Grits are good food

I love grits.  I’d never had them until we moved to the south and even then I resisted trying them for several years.  I am very sad about this – grits are good.  Actually, grits are grrrrreat!

When we moved to New England I went with Bug’s second grade class to the Jenney Grist Mill in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I had always vaguely known that grits is corn, but I didn’t know much else.  We were on the tour of the grist mill and the guide was telling us about the process.  Basically, they start pouring the corn in and the rotating stone is carefully lowered.  It has to be lowered slowly because the dust from the process is highly flammable.  If the stone is lowered too quickly and touches the pestle it can create a spark which will cause an explosion.  The first product is rough pieces of corn, which is cattle feed.  The second product is finer, but still rough, this is GRITS.  The final product is the flour.  Who knew?

Tonight we’re going to friends for a dinner party.  The husband is a great fisher and we’re going to have massive amounts of fabulous, fresh striped bass.  I’m bringing a grits souffle because people up here have never had grits and because I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like this souffle (grits, cheese, butter, what’s not to like).

Preheat the oven to 375. First, make grits per package instructions. While the grits are cooking separate 4 eggs and start whipping the whites until they are like clouds.  After grits are ready stir in 1/2 a stick of butter and about a cup of cheese (I like a mixture of sharp cheddar and parmesan – but any cheese would be great) and some freshly ground pepper. Add about 1/2 of the fluffy egg whites and stir well to really incorporate it.  Then fold in the rest of the eggs and put into an oven safe container.  Sprinkle with paprika on the top and put in the oven.   Bake about 30-45 minutes checking to see if the top looks done and slightly brown.  Serve immediately.

Learning a little bit all the time.

This past weekend, we were invited to a dinner party featuring the food of Peru and I was responsible for dessert.  I searched, but there do not seem to be a bunch of traditional desserts from Peru, but I decided to attempt Leche Asada (turned milk – it’s like a flan) Recipe.  The top of the dessert is caramelized sugar.  I love caramel, so I thought this was a good sign.

The first thing I learned about caramelizing is that I didn’t know how to do it.  I had to throw out the first crystalized sugar concoction.  Luckily, CookingLight.com has a great section that teaches you all sorts of things about cooking and saved the day! Class Video.  Basically, you boil the sugar in water until the water evaporates and the mixture is the color you want – trick – do NOT stir after the sugar has evaporated…. Who knew?

The second thing I learned is that when they say don’t touch caramelized sugar because it is hot, really, DON’T touch it.  It’s hot and it stays hot for quite a while.  I have a nice blister on my finger to remind me of this lesson.

The third, and final, lesson was really a reminder.  The Aloe plant is truly amazing with taking away the pain of a burn.  I now have a great one in my kitchen – I’m sure it will come in handy since I rarely learn a recipe without also gaining a scar.

oh… I think the dessert came out correctly – however, I wasn’t a fan…