked cornmeal and olives (both green and black) in combination until I tried this.

In summer, when I'm not in the mood to run the oven for an hour, I make a batch of cornbread (alas, mine contains flour, but I know there's a gluten-free recipe out there that kicks mine to the curb), cut it into quarters, split each quarter in half and top it with fresh corn salsa (I got the recipe from Penzeys; it's somewhere in my archives; I'll pass it along if you'd like it), a dollop of full-fat Greek yogurt and some chopped coriander. I don't have the words for how much I love this, which Lloyd and I have dubbed the Cornbread Thing.

And then, of course, there are johnnycakes, which are correct in any season, especially with bacon and grade-B maple syrup. :)

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you announcing that you are expecting a girl or was that a typo? Thanks for the cornmeal recommendation, it is hard to find good gf cornmeal these days. There is nothing like a good sweet cornmeal muffing w/jam for breakfast. Congrats on the babe--I hope all goes well.

--gf since '91

At 7:50 AM, Blogger jennsquared said...

I grew up in Taiwan, so we have different uses for cornmeal. The one I remember most was the cornmeal rice soup.

Rice soup itself is versatile. You cook the rice in more water than how you would normal make rice so there is water when the rice is done. In this case, most of the time the rice is over done (very sticky). You can eat it just like that, with sides to make it either sweet or savory, or you put in things to cook with that will make it sweet or savory. In Cantonese it's called the "Congee" which you might have seen it before.

My mom would put the cornmeal to cook it with rice, and I would just add soy sauce at the end and eat it like that. It is the most comforting to me when I have a stomach ache - it fills me up, but it doesn't makes me nausous when I don't feel well.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

I've made both corn cookies and a corn/millet bread, both of which I can post on my blog later this week.

I actually will make polenta in the oven, dump in the cornmeal and the water and leave in a 350 degree oven, stirring once or twice.

You can make a wonderful dessert out of it by tossing in some frozen fruit (in winter) and drizzling a little cream on top.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

oh, and you seem to have let the cat out of the bag on Little Bean's sex...

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read about this recipe yesterday in our local foods magazine here in the Twin Cities.
You make a garlic polenta, put it into two ramekins. Then top it with some blanched asparagus, an egg that you have just slightly cooked, and some queso fresco. Put it in under the broiler until the cheese melts and the egg almost sets--YUM!
I have to thank the great Edible Twin Cities writers for that one, I can't wait for spring! You could add all sorts of great spring veggies to this, or creme fraiche, or I'm hungry.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger thisrequiresthought said...

definitely make a skillet-full of polenta.
when cool, slice into wedges and lightly fry in olive oil.
dip into fresh salsa and swoon.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger jenA said...

I'm not fancy --- polenta polenta polenta. with meat sauce. My dad grew up in Syracuse, in an Italian neighborhood. He introduced me to polenta as a kid and I always preferred it savory to sweet (same as all my hot breakfast cereals!)

Also good is a polenta made by a restaurant I used to work for in Central Texas --- cooked with milk instead of water, mixed with cream cheese and jalapenos, then chilled in a cookie sheet, cut into wedges and fried.

Of course I also use it mixed with tapioca starch and herbs/spices to dredge fish and chicken for frying. Old Bay Seasoning is good for fried clams n mussels.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I come bearing two soup recipes. First is a Wild Mushroom Soup with Soft Polenta.
1/2 c dried porcini mushrooms
3/4 c hot water
1/4 c butter
1 large red onion chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 3/4 c mixed wild mushrooms
1/2 c light red wine
5 c veg stock
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

3 c milk
1 c quick cook polenta
1/4 butter
2/3 c grated parmesan cheese
plus extra to serve

Soak the porcini in the hot water for 30 min. Drain and strain but reserve both mushrooms and liquid.

melt butter in large saucepan add onion and garlic and cook till soft. Add mixed wild mushrooms and cook 4 min.

Add dried mushrooms and liquid pour in wine and stock cook for 15 min.
Cool slightly.

pour half in blender and process till almost smooth and add back to saucepan.

Make polenta by boiling milk and adding in polenta while stirring all the time. Cook for 5 min and beat in butter and cheese.

Return soup to heat to a boil add mustard. Serve with chopped parsley and cheese.

Complements of Matthew Drennan's Soup book.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Tiffany said...

I think you just revealed the little bean's sex:)

Congratulations to you and the Chef.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Second is my favorite soup from his book a Roasted Garlic Soup with polenta croutons

1 Table olive oil
1 bulb garlic unpeeled and broken into cloves.
4 slices of day old bread. he uses ciabatta but use any good gluten free bread.
5 c chicken stock
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

3 c milk
1 cup quick cook polenta
1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 400 F
Add garlic and bread tossed with oil and roast for 20 min. and cool.

Boil milk and add in polenta stirring all the time. Cook for 5 min till polenta starts to come away from pan. Spoon onto cutting board 1/2 inch thick and let cool and set.

Squeeze garlic out of cloves and with the bread and 1 1/4 c stock process in blender or food processor. Pour in saucepan.

Pound saffron in mortar and add a little of stock in and add to soup with enough of the rest of the stock to make the soup to your desired consistancy.

Cut polenta into a 1/2 inch dice and melt butter in pan and cook polenta over high heat for 1-2 min till beginning to brown and drain.

Season soup and reheat gently then serves with polenta croutons and chopped parsley.

This is my all time favorite soup please try with gluten free bread I made mine from a mix I found and it was pretty good. Take care.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems as though your announcement has us lurkers coming out from our shadows in droves, so I thought I'd join the masses. My uncle and neighbour have celiac and being the avid baker I am, I'm constantly trying to find things that they can enjoy - your blog has been an inspiration. Thank you!

Also, huge congratulations on your wee bean. You and Danny seem poised to become great parents to this lucky little person. Well done!

Catherine from Canada

PS - You do realize you dropped the gender of your wee bean in the first paragraph of your post today? ... her arrival? Congrats, I'm sure she will be beautiful!

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Shauna said...

First of all, YUM! You have all made me hungry. I really shouldn't open up the computer and read comments first thing in the morning, before eating anything. My goodness, my stomach is growling. Keep them coming.

Oh, and for you who saw the her and jumped to it (sweetly!), I'm afraid to disappoint. But I may not have told you the truth. You see, I got all clever and former grammar teacher on you, and I thought I'd use her in one post, him in the other, just to keep people guessing. (I just can't say its!) But since everyone jumped to it, so, I've put in his or her in the post. Awkward, but functional. Sorry to be all mysterious, but you understand.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Gluten Free...licious! said...

Thanks for the info on Bob's Red Mill. I had no idea. I have both products in my cupboard right now! That might explain my occasional "tummy ache"....I'll be getting rid of those soon. The polenta that your mom would make the night before & serve for breakfast..please send me the recipe, that sounds ...licious!

I love warm GF corn bread muffins with real butter along side a bowl of pinto beans, seasoned with ham or bacon! Yum! Great on a cold wintery day!

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Vegan cornbread. It's so light and fluffy!

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh god, I just made the best lemon cornmeal cake ever last weekend. It's called Patty's Cornmeal Butter Cake and it's from the book Classic Home Desserts. It does involve a tiny bit of flour, but I'm sure you could make a substitution. The buttery cake melts in your mouth while the cornmeal gives it a gritty edge and the yogurt and lemon provide a satisfying tanginess. SO good.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heres something different - its a North Indian recipe (from Punjab). Perfect with fresh homemade butter! It is traditionally eaten with mustard greens...

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its still wintery weather up here in Southeast Alaska and so I'd make a pan of a thick stew, chili or meatsauce, pour it in a pie pan pour a recipe for cornbread over top and bake it- makes a yummy kind of shepherds pie.
And congraduations!!

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in PA, and I haven't heard anyone say "red up" anything in years! Boy was that a flash back...PA Dutch markets are some of the best out there anywhere in the US, for sure. And I say that as someone who lives in San Francisco - ground zero for great food.

I hardly ever cook with cornmeal, so no ideas for this, but I will happily take others' ideas!

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious about your mom's Pennsylvania Dutch background - I am of the Mennonite faith with roots in Pennsylvania and Virginia. It IS a rich history that includes good food (and fellowship!), especially further back when most of that food was coming from the garden rather than the supermarket.

About cornmeal...I too love polenta, or fried mush as we call it here in Virginia. But in the interest of diversity, I'll say that I favor cornmeal for dredging my fried green tomatoes and homemade chicken fingers.

Green tomatoes are usually available at market any time tomatoes are ripe, but I especially enjoy them before the ripening in early summer and at the end of the season when I must strip my plants before the first hard frost.

Choose green tomatoes that are quite firm - no giving to gentle pressure here! Wash, cut out the bare minimum of stem core and slice thinly, about 1/8"-1/4" thick, keeping skin on.

Dip tomato slice in beaten egg, dredge in seasoned cornmeal (I usually add about 1 teaspoon sea salt per cup of cornmeal, plus 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of either black or cayenne pepper - as spicy as you like it), and fry in about 1/8 inch of oil (I use a mixture of olive oil and butter or sometimes coconut oil, which has a higher smoke point and is great for frying) over medium high heat in a large sturdy skillet. Fry until golden on each side, remove to paper-towel-covered plate, eat as soon as you can touch them! Devour them plain and hot or with a splash of your favorite vinegar for more tang.

You can use any grind of cornmeal you have on hand, though a finer texture works a little better for coating.

The egg dip is crucial for keeping the tomato moisture inside and the coating crispy.

As for the chicken fingers, I make these when I'm cutting up a whole chicken for broth. I cut off the breasts and cut them into 1/2 inch strips. For these I like to season the cornmeal with lots of fragrant ground coriander - maybe a tablespoon? - as well as turmeric, cayenne and salt. You can use any seasoning you like - almost any herbs or spices or blends will work nicely. Again, I find that about one teaspoon of sea salt per cup of cornmeal is about right for my tastes.

I skip the egg dip for these, simply dredging the strips in the seasoned cornmeal (make sure the chicken isn't dripping wet) and frying on both sides in a thin layer of oil until just done. My little girls request these for their birthday dinners and like to dip them in honey mustard. I like salsa verde with lots of cilantro for my fingers. (Curry-flavored fingers would pair beautifully with your favorite chutney.) These reheat nicely in skillet or toaster oven, so you can make extra for breakfast the next day!

I guess I've written enough for now!

At 11:49 AM, Blogger nicole said...

i love polenta, with caramelized onions and roasted vegetables draped on top (tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini).

muffins! with fresh corn!

and an upside-down cormeal cake, with cherries.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to experiment, but I bet you could make polenta DUMPLINGS for soup! It would be delish in an egg drop soup, or Greek lemon soup, or in a hearty mushroom leek broth.

I've got that Moretti polenta, and will keep you posted on the Dumpling Odyssey...

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that my favorite cornmeal uses are these two:

The first is something I learned when I worked in the restaurant. Lightly dredging either fish or chicken (Pale fish like tilapia, or scallops are especially good) with a mixture of half fine cornmeal, half another mild flour gives a nice texture to contrast the softness of the meat, and is just absorbent enough to hold sauce really well. :)

The second is something that my boyfriend loves. I haven't replicated them perfectly, but his mom always used to buy him these breakfast cakes called "corn toasties" (made by Friehoffer's bakery, which I'm not sure goes beyond upstate New York). They are kind of in the middle between a corn pancake and the top of a corn muffin, flat and round, but baked not fried. They, as their name would suggest, fit in a toaster, and so make a very nice, quick morning meal, especially tasty drizzled with honey.

<3 B

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Andromeda Jazmon said...

Right now my favorite thing is to make Moosewood cookbook cornbread with honey, butter, buttermilk and gf flours. I can't get enough of it.

I am so, so, so happy for you, the Chef and Little Bean! Congratulations you darling girl! Blessings, blessings, blessings...

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

I was just thinking about how lucky LB (Little Bean) will be to be exposed to such a wide variety of delicious foods from an early age.

My husband's family is from northern Italy, where polenta is a staple. So I learned from them to eat it with stew chicken and pork on top, and fry up the leftovers the next morning for breakfast. Yum!


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother once experimented with polenta cookies topped with cocoa nibs, an excellent match. The cookies were thick, with a delicate give, and the nibs' crunchy bitterness was perfect. (Also, ambitious bakers can arrange smiley faces on the cookies, and smiling food is funny.)

Congratulations on having a baby! I can't wait to read accounts of carefully pureed baby feasts!


At 1:00 PM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Budino di Polenta e cioccolata of course (chocolate polenta pudding cake) credits to Lynne Rossetto Kasper- you won't forget this desert!
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup coarsely ground GF cornmeal
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, the best your can afford
shredded zest of 1/2 an orange
1 1/2 tsp good ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, separated
1 tbs good vanilla
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs sugar
powdered sugar for dusting
optional garnish
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbs sugar
In a 2 quart saucepan bring milk to boil. Meanwhile combine cornmeal, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Whisk in the hot milk until smooth. Place batter in a double boiler and simmer over hot water covered for 40 minutes. The polenta will thicken and get stiff. Stir three or four times over the 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and butter an 8 inch springform pan. Finely chop three quarters of the chocolate and cut the rest into generous one inch pieces. When the polenta is cooked, remove from heat and blend in the finely chopped chocolate, orange zest, cinnamon, pepper, yolks and vanilla. Place one cup of this mixture in another bowl and stir the cream into it. Set aside. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy. Beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and whip to soft peaks. Fold a quarter of the whites into the non-cream chocolate batter to lighten it. Then fold the rest, leaving a few white streaks. Fold in the chocolate chunks with one or two strokes. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Using a spoon, hallow out the center of the batter so the polenta cream mixture will sit in a pocket, and add the cream mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter. Sift the coco over the sop, then sprinkle the sugar. Bake one hour, or until a knife at the edge comes out with moist crumbs on it but in the center comes out with creamy streaks. Cool on a rack 15 minutes. Whip cream with sugar until thickened. Release sides of pan and set cake on a plate, Serve warm dusted with powdered sugar and optional whipped cream. ENJOY!

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Patricia said...

My mother-in-law's corn "bread" recipe, that she's been making since long before she knew me, is gluten-free and delicious! It's super easy to make, moist and yummy. Less bread-like, more cake-like in texture; good with butter and honey or maple syrup.

2 eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sour cream
1 can cream style corn
1 c. cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar

Beat eggs and sour cream. Blend in remaining ingreadients. Pour into greased 9x9 pan and bake at 350 for 30 min.

Also, I live on the Navajo reservation, where blue corn meal is quite popular. You can order Blue Corn Mush at the local restaurants (though they add regular flour so I have yet to try it.) I think it could easily be made with just blue corn meal and water (served sweet or savory, just like grits).

I've also spent some time on the neighboring Hopi reservation, where Piki is a traditional food, a flaky blue-gray "bread" that makes a good accompaniment to stews or chilis. I've never made it myself, but I've tried it and it's quite different from anything else, as it uses Juniper ash in the recipe, one of which can be found here (cursor over the Navajo words to get english translation):

PS Many congratulations on the new life in your life!

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jess Thomson said...

How about the very simplest cornbread?

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Krafty Like A Fox said...

I make polenta the quickndirty way in the microwave (college students have no time!) and for dinner, mix in sharp cheddar, paprika, chili powder, and fresh-cracked pepper, or for breakfast, mix in sugar with cinnamon and vanilla.

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I tell you that I laughed out loud at your confession that you were getting grammarian on our collective ass by switching genders from post to post? As if you didn't already give us enough reasons to adore you. :)

At 4:56 PM, Blogger pokettiger said...

I just read your beautiful post about "getting knocked up." Congratulations! I gave birth to twin girls in May 2006. I can so relate to the eating thing. I like veggies but during a long stretch of my pregnancy I couldn't eat them. I could barely even look at anything sweet. Even dairy was not going over well. My main stay were eggs and meat. I am not a red meat eater either but the thought of eating certain things start make me want to gag. Yet when I pictured a big steak i would think oh yea I could eat that. The funny thing is that my husband is vegan and here I would arrive home feeling ill and ask him if he could cook the steak for me. He was sweet enough to not question and throw it on the grill or in the broiler. Such a weird experience to have some other life form in you dictating what you need to eat. I also noted that it was hard to find books that really take the dad into account. Here is one I bought my husband and he loved it and he has actually gifted it to other dads to be The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott. Maybe the chef will like it too.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite thing to do is cook up a batch of polenta then spread it in a baking dish to cool. I cut it into whatever shapes I fancy, cover it in herbs & oil or parmesan cheese and broil until done. Mmmm. I put them on salads a lot, or as a side for chicken and tomatoes.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Tara Barker said...

Oh, I love cornmeal! We had skillet cornbread last night with our slow-roasted ribs. (Which was so good I had dreams about it last night! Ah, pregnancy!) The recipe I use is from The Best Recipe. It's the southern version, and is naturally gf. A crisp, crackly crust and tender, salty-corn crumb - YUM! But one of my favorite uses for cornmeal (and something I rarely make), is spoonbread. Like a savory corn souffle, all fluffy and airy, yet rich too. I think you're supposed to serve it as a side dish, but when I have it I really don't want to eat anything else. :) And of course, our fall-back almost-weekly dinner of creamy polenta topped with roasted carrots, onions, and garlic, along with a leg of duck confit. Never fails.

And I love your gender trickery.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Well dang, girl--so many comments to keep up with! I didn't read them all, so I'll just add my two cents, which I'm sure others have already mentioned.

I am new to polenta. I've fried up wedges to toss into a salad recently; I'm planning to try it for pizza crust and a nice crostini base (I saw in an Italian cooking magazine that they called it crostoni) in lieu of bread.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Jo said...

Oops - no cornmeal for me!!! I react as badly to corn as I do to gluten, and that's saying a lot. Good luck to everyone who can eat it, though! I hear polenta is pretty good.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger DrB said...

my sweet R__ makes arepas. He's an architect, and each is a perfect circle, all exactly the same size. amazing... he uses only 'PAN precooked white cornmeal' for this.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love polenta paired with mushrooms fried in butter with thyme and garlic - sooo good.

I have only just discovered cornbread (In my defence I live in Australia) and am absolutely addicted! I make chilli now (another new recipe for me) all the time, just for the excuse to eat cornbread.

P.S. congratulations on the baby, whatever the sex may be...

At 9:18 PM, Blogger alane said...

As the Rhode Island swampyankee that I am, I would offer johnnycakes as my first cornmeal choice. Served East Bay pancake-style for breakfast or West Bay-fritter style for dinner, they are perfect with bacon or bacon and beans.

At 1:39 AM, Blogger Becks said...

mmm... with curls of parmesan, cracked pepper, and salted butter. Simple. Delicious.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Debbie said...

Ahh...cornmeal. When I decided 2 months ago to go GF I knew cornmeal would be a staple. Dredging okra and green tomatoes (a vestige of my years in Nashville, TN), GF cornbread courtesy of Shauna, polenta (I must not have the recipe correct; mine gets thick in about 2 minutes), tamale pie (thick chili topped with cornbread batter and baked), and cornmeal mush (not fried, but eaten as a hot cereal). I will try a cornmeal pizza tonight topped with fire roasted tomatoes, grilled salmon, kalamata olives and feta cheese. This will be the first pizza I will have eaten in more than a year. Yea!!! Thanks to nick.
To jena: I grew up outside of Syracuse, NY. Not Italian, but close.
Shauna: At first I thought I was seeing things when I saw "his or her" in your post this am. I was sure I saw "her" earlier. Now I know what was up. I, too, am a grammarian when I edit students' papers. I have to get rid of all the "his or her"s and rewrite the sentences.

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cornmeal? Nothing better than to dredge bite size pieces of okra in it and deep fry. I am from Irmo, South Carolina, after all, home of the Okra Strut.

My mom's favorite thing is to thinly slice summer squash lengthwise, dredge in cornmeal, and pan-fry. Mmmmmmmmm.

At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, here in Egham, Surrey in the UK I made Polenta for the first time yesterday we ate it with chicken with blue cheese sauce and spinach. I was wondering what I could possibly do with the massive amount left over. Now I have loads of ideas. Thank you Shauna and everyone.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

slightly sweet southern cornbread! yum!!

Also is great in pizza dough!

Also makes incredible, yummy, simple hot cakes!

I love cornmeal!!

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Vittoria said...

My Italian Grandmother treated polenta, along with pasta, as the universal food. She made it with everything. My fondest memory, which I would try to recreate would be polenta with parmesan cheese and rosemary, chilled, then fried later. She also used to do something like pizza, press in tomato slices and then put mozzarella after reheating it.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Mallory said...

There is a gluten free lemon polenta cake in the cookbook Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini, and it is fantastic.

I've had the best luck cutting the recipe in half and making it in four tiny loaf pans instead of one big one. I first made it for a friend who has celiac, and now I make it over and over again even though I can eat gluten.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Little Bean!!

Fried polenta. With chunky homemade tomato sauce. And parmesan cheese. Lots of it.

That is all.

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't read your blog for the food (though it's worth it for that alone). I read your blog because in this brutal world, I am overwhelmed by the happiness you and The Chef have found. It inspires me. Bless both of you and the Little Bean!

At 3:31 PM, Blogger firefly said...

Pennsylvania Dutch? Cornmeal?

I have one word for you, Shauna:


I grew up not far from Philadelphia and my dad loved German and Dutch style foods, and oh, how I loved scrapple (and liverwurst!) growing up.

As for polenta, I now use it to make "chicken tenders," thus:

1/2 cup polenta
1/4 cup chickpea flour
~ 1 heaping teaspoon tarragon, crushed
~1/2 tsp coriander
Dash of turmeric for golden color
Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 1.5 lb boneless chicken breasts, 1/2-inch horizontal slices (they cook more evenly if pieces are similar size)

Olive oil

Mix together flours and spices in a small bowl. Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with or dredge in flour mixture until evenly covered.

Heat a steel or cast iron skillet on medium with 1-3 tbsp oil (depending on how much flours absorb). Cook the chicken slices for about 10-15 minutes; turn every 3-4 minutes, moderating the heat after the first few turns, until golden brown.

These are delicious, the chicken is tender, the coriander adds spice, and the flavor of toasted polenta is also present.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just read your post from last week... wonderful news, shauna and chef. i've been wondering when we would hear it from you because you have always struck me as perfect parent material! lucky little bean...


At 8:19 AM, Blogger Calli said...

Okay, it's not exactly cornmeal, but since no one else has mentioned it: TORTILLAS! I made homemade tortillas for the first time after you posted this, and I'm never, ever going to buy premade tortillas. They're thicker (as I am not a machine), imperfect and so tasty I couldn't believe it.


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Brj said...

I can't believe someone adores corn meal mush as much as I! Some of my fondest childhood memories center around camping with family; Grandma teaching me how to prepare the cornmeal the night before, and Granddad's skillet-lessons the morning after.

I recently made polenta, sliced it thin, and fried it up mush-style. I cut every veggie I could find and cooked them up in their own frying pan, then added the two together, smothering all in a ricotta/pesto sauce with lots of salt and pepper. Very good.

That's the greatest thing about the wonder of food. You can stare into your fridge and your mind comes up with new recipes every time.

Long time reader, first time commenting; one year diagnosed with celiac. I can't say how often your blog has helped me eat right in a very tasty and rewarding way. Congrats on Little Bean...I look forward to hearing more about your life blessing.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

since anson mills is form the south and I am from the south, I love a little cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes. you can make these gluten free too! And simply drizzle with olive oil and served with a wonderfully salty cheese like feta or a nice soft goat cheese. Heaven!

you could always serve it with some lima beans on the side as a celebration! Congrats!

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Katelyn said...

I'm all about the oven-baked polenta: 1 cup real corn grits to 2c water and 1c milk (or however much milk I have on hand. I've made it with 2.9 c water and a sprinkling of evaporated milk. I'm poor.), stick it all in a cassarole with some butter and salt/pepper, bake at 350 for 30 min. Stir, bake for 10 min more. Someone posted this on Adam's site at Amateur Gourmet awhile back and now it's my NO-Fail, easy way to do polenta. I eat it with cheese, beans, salsa, chicken... whatever I have on hand, but always, always more pepper. SCRUMPTIOUS.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger babysteps said...

yum to all
I must try choc pudding polenta cake!

cornmeal mush for breakfast with cheese (almost any kind, just grate the hard ones) and some dried pepper for heat, plus some ham or bacon mixed in. I bet olives would work too

dredge fish or cut up veggies in egg or milk, then cornmeal, then pan fry - salt & pepper to taste.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Debbie said...

I made the cornmeal pizza crust and topped it with fire roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, fontina cheese, and grilled salmon. Delish! I was going to add roasted asparagus, but I forgot.
Next week how about jicama? I bought one, but I am not sure I know what to do with it. Tonight it is going into a mango, asparagus, and some kind of nut (have not decided yet which nut-almonds? hazelnuts?)rice salad.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an awesome recipe in How it All Vegan for Polenta Pie. I have altered it to fit whatever is in my cupboard. The simple version of it is: make polenta, spread into a pie plate. Saute all kinds of veggies together, add beans and diced tomatoes. Slice cooled polenta into wedges and serve with a heap of beans and veggies over it. (I find that the polenta is better left over and reheated in the oven so it gets crispy on the edges.)

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the press that "resistant starch" is getting, cornmeal in a celiac's diet is great! I would to see recipes for:

1) Crockpot cornbread pudding.

2) Cornbread with cheddar and apples.

3) Cornmeal cake with chocolate chips and chocolate frosting.

4) Cornmeal dumplings ( This might work in chicken soup to substitute the matza balls.)

5) Savory cornmeal egg pie. I am thinking of something like quiche. Lots of eggs and some cream, mix with cornmeal and yummy cheese, salt, pepper, bacon and sauteed onions, all mixed together and baked at 350 or so. Cut into squares and dig in.

Good luck.


At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the most strong cravings during my first pregnancy was: POLENTA!! for months I had it for lunch, bolognesa and cheesse on top of a steamy, creamy and wonderful bowl of polenta...
body talks...
and later, when I was nursing: sugar... and when I've tryed the breast milk (I was curious... never found other mom that did the same..) I've notice it is very, very sweet!!
body talks...

Thanks Shauna for this and all posts!! I'm filling my cook notebook here!!!

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Whimsy Valentine said...

funny you posted this because a couple weeks ago i had made some cornbread with your fabulous recipe (my hubby's a big fan!). we had some left-over. it was sunday morning, we wanted something decadent, but didn't have much in the house except the cornbread, some eggs, milk and syrup...

so we made cornbread french toast!

i recommend slicing the cornbread in half, so the egg mixture can soak in (i mixed the egg with rice milk, pumpkin pie spice and a little sugar).

serve with butter and syrup... delish!

At 5:46 AM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

Corn dogs! Made in my corn stick pan with a great cornmeal batter crust, they're baked in the oven. You can use healthy dogs (GF of course) or not so healthy (GF of course) but they're delish.

recipe on my blog:
(recipes listed on right side of blog)

Thanks for the tip on the Anson Mill. I usually get mine from another local organic source that grinds only corn. But always, we need other sources.

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So very exciting about your bean. I get a sense from your writing that you think it's a boy... of course, too early to know for certain. S/he will be a lovely and loved baby either way. Best wishes.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Thank you for the link to Anson Mills. I haven't been able to find Southern style grits in a long time. I've made my first order and included some of the beautiful red flecked polenta.


Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Polenta 'fries' baked in the oven, and sprinkled with parm.

And congrats on the Little Bean.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on your little bean! I have been devouring each of your recipes ever since a friend recommended your blog! I have recently made your polenta recipe with some additional fresh herbs, and my friends loved it!

Also - Fried Green Tomatoes! My mom made them when I was little. Delish!

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Mare said...

Every year, at summers end, I go to the local farmer's market and buy freshly roasted, organic poblano peppers. I roll up my sleeves and proceed to make a variety of chili rellenos.

I stuff them with roasted red peppers, feta and cheddar, fresh sweet corn, others with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese combinations. You name it!

My favorite? That would be the squash blossoms and cheese combo.

I dredge them in cornmeal or a gluten-flour/cornmeal combo. I freeze them for winter solace. Oh, so, so good!

I'm new to the site, local, gluten free for 2 years and counting. I love food and pushing the sans-gluten envelope. It's wonderful to read to your passion in every word!

Blessings to you, Chef and little bean (or bun?)

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Spacebelle said...

I just found this site and I love it. I've been using Gray's Grist Mill Jonny Cake mix and I love it. The only thing that goes through the mill or is packed on the grounds is cornmeal, real organic and local to RI.Check it out here:

The mill has been around for something like 300 years. Its a whole experience and I love it. I'm currently a work study student at the Natural Gourmet school in NYC and one of my teachers mentioned it. I hope you enjoy.


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