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Great ingredients make for great meals. Whenever you can, use the highest quality supplies for your recipes. The flavor difference will always come through in your finished dish.

If there is an ingredient that you are not familiar with, check our Ingredient section. There are pages and pages of information about the ingredients used in my recipes.


 

Ingredients

Cornmeal

Cornmeal is simply ground corn. The varieties of cornmeal are not quite that simple, however. It's helpful to know that there are three parts to a kernel of corn:

  • The endosperm - most of the kernel is made up of the endosperm. The endosperm contains most of the starch.
  • The germ - the living part of the corn is called the germ. It is at the center of the kernel and contains most of the fat in corn (which is where corn oil comes from).
  • The paricarp – this is the outer husk of the kernel.

To make cornmeal, kernels are dried and then ground to either a fine, a medium or a coarse texture. Packages are either labeled stone-ground or steel-ground. The stone-ground method, sometimes referred to as water-ground, retains some of the hull and the germ while steel-ground cornmeal has mostly the endosperm. For cooking and baking purposes I prefer to use stone-ground cornmeal.

Polenta is simply cornmeal and Italian polenta recipes can be made with coarse ground cornmeal. Most of the polenta that you will find in specialty stores is a coarser grind than the coarse stone-ground American variety. It often has bits of corn in it and, as a result, it makes really great cornbread. (See also Blue cornmeal.)

1/4 cup grits = 130 calories, 0 fat, 0g sat fat, 0g mono fat, 3g protein, 29g carbohydrates, 30mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol