Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Bowl of Comfort

I tried Shrimp Paste with Creamy Grits from Scott Peacock & Edna Lewis' Gift of Southern Cooking. Three words - "calories" and "worth it." It is essentially shrimp sauteed with onions and garlic in butter and then pulverized in a food processor. It can be stirred into hot, creamy grits or spread on toast. I will certainly make it again, but for the regular, dinnertime rotation, I will make Breakfast Shrimp and Creamy Grits.

I usually keep plain quick grits on hand, no fancy stone-ground stuff, unless I'm lucky enough to chance upon some at a specialty store. I learned the hard way that, in order to protect your investment in stone-ground grits, you absolutely must store them in the freezer. My deepest, darkest kitchen nightmare involves creep-crawly weevils and stone-ground grits that I innocently left unused in the pantry for too long a time.

For the creamy grits, I follow the directions on the package, subbing half and half or milk or even cream for some or all of the liquid, and simmer until thick. This usually means two cups of liquid to 1/2 cup of grits. For the shrimp, I melt a couple tablespoons of butter and sautee a half an onion, chopped, until translucent. I add a pound of peeeled and deveined shrimp and stir in the pan just until it turns pink. The buttery, briny goodness is perfection when served over the grits. This is an excellent 15-minute supper, or a nice treat for a hearty weekend breakfast.

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