Friday, March 28, 2014

My mom thinks I'm cool!

Hey ya'll,
So I shared a few months ago that I relocated and a boat load of changes have occurred in my life. A super huge adjustment that I'm having in my new location is finding good food outside of my home. Apparently once you leave the south seasoning your food is optional rather than expected. Even chain restaurants taste different! Go figure. 

Now, that I'm sure it's not just isolated incidents, I have decided that the cravings I have no place to satisfy will be satisfied in my own kitchen. If I play my cards right and experiment my butt off I should be able to establish rather impressive skills in various styles of food. I guess instead of spending the thousands upon thousands of dollars on formal culinary training I am going to learn the best way I know how.....through trial and error. 

Yesterday I stuck with my Southern roots but got really creative with this vegetarian brunch item. Savory salt and pepper cheese grits topped with a kale and black bean sauté. This was literally a craving for savory grits and no desire for meat thrown together from whatever was in the fridge. I don't believe in having to run out to the store for specialized items every time I want to eat something tasty. If I'm following a specific recipe that I'm unfamiliar with, then sure. But if I'm just being creative, then what better way to challenge myself than to use only what I have on hand?

One of the biggest downsides to my creations is that I don't measure anything. I cook by my senses: taste, smell, sight, sound, touch. While eating this my mother asked me: "How do you come up with these dishes? How do you know the different flavors will all go together?" My response: "I don't know, I can sort of taste it in my head." 

Ha! I know that sounds weird but it's true. I can literally almost smell the dish I'm imagining and the different flavors all seem to wrap up together for me mentally. But I digress. 

I started with 1/4 of a small yellow onion, about 1/2 cup of diced carrot, 1 large clove of garlic, and 3 cups of chopped kale (I ended up adding more than what was in the bag pictured). 
I didn't have any stone ground grits on hand, plus those take a long time to cook and we were hungry, so I used to 5 minute quick cooking grits in the cabinet. 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water to 1/2 cup of grits. 
After sautéing the onion, carrot, and garlic in about 2 tsp of olive oil until they we tender, I added the kale. Once the kale began to wilt I tossed in 1 cup of leftover canned black beans. 

The black beans simply needed to be warmed through, which only took about 2-3 additional minutes. 
I stirred my grits occasionally and turned the flame down to low. I had a single slice of provolone cheese left and decided to use that since I was fresh out of Parmesan. I placed the slice of provolone on top of the grits to allow for melting and ground black pepper over the top of the pot. After stirring the grits I tasted to see if more salt was needed. When you do this keep in mind that your veggies should be seasoned with salt also and you don't want everything to be overwhelming once it all comes together. 

You will soon find out that I love eating from bowls and large mugs. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because I prefer to eat anywhere other than the dinner table when I'm at home so that I can sit with my legs curled undeneath me. (My mother calls me country, but if I'm home I want comfort Lol)
A big scoop into a large mug or bowl and then a pat of butter to stir into the grits. 
Topped the grits with my veggie sauté and that was it. Altogether it took maybe 15 minutes. The longest part was chopping the carrot and onions. This meal served 2 and we were definitely satisfied. Even the one who never feels her meal is quite complete unless she has meat (my mother). Lol

I recommend a glass of your favorite juice just to allow a sweet and savory balance to the meal. If anyone decides to try this please let me know what you think. My mom thought it was good. Lol
Peace and Namste Ya'll
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