Wednesday, March 26, 2008

polentina with bananas & maple syrup

Polentina with Bananas and Maple Syrup 023

Ever since I picked up Anna Karenina again (almost done!), I've been thinking a lot about books -- the books I read as a child, bestsellers I want to read, and classic novels I haven't made it to yet. It seems other people are on a book kick now as well. The Kitchn has a series of posts called The Hungry Reader, which focus on food and culinary topics in literature, and I recently received an invitation to a baby shower where the mom-to-be wants to start her baby off with a personalized library. To that end, she is asking everyone to bring a children's book for the new baby in lieu of cards. I think this is a great idea. What do people do with all the cards they receive anyway?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite breakfasts was bananas with milk and sugar. This is just like that...but with corn and syrup, too. (OK, maybe not so much like that.) I seized upon this recipe as a way to use up some of the polenta I (incorrectly) purchased for a cake I made back in January. The instructions are fairly simple and straightforward, so I don't have any particular comments to make. Just be sure to allow time in your morning routine for the milk mixture to come to a boil (it takes a while). I'm sure I'll be making this again since I still have half a bag of polenta left. Not a bad thing considering that it means I'll have more warm, filling, perfect-way-to-start-my-day breakfasts to look forward to.

Polentina with Bananas & Maple Syrup
Adapted from a recipe from Williams Sonoma: Breakfast
Serves 4

1 2/3 cups water
1 2/3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
Pure maple syrup for serving

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, milk, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and, when the liquid is barely simmering, drizzle in the polenta in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly in the same direction until all the grains have been absorbed and the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

Switch to a wooden spoon and stir thoroughly every 1-2 minutes until the polentina is loose and creamy, about 15 minutes. (For thicker polentina, cook for up to 30 minutes.) Add a little more water or milk if the polentina gets too stiff; this should be a very liquid mixture.

Ladle the polentina into individual bowls. Distribute the bananas over the top and drizzle with warm maple syrup.


  1. sounds delish :)
    and i love love love anna karenina. and war&peace. (ok, tolstoy in general stole my heart a long time ago)
    and subbing books for cards? brilliant. will add it to my list of "things to remember when i have a babe 3 million years from now"

  2. I'm not sure if I'm glad or disheartened to know that I'm not the only one on the 3 million year track! Ah, well -- c'est la vie.

  3. Great idea to use polenta as a breakfast cereal. Too many people are stuck in an oatmeal rut and there are so many other grains to utilize for breakfast.

  4. I still have a bunch of polenta to use up. Any suggestions?