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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Polenta - the almost no stir method

I was introduced to polenta (and to most of my cooking skills) by the mom of my dear friend Peter Cauterucci.  Mary Cauterucci could cook.  Had she been born at a different time, she would have been the CEO of a large, very successful company.  Instead she had 11 children and cooked each day like a top chef.  No spaghetti and meatballs in the Cauterucci house, it was high-end northern Italian fare for her family.

She taught me how to make polenta, and I loved it.  But, I hate standing over a stove and stirring.  So, I found a better way (not more delicious, just easier).  I'm not saying it is my invention, but I received tips from friends over the years and I don't know who to thank, so I'm just putting this out here.
        Course Stone  Ground for Polenta                             Fine Ground for Corn Bread & Muffins
Tip #1 - Use course Stone Ground corn meal.  Fine grind is for corn bread, not polenta.  Medium grind is OK, but course grind really gives you the results you want for polenta.  There's instant polenta too, but although it's not terrible, there's nothing like the real thing.

Tip #2 - Use just a pinch of baking powder.  How do you measure a pinch?  My mom bought me measuring spoons that measure a pinch, a smidgen etc, but you don't need that.  Simply pinch some  baking  powder between your fingers and there it is! A pinch!.  I started doing this a few years ago and it really makes the polenta smooth and just the right consistency without all the stirring. I wish I could credit whoever it was who gave me this tip, but I have no idea who it was, sorry.

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