15 September, 2014

Respect the Grits!

Grits get no respect!  *Cue the music* "All I am say-a-un... is Give Grits a Chance!":)

 It seems as autumn sets in my fondness for warm and starchy dishes hits overdrive. Hunkering down and eating meals from a bowl is the idea.  Just keep your gym card pass almost as close as you do your grit spoon if ya know what I'm saying.  No worries.  Everything in moderation, right?

I, myself, love grits!  When fall weather hits I eat them at least once a week, and not just for breakfast.  They are warm, hearty, and very comforting.  This morning i made them with some butter, 1/2 piece of bacon, and some emmantal gruyere cheese. Grits and cheese were made for one another! Season 'em well with salt and pepper. Put a fried egg on top and you've got a quick and easy meal! I tend to like my grits savory, but you can also add some honey or cinnamon sugar and raisins or dates. You can buy instant Quaker grits in the cereal aisle. They aren't quite as good as the long cooking ones, but they're still very good.  1/4 c. grits to 3/4 c. water.  microwave 3-4 min. depending on how thick you like 'em--the longer they cook, the thicker they'll be.  And by all means please use a spoon!
Here's some good GRIT add-ins:
hot sauce
try chicken stock in place of your water when cooking grits
any kind of cheese
sausage, bacon, ham, or any leftover meat you may have.
Shrimp with your grits 
maple syrup
cinnamon sugar

Happy Monday y'all!

10 September, 2014

Oven Risotto

Oven Risotto
Organizing my cupboards today i came across a small bag of arborio rice.  I believe i used it in some avgolemono i made earlier this year (one of my favorites!)
I decided to make some risotto for dinner and went to the web to hunt for a recipe. I've made risotto a few times...I don't think it's hard to make..just a little time consuming.
I was pretty excited when i came across quite a few recipes for making it in the oven!  No standing over the pot and stirring for 30 minutes! Yay! 
I'm just going to say this may be the easiest thing i've ever made that was this incredible tasting!  I will never make risotto the old way again!  You're in for some yum!  

 Oven Risotto: serves 4
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
5 c. HOT chicken broth, divided
1 c. fresh grated parmesan
1/2 c. dry white wine
3 T. butter
1 t. kosher salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Put the rice and 4 cups of your HOT chicken stock (microwave the broth or simmer on stove. it MUST BE HOT!!) into a oven safe dutch oven.  Cover with lid and bake 35-45 minutes (check at 35 min) until most of the broth is absorbed and rice is tender.  Removed it from the oven and add your other cup of chicken stock, cheese, wine, butter, salt and pepper and stir well until all is melted.  Add peas if desired and stir until they're heated. Serve it as a side dish, in place of mashed potatoes, or just by itself. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Berry Bundt Cake

This cake is a winner! I had frozen berries in my freezer I wanted to use.  I thawed them and drained some of their liquid, but not all of it.  It came out wonderful!  Moist and incredible!

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
zest of a lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3-4 cups mixed berries (i used frozen)


2 cups powdered sugar (or more if you like thicker)
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tablespoon softened butter
whisk it all together

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  grease and flour 10" bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In your mixer bowl cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla.  Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, continue to alternate until you've got it all in there. Toss the berries with the remaining 2 T. of flour. Gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be thick.
Pour the batter in the pan and smooth it out.  Drop the pan on your kitchen counter a few times to get out any air bubbles. Bake for 55 to 70 minutes depending on your oven.  Mine took about 68 minutes. The cake is done when toothpicks inserted into the center come out clean.  
Set cake pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Pour the glaze over top. This is a moist, delicious and beautiful cake! Enjoy!