SPEAKING OF FOOD: Cheese grits just what baby ordered

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to prepare a brunch for close and extended family. We’d been trying to find a time for a family dinner, but kids’ schedules have a way of wrecking Friday and Saturday night plans.
So Sunday morning found us in the kitchen preparing ham and Swiss cheese poppyseed rolls, fresh fruit, orange muffins, two different types of quiche and cheese grits.
I love cheese grits and would have them every day, if my waistline would allow it. As it is, I am resigned to have them only on special occasions. A brunch for 11 seemed like one of those occasions.
I tried a recipe from Martha Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” that my mother-in-law recommended. She had made it a few weeks ago and raved not only about the casserole, but also the leftovers.
I thought the grits turned out beautifully and so did my 2-year-old grandchild, who ate half of what I put on my plate and then devoured a big serving of her own. My 12- and 15-year-olds didn’t care for them, but then again, they don’t even like plain grits, so don’t use them as the judge. Go with the toddler. She knows what’s good.
Cheese Grits
31/2 cups whole milk, divided
2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups quick-cooking grits
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon hot paprika
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a shallow 21/2-quart baking dish.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 11/2 cups milk, water, butter, garlic and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Slowly whisk in grits. Whisk continuously for a minute, until no lumps remain. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 2 cups milk, hot sauce, pepper and eggs. Gradually add the hot grits, stirring to combine. Pour the grits into the prepared dish and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until puffy around the edges and a knife inserted in to the center comes out clean.
Serves 12.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal