Tag Archives: Southern

Southern-style Shrimp and Cornmeal “Grits”

Grits are a breakfast staple in the South. The pudding-like ground hominy is a hearty and versatile meal. The pairing of shrimp with the mealy custard is “low-country” cooking at its finest.

While grits are made from hominy, I used stone-ground cornmeal; and though this is considered a “soft polenta”, let’s face it–  “shrimp ‘n’ grits” just has a certain ring to it.


Cornmeal “Grits” (or soft polenta)


3  cups water

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

1 Tablespoon salt

Pepper, to taste

2 Tablespoons rosemary, chopped

3 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Bring water and cornmeal to a boil, stirring constantly to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until thick. You’re looking for it to stand up when “plopped” on a plate. *

Stir in butter, parmesan and rosemary.

Paprika Shrimp


1 pound shrimp, 17 to 20 count, peeled and deveined

1/2 Tablespoons salt

1/2 Tablespoon paprika

3-4 Tablespoons butter, depending on the size of your pan

Toss shrimp with paprika and salt.

Be mindful of overcrowding your pan. I cooked my shrimp in two batches, each using 2 Tablespoons of butter. If your pan is big enough to cook the shrimp in one batch, you may only need 3 Tablespoons of butter.

Cook shrimp for two to three minutes per side, until opaque.

Serve shrimp over “grits”.

*The whole meal takes about 30 minutes to make. Cook your shrimp in the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking your grits.

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Dad’s Hot Water Cornbread and Beans

This is a real treat in our house: Hot Water Cornbread. My dad ate this dish growing up when he would visit family in Oklahoma. He says it’s “just always what we had”.

It’s definitely one of my favorite family dishes. And it’s not a pretty sight when we all get a heaping plate of this crispy, buttery cornbread and soft Great Northern beans. Dad piles beans on top of his corn bread, douses the stack in white vinegar, relish and ketchup. These aren’t required ingredients, but trust me, it’s the only way to eat this homey dish. And for dessert, Dad spreads the cornbread with a pat of butter and  Red Plum Jelly.

Dad’s Hot Water Cornbread


2 cups, or one pound, of stone ground cornmeal

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups water, boiling

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, with enough oil to cover more than the bottom of the skillet.

Mix all dry ingredients well.

Start pouring about one cup of the boiling water into the dry mixture. Stir, and add more water until mixture is pasty.

To test oil: take a small pinch of the cornbread dough and drop into the hot oil. If the oil does not bubble, turn up the heat a little, and test again. If the cornbread dough turns crispy and dark too fast, let your oil cool, and test again.

When oil is ready, roll about two tablespoons of the cornmeal mixture into a ball, and flatten.

Slowly drop into the skillet. Let fry about 2 minutes, or until golden, before flipping. Try to only flip it once, or you risk soaking up a lot of oil.

Total cook time should be about 5 minutes per patty.

Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Great Northern Beans


1 pound Great Northern beans

6 cups of water

2 cups of chicken stock

2 Tablespoons salt

1 hamhock

Salt and pepper

Rinse and sort beans.

Put beans, 2 Tablespoons of salt, and water into large pot and bring to boil.

Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat. Cover, and let sit for one hour.

Add hamhock, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

My dad is a great cook and has a comprehensive understanding of contrasting flavors and textures. He is technical, inventive and enjoys hand-making food from scratch, which has greatly inspired the way that I cook. Most importantly, he enjoys serving and pleasing others.

Happy Father’s Day!


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