A Simple Breakfast::Creamy Polenta with Maple Syrup

"Why is it called creamy polenta, mama?", asks my 5-year old daughter. "Is it because it has cream in it?"

Cinnamon was most likely wondering why this morning's polenta was more creamy than usual. Most of the time I add more cornmeal to the milk and a splash of cream and/or butter at the end of the cooking time. This morning it was simply whole milk, a pinch of sea salt, and coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. A simple and delicious alternative for a nutritious breakfast that my kids love and often request. Of course they don't let me forget the pure maple syrup that always accompanies this cereal.

The recipe, although not as simple as toast with almond butter and honey, is not as complicated and time consuming as making pancakes - which is almost always a weekend ordeal, unless breakfast becomes dinner. It's also not one requiring you to stand by the stove, whisk in hand, during every second of the 25-30 minute cooking time. An occasional stir with the whisk is all that's required. In fact, you can prepare the kids' school lunches in the meantime and still have time to set the table and make coffee.

 

Creamy polenta with maple syrup

makes enough to feed 4 for breakfast although my children always seem to want more – increase as desired, using 40 grams of cornmeal per 250 ml of milk

 

INGREDIENTS

1 liter whole milk

¼ teaspoon sea salt

160 grams coarse yellow cornmeal

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a 3 or 4-quart pot set over medium heat, warm the milk with salt until almost boiling. Keep an eye on this step so you avoid the milk spilling over.

As the milk starts to bubble, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce heat to a medium low and, leaving the pot uncovered, whisk every 5 minutes or so for a total of 25-30 minutes. Although constant whisking is not necessary, do not wander too far from the stove. I’m usually making Turkish coffee at this time which requires my being by the stove.

Spoon polenta into bowls and top with pure maple syrup.

 

 

SUNDAY'S FIVE GRAIN CEREAL

 

The sun shines brightly on this beautiful Sunday morning. The children are up and already running around asking when we'll be eating. "Soon", I tell them, as I measure out the ingredients into the colorful bowls purchased the day before and take them all outside to photograph for yet another attempt at writing this post. This hot cereal is a favorite in our house - the dried blueberries being the most requested addition to the cereal by all three children. Today was the first time I had used my newly purchased 4-quart soup pot and I wondered why it took me so long to add it to my collection as it is, in my opinion, the most useful sized pot in the kitchen.

Earlier in the week (on Tuesday), I had made changes to my original recipe (posted below) - adding lemon zest and pure vanilla extract, and using chopped walnuts instead of the sliced almonds. After tasting the cereal, I decided that the lemon zest and vanilla posed an overpowering flavour so I left them out. Also, after seeing Sagey meticulously pick out the chopped walnuts, I chose to use the sliced almonds - which appealed to him better. However, I do like the taste of walnuts with this hot cereal and will remember to chop them finer next time.

Sometimes it's best not to combine too many flavours. 

Sunday's Five Grain Cereal

made enough to feed our family of five

 

INGREDIENTS

40 ounces (1 liter + 240 ml) whole milk

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

200 grams 5-grain hot cereal (I used this one from Bob's Red Mill)

50 grams wild dried blueberries

25 grams sliced almonds

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons honey

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Add milk and salt to 4-quart pot and heat over medium heat. As the milk starts to boil, stir in the 5-grain cereal and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until mixture has come together into a creamy consistency (as it cools, it will start to harden).

Remove from heat. Stir in the blueberries, almonds, heavy cream, and honey.

Serve immediately.