Monday, November 9, 2009

Better Now

When greeting dear friends, they often ask how I am and I often reply, "Better now." Friends make everything better.
Even disappointing shrimp and grits.

My friend Wenirs and I chatted by phone over the weekend and laughed together over all the grits recipes I've been posting. You may get the impression that Wenirs is not a Southern cooking fan when I tell you that she opened the conversation by demanding, "When are you gonna get off of the grits?!" I laughed out loud. That's okay, she just hasn't tasted the cheesy grits yet; I know she'll be a convert.

As we chuckled and chatted, I was devising in my mind a 'fix' for the too-rich shrimp and grits leftovers. I couldn't bear to throw them away since they contained fully a half pound of shrimp, but I also couldn't face eating them in their super-rich state. I added another can of chopped tomatoes, a big squeeze of lemon juice plus some additional shrimp stock and served them over nice, chewy brown rice. They weren't perfect and I probably won't make anything quite like this again but they were, as I like to say, better now.



Blogger Kailyn said...

I just have never understood how anyone can dislike grits. Does this mean they don't like polenta as well? Of course I do know a few Southerners who will look at you like you're crazy if you mention polenta.

Monday, November 09, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

The southern part of my family is from Louisiana and Mississippi so Shrimp and Grits isn't anything that I ate growing up. But I found this recipe by Bobby Flay that looks like it's a lot less rich and heavy than the one you tried. Of course, I'd cut back on the shrimp - one pound is far too much for two people (IMHO) and I'd also use less cheese and make sure it's a really really sharp cheddar. Mild cheese just won't do. Darn, all this talk about grits makes me hungry for a bowl full but I'm waiting for a really cold morning to indulge - grits, eggs over easy, link sausage and a pot of coffee.
Shrimp and Grits
Recipe courtesy Martha Nesbit

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
25 min


4 servings


* 4 cups water
* Salt and pepper
* 1 cup stone-ground grits
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 6 slices bacon, chopped
* 4 teaspoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
* 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
* 1 large clove garlic, minced


Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Nancy, your comment about the cheese is right on point with what my maternal grandmother said. Use as sharp a cheese as possible and then you can use less. She made the best mac and cheese. And she indulged my love of cheese grits by taking me to the Waffle House whenever I was in Virginia. She was one if my sweet grits people as opposed to the Georgia folks who are into the savory.

Monday, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, to me, polenta and grits are two different animals both in taste and texture.

K&N, I think you're right about the cheddar cheese - I'm pretty sure that's what was in the original grits I had in NC.

Nancy, thanks for the further research. Even this recipe seems richer than the original recipe I had in NC. And I'm puzzled why your family from LA and MS didn't give you shrimp and grits - the shrimp _come_ from there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I think that the shrimp and grits were from the Carolinas and we wuz not gonna et any of that there foreign stuff. We had our own shrimp - tiny Gulf shrimp served in bisque or with a spicy cocktail sauce. I think that family also served a shrimp loaf - shrimp in a rich white sauce baked in a loaf of home made bread. It's no wonder my grandmother and great aunts probably pushed the scales at 300 pounds each. Plus, don't forget crawfish (aka mud bugs)- grilled or in gumbo. Now that's Louisiana cooking!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Haha. Foreign food.

Nancy is right. Shrimp and grits are Low Country -- the Carolinas and northeastern Georgia -- food. Think Charleston and Savannah.

Oh and supposedly it is on the dinner menu at Pican in Oakland. I think of their menu as a tour of the South.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I was thinking more about Southern cooking - (DUH) and realized how regional it was in my childhood. You had Cajun/Creole and Barbeque but not together. You had Tex Mex and Kentucky Mountain cooking but not by the same cooks. There was the cooking along the Gulf of Mexico and a different style in Charleston and another different style in Tidewater Virginia. I think that mass media has erased a lot (or some) of those differences but I am sure that they still remain where ever people are using local produce. For instance, Creole/Cajun cooking is very spicy but Southern Mountain cooking is not. Everybody cooked pork but not every body made barbeque and links. One of my favorites is spoon bread but I can't find out if that was regional or a more wide spread recipe. Now, I'm sure that everybody made pecan pie but you only got authentic pralines in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. Ditto for Pepper Sauce; if it didn't come from Louisiana, it wasn't the "real" thing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

The food is regional just like the accent because there are still those subtle differences in how folks speak from state to state. BBQ in Tidewater or the Carolinas is not the same as that from Memphis. And my stepmother's people, who hail from New Iberia, really don't like what most consider to be Southern cooking and instead prefer their Creole/Cajun cooking. For them it's not a holiday meal without dirty rice. Just like how my dad's people in southwest Georgia have to have ambrosia. My mother's family in Tidewater only really get regional in the summer when it's crab season. I guess you could say I'm a California-born Southern mutt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Kailyn - sounds like we both are on the same page about regional differences. I think that you have to have a Southern family to really understand all the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) variations. I think that the South is probably the only place left in the US where these regional differences can be so pronounced.
I think Zoomie ought to charge us rent because we have been taking over her blog but then, it's such an interesting discussion! I'm a native Californian, raised all over the world but with strong ties to some aspect of my Southern family as well as ties to the Lebanese cooking of my father's side of the family. Cornbread with olives, anyone? Dirty rice with gumbo - yes, yes, yes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn and Nancy, I'm liking the rent idea. Just kidding! I'm enjoying the conversation - chat away!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Hey - if Picasso can barter works for food and rent, so can I! Want a nice painting, lady?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009  

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