Monday, April 19, 2010

Okra and grits

You have all been patient reading about my ramblings and rants, and today, I’m finally giving you a couple of recipes. You might consider these to be Southern dishes, but even if you live in the Midwest, the Northeast or out West, there is nothing wrong with good cheese grits and fried okra.

One of my favorite side dishes is fried okra, but I’ve never considered it something I would make in my own kitchen. It’s one of those messy, time consuming things, plus frying things on my own makes me nervous. But when you don’t live in the Deep South, good fried okra is not available at many restaurants. But I’ve discovered an easy version from Southern Living (via Kelly’s Korner). Click the link to get the full recipe, but here’s my modified, cooking for one version:

  • I keep frozen cut okra in my freezer to use, but I’m sure fresh okra would be better. I throw in however much okra I actually want to eat in hot olive oil on the stove. I let the okra cook for at least five minutes, and then shake on breadcrumbs (whatever I find at the store). I coat the okra pretty well to make sure there’s some crunch to it and add on parmesan cheese. I let that cook for a few more minutes, flipping around the okra, and then serve it to myself hot with a side of ketchup.
I modified this last week to give me a full meal in one pan by adding shrimp. I was not thinking about the order I was cooking in, but I wish I had put in the okra for a few minutes before adding the shrimp. Shrimp cooks much faster than okra, and I like the okra to have some crunch. You can probably come up with some other vegetables to add to the mix as well.

Sunday nights tend to be breakfast for dinner for me. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but I don’t spend much time on breakfast these days, so making it for dinner means I actually have time to make some of my favorite foods. Some weeks it is pancakes or French toast, but this week it was eggs, grits and biscuits.

Now if you were not raised in the South and have never tried grits, you need to try this recipe. Even if you have tried grits and hated them, try them prepared this way. As someone who loves grits, I am always disappointed at Waffle House, iHop or Cracker Barrel when I order grits, so don’t base your hatred of grits on a bad restaurant experience.

This is not so much a meal for one dish, but it is a favorite at potlucks and once you confirm you like grits this way, you can modify it to make one serving.

  • 1/2 cup of quick grits
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 a block of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook grits in water with salt in saucepan until thick. Cut butter and cheese into small pieces and add to the grits when they are still hot. Add in garlic. Stir until butter and cheese melts. Beat eggs in measuring cup and add milk to make 1 cup, add to grits. Pour mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake 35-40 minutes.

When making grits for myself, I cook whatever one serving is of quick grits and add a smaller portion of cheese, butter and garlic. Stir until it is smooth and serve hot, skipping the baking process. These are much creamier than the casserole version but still achieve the cheese and garlic flavor in a singe serving.


1 comment:

  1. How does such a picky eater as yourself like okra? I don't think most people like it. Funny. :) I'm going to try the grits soon.