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I’m taking part in the Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking (WWC) that was started by Sanjeeta at Lite Bite’s. Every month a fellow blogger picks a wholegrain ingredient and sets it to a specific meal. As I am passionate about wholegrains I thought this was a perfect opportunity to take part in something I stand behind. For the most part the recipes have to be healthy and vegetarian. Nothing fried!

This month Anu from Anu’s Healthy Kitchen is hosting WWC, cornmeal for breakfast. I love challenges that force me to think outside the box. I’ve tried to be consistent with submitting recipes, but I have not been terribly successful. Last month it was oats in baking. My Wild Plum Crisp recipe was about 4 days late. Oops. Life is about trial and error. If at first you don’t succeed, examine the situation, correct and try again. So, in order to be more consistent, I’ve decided to post my WWC recipe right at the beginning of the month so I don’t forget.

I set my alarm clock, I peeled my face off the sheets, put on a ball cap and some shoes and went out picking berries. Luckily for me black berry bushes can be found absolutely everywhere around here. They can be found in all our parks, parking lots, growing next to the Walmart and anywhere else this invasive species can get in a root. Needless to say I did not have to go far.

Sadly most of these berries won’t get picked. Most will over ripen and fall to the ground. They are simply EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t help that the thorns on these bushes are the equivalent of a rose bush and a raspberry bush combined and multiplied by 2 (that’s some sweet math). Be prepared to donate a set of clothes since it is most likely that it will get ripped and stained. It only takes one morning to really appreciate the price I pay for these beauties in the store.

Polenta is so easy to make, requires very little for ingredients and lasts in the fridge for several days. I recommend making this the night before (Sunday night let’s say) and then enjoying it over the course of the week with your favorite toppings. I don’t know if I’ve gone and done something blasphemous by turning this classic Italian dish into something reminiscent of French toast, but, Meh, I’m French, what can I say?

Now a word on polenta. Some recipes show a cooking time of 10 minutes, some 40. Who’s right? When in doubt go with the Italians (35-45 minutes). The mixture should be very thick and just starting to pull away from the sides. I find that 30 minutes works pretty well. The consistency should be that of mashed potatoes.  The cream is not mandatory and can definitely be substituted out for water. Polenta is also gluten free. When made the traditional savory way, it pairs beautifully with stewed vegetables that are saucy and bold in flavor. In this case we’ll be sopping up sweet and tangy blackberry syrup.

Sweet Polenta Cakes

  • 1/2 cup half and half, whole milk or cream
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (the coarser the better)
  • 1/3 cup of palm sugar (also known as coconut sugar) or 1/4 cup honey or alternate unprocessed sweetener
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

In a medium sized pot, bring the cream and water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in the cornmeal in a steady stream whisking continuously for the first 3-4 minutes to prevent any lumps from forming. Add the vanilla and the coconut oil. Stir the cornmeal mixture every few minutes to prevent the bottom from scorching and sticking, scrapping down the sides from time to time. Cook for 30 minutes.  Pour into a greased bread pan or pan of your choice. I greased the pan with coconut oil, but butter works too. Allow to cool for an hour. Slice it like you would a loaf of bread. Pan fry the slices  in a little butter, until the are crispy on the outside. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Breakfast Polenta in a pool of blackberry syrup and topped with blackberry yogurt

Blackberry Syrup

  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water

In a small pot, combine all the ingredients. Over medium heat, bring the berries to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to the desired consistency. Strain out the berries, reserving the liquid. If you find that the liquid is thinner than you had anticipated, return the syrup to the pot and reduce by simmering for another 5 to 10 minutes.

No need to waste! The berries can be stirred into plain yogurt for a delicious treat (as seen above mixed with 2 cups of plain yogurt and 2 Tbsp of honey) or folded into a cup of butter to make blackberry butter.

 

I’m sharing this with  Meatless Mondays, Monday Mangia, Midnight Maniac, My Meatless Mondays, Mouth Watering Mondays, Mingle Monday, Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, A Little Birdie Told Me and Fat Tuesdays.



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