Pressure Cooker Coarse Grits November 04 2014

Pressure Cooker Coarse Grits 



Sometimes, only coarse grits will do. Sometimes we fail to plan ahead for the hour or more required to get those coarse stone-ground grits to that perfect softness that is reminiscent of a nice tiny piece of pasta. So what to do? You want grits, and you want them now! Enter the pressure-cooker!

Cooking grits and its finer relatives, quick grits and polenta, is all about hydrating the largest particle through and through. This is where the pressure-cooker stands out in its ability. Unlike the stove top, which simply uses heat to get the grits to absorb water, the pressure-cooker forces the hot water into the grits in a much shorter time span, with hardly any stirring!

My pressure cooker cooked my own coarse grits adequately in about 35 minutes Please keep in mind that all grits and all pressure cookers are different.You can set your cooker for a longer duration, but be sure to add a bit more water, approximately up to another quarter cup..

The pressure-cooker also works with quick grits and polenta. Cook quick grits for 25 minutes on high pressure, and polenta for 15.

Before you start, please be sure to read the instructions to your pressure cooker. Pressurized steam is super dangerous. Obey all safety instructions included with your cooker.



  • 1 Cup Coarse Grits

  • For Grits, 4 Cups Water or Stock (2 Cups of Milk, Buttermilk, Half and Half. Etc. may be exchanged for 1 Cup Water). For Polenta, use 3.5 Cups of liquid.

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • Recipe can be adjusted to scale.



  1. Add the 4 cups of stock or water to the Pressure cooker then add the 1 cup of grits. Whisk briskly for a minute. Let the grits settle to the bottom. Using a fine tea strainer,“wash” the grits by carefully skimming the floating material off of the surface. Discard material in the tea strainer. Don't scoop up the grits in the bottom!

  2. Add salt. Whisk briskly for a minute.

  3. Seal the cooker according to manufacturer's instructions.

  4. Cook the grits on high pressure for 35 minutes.

  5. When the cooker is finished, carefully release the pressure on the cooker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use quick release rather than natural.

  6. Let the cooker cool for a few minutes.

  7. Add butter.

  8. Add salt, if needed

  9. Add cheese or any other desired ingredients.

  10. Whisk briskly again to remove any lumps that may have formed.

  11. Enjoy!



Roasted Polenta and Seafood Lasagne February 24 2014

Last night's post on Facebook was pretty popular, so I guess I better make with the recipe like I said I would.

For those of you that prefer some adventure in their cooking, I will give you some basic background: In essence, you use polenta that has been chilled on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet where you would use pasta in a regular lasagna. This is a nice change of pace from the usual flavor and texture of the dish. In the case of our photo, the contrast was even more drastic since we used a bechamel seafood sauce instead of the usual bolognase. However, we did put a small amount of tomato sauce in a red pepper-tomato sauce we used.

I am going to post a basic set of polenta cooking guidelines on a separate post, so you can reference that there.

When you make your polenta, make it a little loose to get a nice thin sheet for your "pasta" layers. some planning is good here. I did this by setting the pyrex casserole dish over my cookie sheet to get an idea of how many continuous pieces I could get out of my chilled polenta, I got two almost perfectly sized pieces. There is a lot of room to refine this process, of course!  Anyway, there is much space for improvement, but only so much time to give you a recipe. So here goes.

The Polenta:

  • Pour the "loose" polenta onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill until congealed (several hours).
  • Cut the polenta into sheets to fit your casserole dish. You need at least two pieces. Use a sharp knife to cut through the paper, also. Lift the sheets with the paper to avoid breakage. Be careful.
The Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
  • 1 roasted red pepper.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp hot pepper vinegar (we make our own).
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
Combine the ingredients and puree in a blender.  This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
The Bacon:
  • Fry up 6 pieces of bacon and set onto paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.
Ricotta mixture:
  • In a bowl, mix together 8 oz. of whole milk Ricotta cheese, 4 oz. frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and drained), 1 egg, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  
  • You will also need about. 2 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves, uncooked.
The Bechamel Sauce:
Note: This is the last thing to prepare before assembly .Don't overcook your shrimp, you're going to put this in the oven, after all.
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1.cup milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound shelled shrimp
  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the pepper, onion, and carrot. Stir while cooking over medium heat until the onions are translucent. You know the deal, right?
  2. Stir in the flour and keep stirring until the vegetables are thoroughly coated and the flour is browned, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in vermouth and keep stirring until reduced.
  4. Combine the stock and milk, then slowly stir the mixture with the vegetables and vermouth. Add a bit at a time, letting the roux absorb the liquid before adding more. Cook, stirring continuously, until thick and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Add salt. Add shrimp. Cut off heat.
The Topping
Grate a half cup of cheddar cheese. This goes on right before you put it in the oven. Dice a few scallions. They go on very last as garnish.

Put it Together.
  1. Butter a Pyrex casserole dish. Gently place the first polenta layer in the bottom.
  2. Spread the bacon evenly on top of the polenta.
  3. Spread the red pepper sauce evenly over the bacon, using a spoon or rubber spatula.
  4. Place fresh baby spinach leaves (uncooked) evenly over the red pepper sauce, completely covering it.
  5. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the fresh spinach layer.
  6. Pour half of the bechamel over the ricotta mixture.
  7. Place the second layer of polenta over the bechamel.
  8. Pour the rest of the bechamel over the polenta.
  9. Shred cheddar cheese on top
  10. Place on middle shelf of the oven preheated to 450.
  11. Cook until hot and bubbling (at least a half an hour).
  12. Let cool for 10 minutes or more.
  13. Top with scallions and sprouts and serve.

Stone Ground Organic Yellow Corn Hoecakes with Pulled Pork and Kimchi. February 11 2014



There is something about slow-cooked pork in barbecue sauce and kimchi. Maybe it is because kimchi is a common match with pork in Korean restaurants (i.e. spicy pork and kimchi), or because cabbage is no stranger to barbecued pork here in the South. For the uninitiated, kimchi may be intimidating, but you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Just think of it as coleslaw gone rouge, or sauerkraut from Korea.

For this recipe, we will leave you to your own machinations on the barbecue and the kimchi, and if any of you whip this up with your own homemade kimchi and wood-fired barbecue, drop me a line. I'll bring the beverage of your choice!

For the hoecakes, see my blog: "Johnny-I mean hoecakes!" but add a quarter cup of chopped scallions from the garnish prep while mixing the hoecake contents. The fine corn meal in the photo above was yellow, although white or blue will yield similar results. For perfectly formed cakes, I used some steel rings Melanie bought for eggs or pancakes. Be sure to grease these also!

But before you do any of that, do the hard work first!

For the garnish: 

  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (1/4 of this will go into the hoecakes)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 tbs chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

I shred the cabbage myself on a mandoline, dice the scallions, chop the cilantro- but I just buy the shredded carrots at the grocery store. I like my fingers intact, and the mandoline is SHARP!

After all the slicing, dicing, and chopping is done, toss the vegetables together and squeeze the lime over it.  

Once the garnish is made and the hoecakes are done, make a bed of cakes and top with the pulled pork barbecue. Barbecue sauce of your choice can be mixed with the pulled pork, but with the delicious spicy sauce Melanie made tonight, a generous slathering on top of the pork seemed right. Top with the garnish,and serve the kimchi on the side. Serve it while the hoecakes are hot!

    DuBard Shrimp and Grits January 28 2014

    Here's our take on this classic:

    1 lb shrimp
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup flour
    1 medium onion, diced
    1 green pepper, diced
    3 stalks of celery, diced
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    3 sprigs fresh thyme
    Bayou spices
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 cup vermouth
    1 small bottle clam juice
    1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
    For grits:
    2 cups Coarse Yellow Grits
    Water or stock
    heavy cream (optional)


    • Prepare grits per our basic coarse grits recipe.  Coarse grits typically take about 1 hour.  (You can use quick grits if you prefer - they usually take about 30 minutes or less.)
    • Peel shrimp, retaining shells.  Refrigerate peeled shrimp until read to use.  Boil shells in 4 cups of water for apx. 30 minutes.  Drain and set stock aside.
    • Heat oil in dutch oven.  Add flour and stir frequently to break up clumps.  Over medium heat, stir frequently for about 20 minutes until the the roux is a dark color - somewhere between milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
    • Add chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and spices.  Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
    • Add vermouth and stir until evaporated.  Add 2 cups of the shrimp stock made previously and bottle of clam juice, stirring well.  Add sausage.  Boil, uncovered, 15 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
    • Put peeled shrimp in a ziploc bag with a small amount of flour.  Shake.  In a separate pan, heat oil on high.  Briefly pan-fry shrimp in small batches.  Add to sauce and cook 3 minutes.
    • Serve over grits.  Enjoy with good friends!