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Ancient ingredient still used today


One of the oldest foods we enjoy and cook with today was domesticated by Native Americans around 5,000.BC.

These clever cooks ground corn kernels into cornmeal, added water and salt, then baked it.

Gradually, after Columbus arrived and his crew brought the food back to Europe, popularity began to spread.

Corn itself was accepted, but cornmeal, which could last in a world without refrigerators, had great appeal. It took awhile, but eventually cornmeal was used in the cuisine of Asia, and Africa too.

Old What’s His Name is fond of a lot of dishes I prepare with cornmeal. No surprise

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One of the oldest foods we enjoy and cook with today was domesticated by Native Americans around 5,000.BC.

These clever cooks ground corn kernels into cornmeal, added water and salt, then baked it.

Gradually, after Columbus arrived and his crew brought the food back to Europe, popularity began to spread.

Corn itself was accepted, but cornmeal, which could last in a world without refrigerators, had great appeal. It took awhile, but eventually cornmeal was used in the cuisine of Asia, and Africa too.

Old What’s His Name is fond of a lot of dishes I prepare with cornmeal. No surprise — he’s a corny guy. A phase, which originally meant sentimental.

Jude Teal is a former chef, consultant and caterer from Silicon Valley. Using her Cordon Bleu background she creates healthy recipes that still taste delicious. Email her at foodbyjude@me.com if you have questions about recipes.

Parisian Polenta

Servings: 6

Preparation time: 40 minutes

2 cups 2-percent low-fat Milk

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1/4 cup liquid egg substitute or one large egg

1/2 cup part skim milk Mozzarella cheese, shredded*

1 cup evaporated skim milk

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Buttered-flavored pan spray

Heat low fat milk, water and salt; bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cornmeal. Mixture should be thick enough that a wooden spoon will stand up in it. Quickly stir in egg substitute. Spread the mixture into a shallow sprayed baking dish to a thickness of 1 1/2 inches. Let cool until mixture is set. Blend the cheese, evaporated milk and wine together and pour over the top.

If mixture does not sink into polenta, using the side of a fork, press deeply all around the surface until liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and spray well with butter-flavored pan spray. Place in preheated 400-degree oven and bake for 20 minutes (375 convection, 18 minutes). This dish goes well with any kind of beef stew (especially beef Burgundy) but is nice with any sauced dish, such as meatballs in marinara sauce. Can be made ahead and reheated (covered).

*Gorgonzola or blue cheese is a nice variation

Per serving: 260 calories; 4g fat; 39g carbohydrates; 199mg sodium

Onion Quackers

Servings: 65

Preparation time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup no-trans-fat buttery spread, butter or margarine

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/3 cup dried onion flakes

1 teaspoon onion salt (approx) for sprinkling

Butter-flavored pan spray

Chill the buttery spread, butter or margarine in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and butter. Using a fork or pastry blender, mash the ingredients until crumbly. Stir in water and vinegar. Knead until blended and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place the dried onions in a saucer. Preheat oven to 375. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip tops into dried onion flakes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten into 3-inch circles. Spray with butter-flavored spray and sprinkle with onion salt. Bake 12 minutes or until edges brown slightly. Cool on rack. Can be make ahead and stored in an airtight container, or frozen.

Note: For adults, serve with cheeses. Nice with wine.

Per serving: 29 calories; 1g fat; 4g carbohydrates; 54mg sodium

Jude Teal is a former chef, consultant and caterer from Silicon Valley. Using her Cordon Bleu background she creates healthy recipes that still taste delicious. Email her at foodbyjude@me.com if you have questions about recipes.