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Archive for the ‘grits’ Category

Sunday night we had a big salad with dinner, but we also had an appetizer of grits crackers followed by buffalo shrimp and turnips with greens and red pepper relish.  Dessert was blueberry cheesecake.  Only one of these recipes will be showing up here soon:  the grits crackers.  You see, we ate everything tonight, and we thought it was pretty tasty, but it was not company worthy.  I’m not sure the grits crackers are either, but they’re getting there.  I thought you might appreciate knowing how recipes are born on the homestead.  Today I’ll address the less-than-company-worth dishes.  I’ll talk about the grits crackers later this week.

I like buffalo chicken wings but not the fat, so I set out to make buffalo shrimp.  I marinaded the shrimp in tabasco and lime juice and dredged it in a mix of corn starch and whole wheat flour before I fried them in a wok.  The texture was great, if I do say so myself, but we didn’t think the shrimp had enough heat–that is, enough spice to call them “buffalo.”  So, knowing what I did this time, I’ll add to the heat next time.

The turnips were a white Japanese turnip out of our cold frames, and the only thing really wrong was that I got them too soft.  The greens were tasty, but we really did not have enough.  They cook down so much that you really need “a mess” of them to start.  By the way, I would recommend the pepper relish with the turnips again.  But, alas, these were not blog worthy.

The cheesecake was also tasty, but I was planning a small version (like my mini-pound cakes), and my proportions were wrong.  I’ll happily go back to the drawing board.  We’ll keep eating the results until I get it right–I promise!

Anyway, eventually I’ll rework the recipes until I’ve got the best flavor and texture, and then I’ll share my recipes with you while we sit on the porch and sip tea.

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Grits can be really good comfort food.  Grits casserole elevates them to big-family breakfast.  Start with either the crock pot/slow cooker or stove top method of grits.  Season your grits to taste with salt and pepper.  Then you can add eggs and sausage or bacon and cheese and bake and Mmmmmmmm.  First, add a bit more milk to your basic grits recipe.  For each egg you’re planning on adding, add 1/8-1/4 cup of milk.  For each serving of grits you’ve made, you can add an egg, a piece of two of bacon, cooked and crumbled, or the equivalent of a sausage patty, cooked and crumbled.  (We use turkey sausage and turkey bacon.) Add about about two tablespoons (or more) grated cheese like sharp cheddar, gruyere, or monterey jack per serving.  Mix everything together, and put it in individual baking dishes or one big casserole.  Bake at 375-400 degrees for about ten minutes, until the casserole slightly browns on top.  Serve and enjoy!

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Earlier I posted a recipe for grits (or polenta) in a crock pot.  If you don’t have a couple of hours and only want to make a few servings, though, here’s another method.  Let’s start with the basics.  This method works best for finely ground grits, also known as polenta. At the bottom of the post, I’ll provide a variation to use coarsely ground grits.  Making grits on the stove top has two possible pit falls:  (1) boiling over and (2) sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Both of these problems can be eliminated with this cooking method.

The basics:

For old-fashioned finely ground grits, you need about 3 times as much water as you have grits.  Count on using about a third of a cup of dry grits and a cup of water for each two servings of grits (or polenta) you want to make.

Begin by boiling the water you need in a good-sized pot, about two or three times the size you think you need.  Now you can go do something else, like make a pot of coffee.  As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat (Yes, I said turn off the heat.  If you use an electric stove top of any kind, take the pot off the heat, at least until the heat is reduced by half, or else you’ll get boil over.) and pour in the grits.  Stir well to combine.  Put a lid on it.  Walk away.  Go take a shower.  Get dressed.  If you’re walking by, feel free to stir, but put the lid back on.  If you want to add a splash of milk, feel free.  Just put the lid back on.

When you’re ready for breakfast, just add a little more water or milk, reheat the grits quickly, and eat and enjoy!  A little salt will bring out the sweetness of the grits.  They are good savory–with salt and pepper–or you can add a bit of maple sugar or jam.  If you want more porridgy grits, you can add milk.  Here are thick grits with jam–and, yes, half an omelet.  I know:  it’s not a terribly appetizing picture.  You could also serve the grits in a bowl if you want to add more milk.

Variations:

Do you only have coarsely ground grits?  Then you may need to start with the 3-1 ratio I mentioned but then about half way through the soaking time, turn on the heat again and add a bit more water or milk–up to another 1/3 cup for each two servings.

Do you want creamier grits?  You’ll need to stand by them and stir.

For my crock pot method, see here:  https://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/old-fashioned-grits-or-polenta-the-easy-way/ .

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I’m betting that by now most people know that whole grains are better for you than refined flours, that old-fashioned oats, either steel-cut or rolled, are much better for you than quick-cook oats.  When it comes to oats, even old-fashioned rolled oats are easy and quick to cook, so they are a natural choice.  What about grits?  Do you remember that great scene from My Cousin Vinny, when everyone swore that no self-respecting Southern cook would use instant grits?  I’m afraid that’s just not true anymore.  Old-fashioned grits can be a hassle.  You have to stand and stir the grits for half an hour, and even then you may get some sticking.  Here’s a quick solution for winter mornings:  use your slow cooker!  If you get up ahead of folks in your household, just put in your grits and water and/or milk, stir, and set your slow cooker on high for about an hour and a half.

For coarse grits, use the following ratio for two servings:

1/3 cup grits, dry

1 1/3 cups water/milk

salt to taste

This means that for four generous servings you should use 2/3 cup dry grits and about 2 2/3 cups water/milk.

Six servings takes you to 1 cup grits and 4 cups water/milk.

You’ll get a delightful creamy texture.  If you don’t get up ahead of the big eaters in your family, put the grits and water in the slow cooker the night before, but don’t turn it on.  Leave them to soak overnight.  In the morning, turn the cooker on high first thing, and you should have great grits by the time the rest of breakfast is ready.

Of course, this same recipe works for polenta!

Grits can vary quite a bit in terms of grit size and cooking times.  This procedure works for coarse grits and polenta.  Finely ground products will take less time.   For really creamy grits, stir in a little more milk in the last half hour of cooking.

You may also want to see this quicker, slightly less creamy but still delicious easy method:

https://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/old-fashioned-grits-on-the-stove-top-more-comfort-food/

Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2009

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