Grits gone A.W.O.L.

October 29, 2010

I KNOW I bought some grits. Because I’d been to Kate’s, and I’d enjoyed her shrimp-n-grits, and I’d thought to myself, “Self? You need to have you some grits on hand.” And I remember perusing grits at the grocery, and being more than a little aggravated because I couldn’t find regular grits and figuring I’d have to settle for quick-cooking ones. And I SWEAR I bought some.

But damned if I could find ’em tonight.

So we had shrimp and polenta, instead. Whereby hangs another story.

I’m not right sure where I bought this polenta. Except that on the box, it calls it “palenta,” and it has various and assorted copy blocks in it that are in Hungarian or some sort of Cyrillic or Slavic language. I mean, it has letters we don’t have, and stuff. But I had it, and it was closer to hand than the cornmeal, so WTF.

Except. It says, in English, “cooks in 2-4 minutes.” OK. That’s cool. So it’s sorta-kinda pre-cooked/quick/instant. No prob.

Except. If it’s quick cooking, maybe I need to check the instructions to determine if the proportions remain the same (maybe 1/2 cup cornmeal to 2 cups water).

Except. Where it says “cooks in 2-4 minutes”? In English? That’s the ONLY freaking English copy on the box. You can see where what would purport to be directions would be. In Hungarian, or Cyrillic, or whatever it is that has letters that we don’t have.

H’mm. OK. Tried the usual proportions. Ain’t happening. Added more polenta. It thickened up respectably, albeit it wasn’t grits. I MUST get grits.

Perhaps the grits are wherever my camera is.

The shrimp got peeled, sauteed with a couple of small shallots and some powdered pico de gallo seasoning. They got sprinkled with flour, which got stirred in, making the beginnings nice roux. That got thinned down with some chicken broth, plus a couple of dashes of Pepperdoux hot sauce. It simmered for a bit, got a shot of heavy cream, and cooked on low for a bit.

The Cyrillic polenta got whisked up, cooked until it was moderately thick, and hit with another shot of heavy cream and a cup of grated smoked gouda.

Len said it was good. I was still full of really good turkey vegetable soup from the Culinary District from  a late lunch, and really, really good wine, and I didn’t eat.

But that soup. For an eight-buck or so lunch, you get a big honkin’ bowl of whatever soup they have, plus a nice mixed greens salad with slivered almonds and the coolest dressing I believe I’ve ever had. The chef/waiter at the bar allowed it was orange juice, tangerine oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, white pepper and canola oil. I think that’s all he said; I was writing as fast as I could. I’m going to have to try that. But the soup….it was like chicken and dumplings, with carrots and celery. And sage.

I think I’m in love. Were the chef-waiter not significantly younger that me, I might make indecent advances toward him. Boy can cook.

Anyway, off to the farmer’s market tomorrow, and it’s a PJF steak tomorrow night, and we’ll see what we’ll see in between. You and y’mama ‘n ’em enjoy this gorgeous fall weekend, y’hear?


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