In which I deviate from the plan…

shrimp and grits.

So I made a very specific list the other day of things that I was going to make for dinner this week, so that I could go to the grocery store with the very specific list and very specific budget. I stuck to it, and got the things I needed for my meals, and then day two of the week I improvised and made something that wasn’t on the list at all, and that consisted of ingredients that, for the most part, I already had in the pantry…and by pantry I mean collection of cabinets and cold storage areas that comprise my kitchen. There is not actually a pantry, specifically. And once I got going, I did use some ingredients that I bought the other day, but this seems to be a recipe with many opportunities for improvising, so had I had a craving, and didn’t have my new ingredients, I think I could still have managed quite well.

I went running yesterday morning, which makes me hungry all day, so I was totally finished with preparing and eating dinner by 5:30. And also, just for kicks, I wrote down everything I ate yesterday, they say you are supposed to do that every once in awhile, so you can evaluate your eating habits and determine if there are things you should change. For your enjoyment, here is my list: for breakfast, a paratha roti with butter and jam, a banana and a cup of tea with honey; for a mid-morning snack, an apple and a chicken wing from the chicken I roasted the night before; for lunch, half a cuban sandwich left over from brunch on Sunday; for an appetizer, two tablespoons of hummus and ten pretzel chips, and a small handful of chocolate chips; and for dinner, shrimp and grits and a glass of red wine. And then I was craving sweets so I had a marshmallow peep that I received as part of a care package awhile back. It was either that or make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, which I considered ill-advised. Throughout the day I also consumed a liter of carbonated water. That is an eclectic mix. Perhaps I should send this to a nutritionist, I imagine they would have something to say.

just the beginning...

Shrimp and grits are easy, quick and adaptable, and I took some liberties, so Southerners, if this is an appalling bastardization of the original, I am okay with that. I cooked the grits in milk and water, with a rind of parmesan cheese stuck in there for fun, then I added cheddar at the end. The shrimp I did with bacon, butter, shallots (should have used more-I adjusted the recipe accordingly) tomato paste and scallions, and dinner was served. If I had an open bottle of white wine I would have used that, and I could have used onion instead of shallot, or diced or canned tomatoes instead of tomato paste, and I could have added red pepper for spice or smoked paprika for a little spanish kick…try it, be adventurous. Whatever you do, make this soon, because it is easy and delicious.


Shrimp and Grits (serves 2)

For the grits:

1/2 cup coarse ground grits/cornmeal

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 cup grated cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice

parmesan rind (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

For the shrimp:

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 slices thick cut bacon, cut in half inch pieces

1 tbl butter

2 shallots, halved and sliced thin

4 tsp tomato paste

2 scallions, white and green parts sliced thin, dark green parts reserved for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

For the grits:

Bring the water and milk to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat. Whisk in the grits and add the parmesan rind and a pinch of salt and pepper. Return to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, and let simmer and thicken, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes. As the grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp.

For the shrimp:

Brown the bacon pieces over medium heat in a heavy frying pan. When browned, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the butter and shallots, and let shallots soften for about a minute. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, you may want to add about a tbl of water or white wine to help create a sauce. Add the shrimp and cook for four or five minutes, turning once, until they are pink on both sides. Return the bacon to the pan and add the white and light green scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for 30 seconds to combine. Plate over the grits and serve, garnishing with the dark green scallion tops.

One thought on “In which I deviate from the plan…

  1. I am about to head out and see a movie but thought I would read a posting. The 30th is my birthday so I thought why not. I loved shrimp and grits when I lived in Chapel Hill but never thought to make it. Now I am inspired. I loved your bravery to share your daily food intake. I have not done that in a while but am sure that certain days would be a real shock to me and anyone that read it.
    I hope you had a good day and the kitchen is spick and span.

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