I know. Ridiculous, right? What's this born and raised Mainer doing talking about grits? I may be overstepping my geographical bounds by doing so, but I can't help it. They've hit our lunch table in a big way and I thought I'd share on the chance that it might be a hit for you and yours too. Though Calvin's at school now, it's still a whole lot of people that we're feeding three times a day. Eight for breakfast and dinner and seven for lunch on most days. We've got our regular breakfast routine down pretty well (that's Papa's territory), and I'm in a good dinner groove, with some help from the kiddos here and there. But sometimes lunch is tricky. Tricky in that I don't want to spend the whole entire day in the kitchen and would love to put something easy together that sustains us through the rest of the day. Popcorn, of course, is the obvious answer. Popcorn, kale chips and hard boiled eggs is the lunch of summer. Add some bread and cheese and my kids are over the top excited, day in and day out, with no complaints. I've found that our best lunch rhythm is that of the 'snack plate' variety - a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Or, a make-your-own something or other. Meals that have a solid base but then can be varied depending on tastes and - most importantly - what's in the pantry or in the refrigerator. Planning dinners ahead is enjoyable and helpful to me, but planning lunches and ingredients ahead too? I don't love that. (Leftovers, you say? You eat leftovers for lunch? I don't know what that is anymore. Despite feeling as though I make massive amounts of food for dinner, there never seem to be any leftovers to be had. I blame the growing teenage boys in my house who make it mysteriously disappear while I'm sleeping.)
Back to grits. They are, happily, one of those quick lunches I can make that has a choose your own adventure vibe to it that everyone here loves. I can make a quick pot of grits and while they're cooking, pull out this and that from the fridge, saute up some garlic, onions and kale, and fry some eggs and bacon. Easy peasy. And everyone is happy with what they put on their own bowl, which makes it a total win in my book.
And here's where I really push my geographical boundaries by telling you exactly how I make those grits....up here in Maine....so close to Canada I can almost see it (do you eat grits in Canada?)....
Bring 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup coarse cornmeal, 1 tsp salt while stirring. Lower heat and cover for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick. Once it's creamy and 'done,' add 2 TBSP of butter, stir until melted. Remove from heat and add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
And then, the fun part. Toppings! Some of the things that have made their way onto our grits:
eggs, for certain - poached and fried
sauteed greens and garlic
bacon, of course
definitely hot sauce
And now, I will stop talking about grits and listen instead. Tell me, how do you eat yours?
edited to add: Well, then! It appears that I do have no right talking about grits after all, as it seems I've been making polenta, or maybe even cornmeal mush, and calling it grits.(Here's a pretty good article on the difference.) Ah! What an interesting thing food and geography is together! Thanks to all of you who so kindly pointed me in the right direction. I do stand by the fact that whatever it is I'm making (recipe above) is yummy and a happy lunchtime meal for us all. ;)