What a week, huh? I’m telling ya, people are cray-cray. One minute I think, “People are good. They are truly good and giving and caring.” The next minute I read in the NYTimes of an ex-marine who has stockpiled over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and is complaining because he has nowhere to sell it. Ugh. What a skeeze and during troubled times, too.. I’ve finally realized I have to stay off social media. Just walk away and spend time on things that enlighten me… that make me a a better person. I have a stack of books that are screaming to be read. And it’s the perfect time of year to plant and landscape. Quite honestly, if I feel the pull of facebook or instagram I simply need to remind myself this blog is not going to write itself. Nor will it cook, bake or photograph itself. My husband, Jimmy, has been wonderful. I tend to fret and worry. I become anxious and retreat into my thoughts. With all the constant, eerie breaking news swirling around us my husband keeps me grounded. We laugh at our dog, Pericles, begging for cookies. We enjoy old reruns of Julia Child’s PBS programs. “It’s always exciting to eat it hot out of the oven!” We chat over cups of hot tea, discuss our workouts and exchange details of humorous daily encounters when we’ve been out and about. It’s kind of like life in south Florida right before a hurricane. But in this case more ominous because we truly don’t know what’s coming. So I’ll continue counting my blessings. I’ll not stop checking on our elderly neighbor, Roger. I knocked on his door this morning to see if he needed anything… to make sure he was okay. He hasn’t driven in years but walks to the grocery store. Takes the bus to any doctor appointments. And has a total of maybe… three teeth in his head? But Roger’s smart as a whip. Did his undergraduate work at Rice and got his master’s degree I don’t remember where. He’s a voracious reader and cute as a button. He’s by himself so I’ll keep an eye on him. And THAT, my friends, is how I’ll keep my eyes off of myself.
Comfort food comes in many forms. Mac and cheese, ice cream, pot roast, rice and beans are some of our favorites. In the South, grits play a major role. Not just a breakfast food, grits are served with shrimp, pork, beef, fish and in a variety of casseroles. Baked cheese grits is a molten dish of goodness elevated with the addition of cheese, garlic, butter and cream. Grits come from hominy or corn which has been stone ground so they have a kind of “grain” taste. Cheese grits can be served as a side however, with the addition of crumbled sausage or bacon and some greens such as collards, these same grits can be called dinner. The glorious ending of a cheese grits casserole is that the morning after serving them, cold, firm slices of cheese grits are often dipped in egg, dredged in flour then fried in a little bit of vegetable oil. Heaven! Pass the hot sauce, please.
Dixie Baked Cheese Grits
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cream
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup stone ground grits, old fashioned, never instant
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Colby or pepper jack cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 3 teaspoons finely grated garlic
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 350°. Spray a 9X13 pan with vegetable oil and set aside.
- In a heavy pot, pour milk and cream and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
- Add butter to pot and stir until melted.
- Continue stirring in a circle while slowly pouring in grits. This will avoid lumps.
- Lower heat to low and stir occasionally. Cook as per time on package directions, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove grits from heat and add cheeses. Stir until melted.
- Add garlic, stir and taste mixture. Add salt as needed.
- Mix a large spoonful of grits in with the beaten eggs then stir egg mixture back with grits in the pot.
- Pour cheese grits into prepared baking dish and bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Allow to cool 10-15 minutes prior to serving.