Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.
I grew up loving grits, but my Latin mother wasn't sure how to make them, so she opted for the instant variety. It wasn't until I went to college in the deep-south that I was introduced to the glory of bright yellow, stone-ground grits. Their texture is a delight, their color is a brilliant yellow, and their flavor is sweet and earthy. In my new cookbook, I explore the traditional American pancakes we're so used to, but I also wanted to include a dinner section -- so I had to include these goat cheese grits. They're more like a cross between a fritter and a patty And I just love the tangy note from the goat cheese playing off the sweetness from the corn.
The recipe begins with cooking a pot of grits over the stove top. The batch of grits is poured into a lightly greased baking sheet and transferred to the refrigerator to set until firm. From there it's cut into circles and pan fried. For a week's worth of grits, I just kept pairing them with different flavors. Try it -- it's fun.
Grits and Goat Cheese Cakes with a Fried Egg
You can literally put a fried egg on anything, but eggs and these grits are a match made in heaven. The runny egg with the crispy cake is a really delicious, simple meal.
Grit Cake Panzanella Salad
Cut the grits into cubes and pan-fry them, then lightly toss them with a shallot vinaigrette. If you have a gluten intolerance and cry a little whenever you see a panzanella salad, don't fret! Replacing the bread with cubes of crispy grits turned out to be a delicious gluten-free solution.
Crispy Grits with Blueberry Compote and Ice Cream
I know this isn't technically dinner, but since I live alone, sometimes dinners look like this. We're all adults here, right? I sliced it like I would a slice of pie, cooked up a quick blueberry compote and served it with a scoop of malt vanilla ice cream that was chilling in my freezer.
Grit and Goat Cheese Fries with Harissa Aioli
Sometimes I want nothing but appetizers for dinner. Here, I cut the grits into long skinny rectangles, and then oven-baked them until they were crispy. My go-to dip for these is harissa aioli, but they're fabulous with just about anything. Go wild.
Grits and Goat Cheese Cakes with Collard Greens and Bacon
If I ever do something terrible and find myself on death row, I want collard greens and bacon (and maybe a pastrami sandwich) as my last meal. I hope the collards will be topped with these crispy grit cakes, too.
Makes 12 cakes
4 cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups stone-ground corn grits
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoon salt
Photos by Adrianna Adarme