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About andiesenji

  • Birthday 03/23/1939

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    Southern California

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  1. Fried Polenta question

    Don't forget the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf coast specialty - Shrimp and Grits. I can't eat seafood but I know some folks here on eG who are "enthusiastic" about this dish.
  2. Fried Polenta question

    White "dent" corn was the preferred variety where I grew up. Yellow corn was "horse corn" or feed corn, not for human consumption. Although a lot of farmers brought plenty of yellow corn to the mill to be ground into coarse meal - this was for an "alternative" use which involved some sugar, water and heat...
  3. Fried Polenta question

    I don't think it can be called "hominy" unless it has been treated. I know there was one plant in Tennessee that had photos of the process on their web site a couple of years ago. I know that when the grist mill my grandpa owned was first built, just after the Civil War, they used wood ash to process the corn. When I was little the "ash house" a shed on the back of the building, was still there but only used for storing wood and coal for the "cookers" and the old balance beam scale was still there, to measure the amount of ash brought in by the local people who either got paid in coin or "laid up credit" to be used later when they needed to have corn ground. The mill for grinding hominy was separate from the main mill for grinding regular corn. The millstones had deeper grooves that spiraled in. The regular mill had grooves that went strait in from perimeter to the center hole and were shallower at the outside and slightly deeper at the center. They started using lye about the the turn of the century when "refined" lye became readily available and not as costly as before. The use of wood ash gradually declined, but some people still used it at home. This is the process. We kids were fascinated with how it worked - it was actually 4 stories - the basement, where the drive shafts came in from the outside and hd to be constantly tended, to make sure the gears were lubricated. The main floor where the bagging was done as the finished meal came down into the hoppers. The mill floor and above that the floor we were forbidden to ever go, that contained the equipment that lifted and lowered the stones, the feed hoppers and kept the shafts aligned. There were holes in the floor in that room and all that machinery made it like a maze. And it was hot in the summer. Grandpa would not let any of the men work up there more than 2 hours then they had to trade off with another.
  4. Fried Polenta question

    Grits is a SOUTHERN thing, so yes to Texas but if you want to get into deep grits country, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the next tier up are the heaviest consumers. Western Kentucky, where I was born and raised, was a major grits producer. And it IS different from corn meal. White dried corn (mostly white) was soaked in lye water - a tricky process - then washed and dried in "shaker" pans over a very low fire. These were rectangular "pans" about 6 inches deep and as I recall, about 3' wide and 4' long, hung on chains so they could be raised and lowered and shaken to agitate the hominy kernels. When dry, it was bagged in 50 pound burlap bags that were sold as is if people wanted to cook whole hominy, or some people would buy a bag and have it ground at the grist mill into grits, fine, medium or coarse, and then it was bagged in cloth bags. That was the stuff that was cooked with water and salt to make the breakfast staple. So now you know that when people tell you that cornmeal and polenta and grits are all the same, you can tell them that is not so.
  5. Fried Polenta question

    Here's one recipe for stuffed hush puppies. You can put the batter around anything that isn't too wet. Mozz should work just fine. When I was little, cook made hushpuppies stuffed with chunks of apple or peach, even dried fruits in the winter. I have made them with "poppers" jalapeno peppers stuffed with Mexican cheese inside the hushpuppy coating.
  6. Fried Polenta question

    Because so many men from farms were in our military, POWs were sent to work on farms to help food production. My grandfather had a very large farm and employed a lot of workers. Three of my uncles who worked the farm and at least 10 of the other men who worked for my grandpa on the farm or at the sawmill or gristmill were in the service so when the Army offered the POWs, my grandpa, who had contracts with the Army to supply meat, milk and other foods - as well as lumber, accepted. They were treated quite well - which was not always the case. They stayed until the end of the war. One was a pretty good mechanic and was able to fix an old tractor my uncle had been tinkering with for years - when he came home on furlough, I think he spent most of the time in the equipment barn with Lolo, fixing several things that had been waiting for him to come home.
  7. Fried Polenta question

    Ever heard of hush puppies?
  8. Fried Polenta question

    Pretty much the same as fried grits. A breakfast staple where I grew up. The grits were cooked the afternoon before, packed into loaf pans and chilled overnight, turned out, sliced and fried on a griddle, usually in bacon drippings. During the last couple of years of WWII there were 2 and then 3 Italian POWs who worked on my grandpa's farm. One was a man who was a cook and tried to tell grandpa's cook about polenta. She was not impressed. Grits is grits - HOMINY GRITS - and none of that foreign po-lent-er. He did not speak a lot of English but was usually able to make himself understood and I think he understood a lot more. He kept asking, what is "homerny" and finally my grandpa, who spoke Italian, explained how it was made and later took him to the grist mill and showed him where the corn was soaked then dried before being ground. He seemed to get a big kick out of it and made a little song about hominy "greets," which he delighted in singing to cook. I think he was sweet on her - he was fascinated with black people and liked to listen to their songs. He even went to church with them.
  9. I oil my gloves for tasks like that. I have one of the motion-activated (with food safe inner container) made to dispense liquid soaps. It works fine with a neutral vegetable oil. A couple of drops solves the sticky problem - I make "sugarplums" with various dried fruits, including dates and figs which are extremely sticky. And then there are the boiled honey-coated candies that are both hot and sticky.
  10. Microwave Tips

    I do the same with butternut squash but I stab them with my larding needle, inserting it next to the stem and up through the cavity. I set the MW for 8 min on 40% power and then let it rest as you do. I use that larding needle for many tasks for which it was never intended.
  11. I have a storage building 15' x 40' with more of the shelving units plus a bunch of used bookcases I bought when I first moved up here in '88 and some shelving units I bought when the old Penney's store closed in '92. There is also a lot of stuff stored in the biggest bedroom that used to be my studio when I was still doing art work, it's 12 x 16. I had planned to build a studio when I moved here but this room was adequate for my long bench and my other equipment so I never got around to that.
  12. Microwave Tips

    I roll them in plastic wrap and nuke for 6 seconds on half power. They come out perfect.
  13. I wear gloves, change them often. I have found that invariably, as soon as I get into really sticky dough - or other food item, THE PHONE RINGS OR SOMEONE BANGS ON THE DOOR. It is much easier to strip off a glove to pick up the phone than try to get one hand clean enough and then have to wash after handling the phone or doorknob, etc. Gloves are relatively cheap and save me a lot of time and frustration. 60 years ago I learned NEVER put hot water on yeast dough, it turns it into glue.
  14. Microwave Tips

    Mine beeps 5 times then goes silent. I candy small amounts of citrus peel in the MW. I have posted the process on eG in the past, not sure where it is now, but it is on my blog. How to peel an orange and etc... Once you get the hang of this process, you will be surprised how quickly you can bare that orange (or other citrus). When I make large batches I can do a couple of dozen oranges in twenty minutes or less. The instructions for the candying follow the photos. I didn't add those photos to the post, although I have them somewhere.
  15. No. No farm. My house is mostly a long rectangle with the kitchen/pantry at one end/corner the master suite at the opposite end/corner with a laundry room, three bedrooms and a large bath between. It's only 1890 sq ft.