Friday, April 13, 2012

National Grits Day

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By Diane Forrest

As a true Southerner, I take pride in my grits.  That reminds me of a scene in the movie My Cousin Vinny.  Where a New York lawyer goes to Alabama to represent his cousin who is being charged with murder.  The following is a sample of that scene:

Gambini: Well how much time was they in the store?
Tipton: Five minutes.
Gambini: Five minutes? Are you sure? Did you look at your watch?
Tipton: No.
Gambini: Oh, oh, oh, I'm sorry, you testified earlier that the boys went into the store and you had just begun to make breakfast. You were just ready to eat. You heard a gunshot. That's right, I'm sorry. So obviously it takes you five minutes to make breakfast.
Tipton: That's right.
Gambini: Right, so you knew that. Uh, do you remember what you had?
Tipton: Eggs and grits.
Gambini: Eggs and grits. I like grits too. How do you cook your grits? You like 'em regular, creamy, or al dente?
Tipton: Just regular, I guess.
Gambini: Regular. Instant grits?
Tipton: No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.
Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you five minutes to cook your grits, when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes?
Tipton: I don't know. I'm a fast cook, I guess.
Gambini: I'm sorry; I was all the way over here. I couldn't hear you. Did you say you're a fast cook? That's it?! Are we to believe that boiling waters soaks into grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth?!
Tipton: I don't know.
Gambini: Well perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grits? I mean, did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?!
D.A. Trotter: Objection, Your Honor!
Judge Haller: Objection sustained.
Gambini: Are you sure about that five minutes?
Tipton: I don't know.
Judge Haller: Mr. Tipton you can ignore the question.
Gambini: Are you sure about that five minutes?
Tipton: I don't know.
Judge Haller: Mr. Gambini, I think you've made your point.
Gambini: Are you sure about that five minutes?!!
Tipton: I may have been mistaken.
Gambini: I got no more use for this guy.
Rosenstein: [to his counsel] You're fired.
[Pointing to Gambini] I want him!

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Grits are a Native American dish made from ground corn and hominy.  They are cooked in boiling water, for 15 to 20 minutes until thick.  They are mainly eaten for breakfast, but are sometimes served as a side dish with other meals.  They can be served with just butter, or you can add cheese, gravy, sugar and sausage.  I prefer to add sugar with mine, makes it taste like Cream of Wheat.  But I also love Cheese Grits.  It is more of a casserole.  When my father has lunch at his weekly Rotary meeting, they occasionally have a dish called Grits and Grillades {pronounced GREE-ahds}.  This dish is found on the menu at debutante balls and definitely a staple at Mardi Gras, is a dish of smothered beef, slow simmered in a roux and tomato base, though the name literally translated actually means grilled. Made with just about any kind of beef, and sometimes even with pork or veal, and is served over cheese grits.  Here is Paula Deen's recipee from the

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Today is National Grits day.  You don't have to be Southern to enjoy them, even though every time I see the word grits, I think of "Girls raised in the south"!   Grits are delicious and will fill you up for a great way to start the day, or a great ending to.  Enjoy some Grits today!

Grits and Gillades by Paula Deen

1 (3-pound) chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons bacon grease
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup diced celery
3 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth or water
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
5 medium or 4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 (10-ounce) can extra hot stewed tomatoes (recommended: Ro-Tel)
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley leaves

Season beef with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Dust beef with about 1/3 cup flour and toss lightly. Spray a cast iron Dutch oven with cooking spray. Heat 4 tablespoons of bacon grease and 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (you may use all bacon grease, all solid shortening, or all cooking oil if desired). Brown meat in hot fat and remove to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Leaving fat in Dutch oven, saute bell pepper, onions, celery, and garlic. Brown vegetables and remove to bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in the pot.

Add or take away to total 3 tablespoons of fat to make your roux. To make roux, add about 1/4 cup of flour, stirring constantly and slowly until flour is a nice deep brown, being careful not to burn the flour. Slowly add 4 cups of beef broth or water and stir. Bring to a simmer and add back beef and vegetables. Add bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, dried basil and stir. Add fresh tomatoes and 1 can extra hot tomatoes. Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, remove bay leaves and stir in 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Serve over your favorite hot buttered grits.

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