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Friday, March 9, 2012

Stone Ground (Cheesy) Grits

A while back I was talking with a family member and the subject of grits came up.

"What are grits?," she asked.

I 'bout fell over.  (Well not really, but I enjoyed saying that.)

And then I tried to explain...  "Well really grits are kinda like cornmeal but not really but they are made from corn and you cook 'em and they are yummy, especially if you add things like butter and cheese..."  So yeah, I don't think she was convinced.

Grits are (for me) one of those things that I'm most grateful to North Carolina to, for introducing me.  (Bad sentence but I think you get what I'm saying here.)  Along with barbeque (the shredded pork, vinegar, no-tomato-sauce variety), hush puppies, sausage gravy & biscuits...  I know you probably want me to say okra but I'm not going to. But all the other stuff, yeah.  Sooo good, as they say.

Recently Trader Joe's added stone ground grits to their store offerings and yeah baby, these are gooood!!  Please, find yourself some stone ground grits real soon and make 'em.  You will love them, your family will love them, and yup, they (your family) will love you ever so much more so!

[Side note.  I don't really know much about all of this, health benefits of grits and such, I mean they are basically corn and corn has gotten kind of a bad rap lately... but if you are interested here is a comparison of the health benefits of oatmeal vs. grits.  And here is an article explaining that if you are going to have, please, for the love of all that is good in this world, have the stone-ground kind.)

[Side note II.  I have no photo.  This is because I couldn't stand to run upstairs and get my camera and Not Eat the Grits Right Now.  So I ate the grits.  And did not take a photo.  Twice, actually, if we are going to be honest here, I ate the grits without taking a photo.  I promise, the third time, I will take a photo and add it to this poor little photo-less post.]

[UPDATE:  I added a photo.]

Stone Ground Cheesy Grits
(recipe from the back of Trader Joe's bag of Stone Ground White Grits)

You'll need:
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 c stone ground grits
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is good, but whatever you have will probably work)
  • several grinds black pepper (to taste)
In a large pot, combine the water, salt and butter.  Bring to a boil.

Gradually stir in the grits.  Let the water return to a boil and then lower the heat as low as possible.  (Note, you may almost have to turn the burner off.  Come back and check in a few minutes and see whether you need to turn the pan down or back up just a bit -- you want a very very low simmer.)  Cook the grits, covered, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for about 15 minutes.  Then pour in the milk and stir a bunch more times, letting the mixture simmer gently (you may have to raise the heat just a bit) for about 10 more minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and combined.  Add several grinds of black pepper (to taste) and stir again.

Try not to immediately eat the whole pan of grits since this recipe is supposed to serve 3-4.  In my house it's enough for me and my husband which is 2.

Add an over-easy egg and a piece of fruit (or glass of juice) and you are all set for your day!

What is your favorite way to eat grits?