Chili Cheese Grits

Tonight’s challenge was to make something nourishing, tasty and inexpensive using mostly SOLE foods (sustainable, organic, local and ethical).

These chili cheese grits, made from local grass-fed beef and stone-ground yellow grits succeed on all points, I think..

Chili Cheese Grits

Chili Cheese Grits

For the Grits

1/2 cup organic, coarse yellow grits
2 cups fresh whole milk
1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric (optional)
1/4 teaspoon organic annatto powder (optional)
1 small jalapeño, finely diced
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 cup raw cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
filtered water

Slowly bring the milk to a slow boil over medium heat.  Add grits in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously.

Add jalapeño (and turmeric & annatto if using), reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until grits are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in butter, cheese and cilantro.  Thin with water if necessary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Chile

1/2 pound 80% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon beef tallow
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 small dried New Mexico or Ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tablespoon chile paste
1/4 cup filtered water
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Toast cumin seeds in tallow.  Add ground beef, dried chiles and onions and cook until browned.

Add tomatoes, oregano, chili paste and water and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve, spoon chili into a bowl.  Make a well in the center, spoon in the grits and serve piping hot.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter

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The Thing About Brussels Sprouts

In the same plant family as cabbage, broccoli and kale, Brussels sprouts have been cultivated in Belgium (hence the name) since the 1200’s.

Extremely high in Vitamin C and a good source of iron, a lot of people dislike Brussels sprouts, reporting that they have a bitter or sulphur-like flavor.  The objectionable taste actually comes from a compound called sinigrin (CAS 3952-98-5), which is released when the vegetables are overcooked.

So to ensure mild, sweet-tasting Brussels sprouts, simply do not overcook them..

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Place washed, untrimmed Brussels sprouts in a covered steamer for 6-7 minutes until bright green but underdone. Shock the sprouts in ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the color.

Trim off the stems and peel away the outer leaves.  You want the sprouts to be as uniform in size as possible, so you might cut the larger ones in half (or even in quarters) and leave the smaller ones whole.

Heat some fat (bacon grease, butter or leaf lard all work well) in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and Brussels sprouts and cook until both are well browned.

Add uncured ham and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add fresh cream and coarse mustard (preferably homemade) and simmer until it sprouts are fork-tender.

Add cheese such as raw-milk cheddar with caraway seeds and stir to combine.  Add some chopped parsley for visual appeal if you like.

Season with sea salt, freshly-ground pepper and perhaps a few red pepper flakes and serve hot from the pan.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet


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Raw Cheese Queso and Fried Tortilla Chips

All local ingredients, including goat milk, raw cheddar, fresh jalapeños, herbs, vine-ripened tomatoes and toasted spices..

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Gather jalapeños, tomatoes, green onions, garlic and cilantro from your backyard (or CSA, farmers’ market or co-op), grab some fresh cream-top goat milk and raw milk cheddar from the fridge and whole cumin, coriander, sea salt, pepper, chili powder and Mexican oregano from the pantry.

Toast the seeds in a dry pan over moderate heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add oregano, garlic, chili powder and milk and simmer for a few minutes.

Stirring briskly, add peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lots of shredded cheese.  Continue to stir until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened, perhaps 5 minutes (do not let the mixture boil, or you will lose valuable nutritional value and risk curdling the sauce).  Add a little more milk if too thick, a little more cheese if too thin.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a scant amount of rendered pork fat in a comal or skillet over medium heat.  Fry freshly made tortillas for about 2 minutes, flip and fry 1 minute more.  Allow to drain briefly on paper towels before cutting into triangles; they should turn out flaky-crisp, not greasy.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays


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