Sunday, June 26, 2005

Biscuits and Grits

After graduating from college, I moved Down South for five years and enjoyed (?!?) five steamy summers in Atlanta. Strangely enough, Atlanta was where I went vegetarian, which was a somewhat unexpected leap for someone who really enjoyed barbecue.

But I digress.

When I returned north, I decided that I did NOT miss tropical summer weather, excessively large bugs, and the Confederate flag and all the baggage that went with it. What I did miss, however, was some of the classic cuisine of the South: fried okra, sweet tea, biscuits so light they'd float off your plate if given half a chance, and cheese grits.

I brought back the recipe for home-cooked cheese grits from a Southern friend, and since then I have often spent a weekend morning cooking up a pot of that rich, creamy mess. (I usually am too hungry to go through the entire recipe, which involves adding eggs and milk, then baking the grits for an hour. That tastes fantastic, but I can't always wait that long!)

I also found, a few years ago, a couple of recipes for cheese grits that incorporated other cheeses and herbs, such as smoked cheddar and chives. My personal favorite, though, is the buttery, creamy, mild flavor of havarti paired with shreds of fresh dill... which is what I ended up making this morning.

And though grits are essentially a coarser cut of cornmeal, and thus a grain, I still enjoy biscuits with them, so I made a small batch of whole wheat baking powder biscuits that turned out fluffy and tender, even without butter dripping off them.

Add to that a big mug of Phoenix Blend coffee (doggone, that stuff is goooooood!), and you can well imagine that I had a pretty wonderful Sunday brunch for myself.

Of course, given this heat wave, the rest of the day may remind me about the things I didn't care for about the South, but at least I'll have enjoyed my biscuits and grits, thank you very much.

And I'll reach for my sweet mint tea, too...

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