Jennifer in Wonderland

August 30, 2009

Mmm Mmm Mush

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennifer @ 7:09 PM

My love of crunchy foods is well documented, but I just realized that I also seem to have an affinity for mushy foods. Whether it’s good old American mashed potatoes, Chinese jook/congee, Japanese okayu or Italian polenta.

Yesterday I had the weirdest craving for grits and today they were indulged. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever even had grits before and I’m not exactly clear on how it differs from polenta. A quick google led me to an easy recipe.

Cheese Grits (Recipe courtesy Alton Brown)


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded


Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.

Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time. Serve immediately.

Of course, I made a few substitutions and a few mistakes. First, I thought it would be a good idea to use 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of skim milk. Well, the buttermilk curdled and came out looking like cottage cheese so I had to strain it and throw the curds away. Then I only used about 2 tablespoons of butter. I also didn’t have any Cheddar, so I subbed in about half a cup of parmesan and 3 slices of “cheddar” Kraft singles. I know, super ghetto.

Have you ever seen grits/polenta cooking? It’s pretty crazy, it’s all thick and bubbling like a volcano. Take a looksee


I really should have made  a video instead of a picture, because you can’t really tell there.

Anyhoo, after that was all done, I chopped and cooked up 1 large red bell pepper, 2 medium zucchinis, 1 package of sliced crimini mushrooms and about a pound of shrimp. Season with S&P, red pepper flakes, paprika and garlic powder. I served it over the grits and voila.



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