What a weekend it has been. I have cooked non-stop! After finding out last week that I will need surgery soon, I tried to prepare and photograph several dishes for the blog and my weekly newspaper article. I enjoy cooking, but it has been like preparing for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
When I finally schedule the surgery, I will be out of commission for a while. I need surgery on my right foot, and will be on one of those rolling knee walkers for approximately six weeks. The doctor said I could possibly stand on the foot after four weeks, but I should plan on six weeks. No standing and cooking for a least 2 to 3 weeks, even with the rolling walker. Greg and the kids have already started making plans. They will all pitch in to do the laundry, cleaning, shopping, and cooking. This will be very interesting!
To celebrate Mardi Gras and one of my favorite places, New Orleans, I have made this wonderful crawfish and grits casserole. I love grits with just about anything. I also really like goat cheese, but had never combined the two until now. Yummy! Goat cheese is a little strong for some, and if you are not a fan of it, substitute shredded Cheddar cheese. You may also use shrimp instead of crawfish if you prefer.
Crawfish (or Shrimp) and Stone-ground Grits Gratin
- 4 c. homemade seafood stock or 1 (8-oz.) bottle clam juice and 3 c. water
- 1 c. stone-ground grits
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
- 1 (8-oz.) log goat cheese
- 1 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped, optional
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lb. cooked crawfish tail meat (about 2 c.) or small raw shrimp
- ¼ c. white wine
- 4 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ c. chopped green onion
- In a large saucepan, bring seafood stock (or clam juice and water) to boil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in grits, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Decrease heat to low, and simmer until creamy and thick, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in goat cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 12-inch round baking dish with canola oil, and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. canola oil over medium heat. Add shallot, celery, jalapeño, and garlic; cook until shallot is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add crawfish or shrimp, wine, and remaining 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper; cook 4 minutes.
- Pour half of crawfish mixture into a medium bowl, and set aside. Add remaining crawfish mixture to grits, along with eggs; stir to combine. Spoon grits mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining crawfish mixture, parsley, and green onion.
- Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
I have mentioned many times in the past that I have seasonal recipes. I love chicken and dumplings, apple pie, and soup, but I usually prepare those dishes in the fall and winter. Salads are a favorite of mine, along with lemonade and ice cream. Those dishes are generally reserved for the summertime. I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes, already on NJSD, that I prepare throughout the summer months. To see the recipes, click on the recipe names below. Enjoy!
Strawberry & Blueberry Salad with Almonds
On of my all-time favorites, this salad is amazing!
If you are a fish lover you must try this dish!
This salsa compliments just about any grilled poultry, meat, or fish wonderfully!
Apricot-Balsamic Glazed Chicken
Delicious every time!
A refreshing treat for hot summer days!
Smoky Gouda Grits and Shimp
My new favorite summer dish!
Fruit with Wine and Mint
Customize this with fruit of your choice!
Garlic Grilled Tomatoes
I pick up Roma tomatoes every time I’m in the store, during the summer, to be prepared to make these!
Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Ginger Glaze
Peach Ice Cream
Summer would not be complete without homemade ice cream!
We were in Pensacola recently for a long weekend. It was fun and relaxing! We went to the Crawfish Festival, met up with some old friends, visited a favorite antique shop, went to a few of our favorite restaurants and drove by our old house. Most were unchanged, except for some major road work in front of the subdivision and some horrendous apparatus on the back of my house! Yes, my house! We put everything we had in that house, completely changing the floor plan, going out to the site every day, & picking out every single thing that went into it. Miranda Lambert even wrote a song about it! If you’ve built a house, I’m sure you know. It made me a little homesick. I can still call it home, right? After all, there’s a piece of my heart in every city that I have ever lived. We have been fortunate to live in some outstanding places, and I have wonderful memories of each and everyone, not to mention awesome friends.
Our trip would not have been complete without a visit to Joe Patti’s! We loaded up the cooler and have been able to indulge in some wonderful seafood since we returned to the farm. I have taken a very simple Shrimp and Grits recipe and changed it up by using smoked Gouda. This recipe is fast and simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but serve it to guests at your next dinner party and they will be asking for the recipe.
Leftover smoked Gouda grits make a special breakfast treat. I like to heat the grits in the microwave for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on high. Then stir in a small amount of water, the amount will depend on the amount of grits you have leftover. Warm another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes and top with a sprinkling of cooked and chopped bacon, chopped tomato, chopped scallion.
Smoky Gouda Grits and Shrimp
- 32 oz. chicken broth
- 1 c. uncooked quick-cooking grits (not instant)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 c. (8-oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Bring chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in grits. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, butter, and shredded Gouda. Stir until the cheese melts. Set aside and keep warm.
- While the grits are cooking, start cooking the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; remove bacon from pan.
- Cook shrimp in the same pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until almost pink, stirring occasionally. (I do this in batches)
- When all shrimp are to the almost pink stage, add all back to pan, if you have removed any to cook in batches. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chopped parsley, green onions, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in bacon.
- Spoon grits onto individual serving plates or shallow bowls; top with the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.
Hey there! I hope that you have had a wonderful holiday season. It was great here on the farm. Greg had a few vacation days so he was home a lot. The kids were here and it was great. I won’t lie, there were days that I wished everyone was back on a schedule, but for the most part I loved them being home. Reality hit me hard this morning at 5:30 am though! My mornings of sleeping late are over!
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite things…grits! I love grits and I haven’t met many southerners that do not like grits. After all, they are a southern delicacy. The addition of cheese takes them to a “whole nother” level…over the top deliciousness! I know, I know, I know, if you are from the south and you’re reading this then you probably know how to make cheese grits. I’ve known how to make them most of my life. I typically do not use milk, only water. This is for those of you that have never had the pleasure of experiencing grits or maybe you’ve tried grits, but they were not seasoned correctly or maybe you were just having an off day and you didn’t like them. Give them another try.
Cheese grits are wonderful for breakfast on a cold winter morning or even a hot summer morning. They are great with shrimp or fish or they make a delicious side dish for just about any meal. The milk (or cream) in this recipe helps to give them a creamy texture. They reheat beautifully too!
(This recipe is from Mary Mac’s Tea Room cookbook.)
Creamy Cheese Grits
- 3 c. water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 c. quick-cooking grits (not instant)
- 1¼ c. heavy cream or whole milk
- 1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and salt to a simmer; whisk in the grits. Cook for 8 minutes, whisking frequently. Add the heavy cream or milk, ¼ cup at a time, whisking until each addition is combined. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted. Season with pepper and additional salt, if desired.
I like to cook a special breakfast during the holidays, especially on Christmas morning. Sometimes I do breakfast casseroles, which I love, but I’m limited because Wes does not like Cheddar cheese. Sometimes it’s just easier to make homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon or sausage, and grits. Here’s a recipe that will take your grits over the top.
Extra Special Grits with Creamed Scallions are wonderful. The addition of the half-and-half in the grits makes them really creamy and delicious. Topping them with the creamed scallions makes them irresistible! As I’ve mentioned in the past…I’m not a big egg lover but even scrambled eggs are good with the creamed scallions on top.
Extra Special Grits with Creamed Scallions
- 1 c. stone ground grits
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 bunches scallions, trimmed and chopped into about 1 to 1½-inch pieces
- ¼ c. water
- ½ c. heavy cream
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a pan mix the grits, 3 c. water and 1 c. half-and-half or heavy cream. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add salt and butter. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
- In the meantime, place the scallions and ¼ c. water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add ½ c. heavy cream and chopped garlic. Simmer, uncovered until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, spoon grits into a bowl and top with about a tablespoon of the creamed scallions.