Cheesy? Yes. Corny? Absolutely. But never tacky!
Polenta! That creamy dish of boiled cornmeal, nearly identical to grits, can be served either hot and soft, like a savory cornmeal pudding, or cooled and firm, like a flourless cornbread. Polenta makes a great breakfast, appetizer, or side but seems to be particularly appealing as a late night snack after a long day of making TV magic.
2 cups course ground corn meal (I prefer Bob’s Redmill)
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar, colbeyjack, parmesan, or your choice of firm cheese
½ cup frozen corn kernels
¼ cup diced green chiles
Combine the vegetable stock, water, and milk in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high (be certain to keep an eye on it or the boiling milk will cause it to overflow).
Turn the stove top down to medium-high and slowly add the cornmeal, while stirring/whisking constantly in order to prevent any lumps from forming.
Continue stirring for another 5 minutes until the polenta reaches a thickened state (NOTE: if the polenta becomes thick within a minute or so, you will need to add a ¼ cup of liquid, otherwise it will come out dry and mealy). Add the salt, pepper, cheese, corn kernels, and diced chiles and stir for another couple of minutes until the mixture is evenly distributed and the cheese is melted.
Even the polenta out in the pot, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, giving it a little stir every other minute.
Now, you can spoon it up and have a nice hot bowl of steamy polenta, and then transfer all of the contents to a greased baking pan, cover, and place in the refrigerator (on a cooling rack) for an hour. When the polenta has cooled you can cut it up into squares, place them in a ziplock bag, and leave them in the refrigerator as a post-9 o’clock news snack for your roommate.