Wherein a northerner shares two southern secrets: the quickest, easiest and tastiest way to cook grits. I'm willing to bet: you already own this "secret tool" and your fridge is home to the "secret ingredient". Just check, am I right? Try these secrets on your own favorite grits recipe. Or try my latest, a southwest-style pot of grits with a touch of green chili and a touch of cheese, low in calories but full of flavor.
“Try the shrimp ‘n’ grits every chance you get,” recommended our friend Mary when she heard we were heading for the Carolina coast. “Every restaurant makes them different.”
Four big plates of creamy grits with fresh shrimp later – over about 28 hours! – we were smitten. Our favorite was a creamy plate of breakfast shrimp and grits, all about the shrimp cloaked with a silky sauce. Determined to create our very own “house recipe” for shrimp ‘n grits, we picked up the Shrimp and Grits Cookbook by Nathalie Dupree in Charleston.
Her book offered two grits tips that proved life-changing, grits-wise anyhow.
Funny though, the tips were presented as casual one-liners, almost throw-aways, the way you might mention something that every southerner already knows.
But let it be known, there are two secrets for the quickest, easiest and tastiest way to cook grits. No throw-aways here! Take note!HALF MILK - HALF WATER Grits turn out extra-creamy when they’re cooked in half water and half milk. Worth knowing! Even a small portion of milk makes a big difference. Evaporated milk works great too.
MICROWAVE GRITS Grits cook really well in the microwave, even stone-ground grits. This is totally worth knowing, especially if like me, you have experience, twice, of stirring-stirring-stirring big pots of grits for more than an hour.
ABOUT STONE-GROUND GRITS Quick-cooking grits are easy to find, my grocery store even carries a house brand that competes with Quaker. But I do much prefer the stone-ground grits for texture, flavor and “real food” values. I have great luck with Bob’s Red Mill grits found in many grocery stores and also buy stone-ground grits from War Eagle Mill in Arkansas, very good stuff! Do store stone-ground grits in the fridge or even the freezer, otherwise, they’ll go rancid quite quickly.
FUNNY STORY On our drive to Florida's Emerald Coast in July, we timed our trip to stop for a week's worth of fresh fruits and vegetables at a farmers market east of Montgomery, Alabama. We stocked up, for sure! But our most memorable purchase was stone-ground grits from Oakview Farms. Feeling all knowledgable, I asked if the grits were this year's crop. "This year's crop?" the vendor scoffed back. "They are yesterday's crop." Mighty fine grits, those from Oakview Farms.
MICROWAVE GREEN CHILI CHEESE GRITS
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup (160g) stone-ground grits (see TIPS)
- 1-1/2 cups (360g) low-fat milk
- 1-1/2 cups (360g) water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (50g) grated cheese (see TIPS)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 4 ounces canned mild green chilies (see TIPS)
- Green onion, for garnish, optional
Combine grits, milk, water and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. (I use a 4-cup Pyrex liquid measure but something bigger would work better to prevent the grits from spilling over.)
Microwave for 10 – 15 minutes, giving the grits a good stir every 2 minutes, especially near the end. Watch carefully, you don’t want these to spill over!
Stir in cheese until it melts, then add spices and chilies.
Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with green onion and serve immediately.
MAKE-AHEAD Better yet, cook the grits now and serve them later! This is a favorite make-ahead side dish, grits rewarm beautifully in the microwave and keep for several days. You really can’t tell that the grits have been made ahead of time! You may want to add extra liquid to loosen the grits when reheating.
GREEN CHILI CHEESE GRITS in the SLOW COOKER Last year, I started cooking grits in the slow cooker. It takes two to three hours and the grits must be stirred to minimize sticking but still, the grits turn out just beautifully. I have converted (and tested, you know I test-test-test all my recipes, right?!) this microwave recipe for the slow cooker, see, Slow Cooker Green Chili Cheese Grits, an adaptation of this recipe and my recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin or Butternut Squash) Grits.
This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012
Cheese Gnocchi Pie Cheery Cherry Banana Bread Spiced Yogurt Chicken Apple Cider Indian Pudding Baked Apples Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter Hamburger Soup I Heart Food Blogs Moroccan Onions Homemade Kabocha Squash "Pumpkin" Purée Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts (<< look at all the apple recipes! pumpkin too!)
This Week, Elsewhere
More Perfect-for-Fall Recipes for Grits & Cornmeal
~ Sweet Cornbread ~
~ Supper Casserole with Pumpkin & Green Chile Cornbread Topping ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
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