Because of the 12-hour time difference, we are extremely jetlagged, to the point that we were up and about at 4am. Faigy managed to get back to sleep but I was up for quite a while more, so I decided I would surprise her with breakfast in bed. The problem with that, I realized, is that before leaving we had completely emptied our fridge. This left us with no eggs, which are quite a staple of breakfast foods. I was originally thinking of making an omelette or pancakes but that obviously wasn't possible. So I did a quick search to get some ideas for egg-less breakfast ideas.
The first thing that I saw was oatmeal, which we had. I went to grab it from above our fridge and saw behind it that we also had a container of quick-cooking grits, which also doesn't require eggs. My first inclination was to make a sweet version with some jams we had in the fridge, but a recipe on the side of the box gave me the idea to do a more savory version.
I applied a few technique tricks to amp up the flavor of the grits (since they can tend to be bland) including browning the butter and toasting the grits; these steps can be skipped if you're in a hurry though. The box calls for water for cooking the grits but I used milk (yes, it was still good after 3 weeks! Ah, the joys of ultra-pasteurization) for added creaminess, and some garlic and paprika for enhanced flavor and color. I topped the cooked grits with additional cheese and wheat germ (we had some in the fridge; if you don't, it's not a big deal) and broiled it.
Since I took the savory route, I complemented it with some jam on toast to fill in the sweetness. Here's what it looked like (on our new serving tray from Vietnam).
|Breakfast in bed|
Creamy Cheesy Grits
I made this recipe to be enough for just the two of us but it can easily be expanded for four.
1 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup quick-cooking grits (not instant) [1/2 cup for 4]
1 1/3 cups milk (skim is fine) [2 1/2 for 4]
1/2 + 1/4 cup grated cheddar or pizza cheese [increase the 1/2 to 2/3 for 4]
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
A heavy pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 tsp. wheat germ [1 tsp. for 4], optional
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. If you are not in a rush, lower the heat to medium-low and cook the butter in for an additional 3-5 minutes until it begins to foam and then take on a caramel color. Be careful not to burn it though. This is easier to judge if you use a light-colored pot.
- Pour the grits into the butter and toast them for about 3-5 minutes until they too begin to brown a little bit.
- Pour in the milk and add the salt. Simmer for 10-12 minutes over medium-low heat until grits thicken to your desired consistency (cook more for thicker grits), stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn't burn.
- Preheat your broiler. Mix in the 1/2 cup of cheese, garlic and paprika and stir well. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally till cheese melts.
- Transfer the grits to an oven-safe dish and spread them out. Cover with some additional paprika, 1/4 cup cheese and top with wheat germ.
- Put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until browned (our broiler tends to work much more slowly, so for me it was closer to 10 minutes; if you have an exposed-flame broiler, it might take less so keep checking constantly after 5 minutes to ensure you don't burn it!).
|Browned cheesy goodness|
- Serve with jam on toast if you like.
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