I grew up in the Northeast. This wasn't something I had come across before. It was kind of weird.
Most of the other kids that had come to camp with me were a bit repulsed by this, but I soon figured out that if you gave it a health dose of maple syrup and some butter that it wasn't half bad.
It kind of grew on you.
Maybe it was just a case of hunger makes almost anything taste good.
The world may never know.
I should probably 'fess up that I was already a fan of cream of wheat and oatmeal. Yes, at the age of 12, I already had the taste buds of someone several score older.
Frankly, I don't know why someone would prefer a bowl of boxed cereal over a bowl of something warm and comforting.
From there, my mind drifted to those bowls of syrup laden grits; which naturally led to thoughts of dessert.
I am sure you see the connection there, right? (Don't feel bad - I am not sure how my mind jumped from one to the other either.)
Things went a little crazy from there.
Buttery, creamy polenta laced with maple syrup. Cut into fun animal shapes - just because.
Corn - yes corn - ice cream with generous swirls of raspberry sauce.
Fresh, local peaches poached in simple syrup and vanilla bean.
Topped with a healthy dose of almonds and fresh raspberries.
It probably shouldn't have worked, but it did.
P.S. The corn ice cream upstaged all the other elements and totally stole the show. Such a stage hog.
2 cups corn grits (coarse - may also be called polenta)
6 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 maple syrup
4 Tbs butter
In a large pot, bring six cups of water to a boil. Gradually stir in corn grits and salt. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Using a long spoon, stir constantly (or at least fairly often) - cook until mixture becomes fairly thick and grits go from crunchy to creamy. Mixture will "bubble and spurt", so make sure your stirring utensil has a long handle.
Toward the end of the cooking time, stir in butter - 1 Tbs at a time until absorbed. Stir in maple syrup. Reduce heat to low and cook until absorbed and mixture is thickened. Taste for salt and add if needed.
Line a half sheet pan with buttered parchment paper or a Silpat. Pour cooked polenta onto prepared pan and spread into an even layer (does not have to reach end of the pan). Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool to room temperature.
Cooled polenta may be cut into pieces and served at room temperature or wrapped tightly and refrigerated for ~2 days. Reheat in a buttered non-stick skillet over medium-low heat or place on the grill.
This post participates in The Daring Cooks. Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!