GINNA PARSONS: Cheese grits unlikely partner for rib-eyes

I took a much-needed ‘mental health day’ last Friday to run some long-overdue errands and to get a head-start on the weekend’s yard work.
I find that if I wait to go to the garden centers on Saturday mornings to buy flowers and then go to the gym, the grocery stores, the cleaners and the drug store, my motivation for gardening has waned by the time I actually get back home and am ready to plant.
So on Friday morning, I picked up impatiens, verbena, salvia, marigolds and a few herbs to put in the ground. I spent the majority of the afternoon outside in the sun – and shade – and when it came time to go inside to start dinner, I was thankful I had already picked up rib-eye steaks from Todd’s Big Star for supper.
Trouble was, I didn’t have anything to put with them except a salad. We’d had baked potatoes the night before, pasta the night before that and rice two nights before that. I surveyed the cabinet and spied an unlikely companion to steaks: a box of grits.
After combing through several recipes I finally settled on one for baked cheese grits that included eggs, milk and Cheddar cheese. As the dish began to bake in the oven, the top started to rise like a soufflampé and I was afraid the whole thing was going to explode and spill all over the bottom of the oven.
But I worried for nothing. The recipe cooked perfectly and the grits were really a very nice accompaniment to the steaks and salad. If you’re making this for breakfast, you could add a pound of cooked, drained pork sausage to the dish before baking.
Baked Cheese Grits
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
11/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 stick butter
1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine water and salt and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in grits, reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove pan from heat. Add 1 cup cheese and the butter and stir until melted. Add milk, eggs, pepper and garlic powder and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio