Monday, November 3, 2008

Jalapeno Cheese Grits

and a cast iron skillet...


Jalapeno Cheese Grits
Serves 4-6 (or one homesick Texan)

4 cups water
1 cup quick Grits (not instant)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar, or Raw Goat Cheddar
2 small Jalapenos, diced, leave the seeds in  if you can take the heat
1/4 small onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground pepper

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat,  saute Jalapeno, onions and garlic in butter for 3-4 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, slowly whisk in Grits and stir for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and continue to cook and stir for an additional 7-10 minutes.  Add Cheese and fresh ground pepper, taste and adjust seasonings.  Add a few more pats of butter if you wish or more cheese too.
**For creamy Jalapeno Grits, add a few tablespoons of cream with the cheese and serve as is.

**For Baked Jalapeno Grits, add 1 or two beaten eggs once the grits have cooled, pour into a buttered baking dish, top with additional cheese and bake for 30-45 minutes @ 350 degrees

**For Crispy Grits (see photo), Pour grits into a buttered pan and allow to cool in the fridge for several hours or overnight.  Slice Grits into desired shapes and brown on a hot skillet with a dot of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Do not turn until you see the edges turning brown, even then, wait a bit more..what you are looking for are The Tasty Bits, or a good crust to develop.

Chef Deb 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shiner Bock Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Excuse Me Ma'am, your Texas is showing...... 


I come from a long line of proud Texans. My father's family immigrated to New Braunfels, Texas , from Germany, in 1844. To this day, if I am in the Texas Hill Country you can be sure I will run into a cousin, uncle or aunt.  As big as Texas is, it always feels small to me. You never run into a stranger, and people strike up a conversation for no apparent reason what so ever. 

I am embarrassed to admit this, but I spent most of my life trying to leave Texas.  From the early age of 6, while captivated with Julia Child, and later Jeff Smith's tours of the world of food, I knew I needed to experience more then my home state had to offer. I read books about the world, planned out my education, worked hard to eliminate my accent and rarely used  Texas-isms, such as, " fix'in ta"," gonna", and "cuz". With great difficulty I finally abandoned the last Texan/Southern identifier, the all too familiar, "ya'll".

Sure, I slip a bit when I speak to my 82 year old grandma, 'cuz' her accent is as thick as they come. But all in all, I was always proud when someone mentioned my lack of the typical Texas accent.  That was until this last trip back. 

When Teresa and I were leaving the plane, the flight attendant said, "Bye, Ya'll".

As we walked back into the terminal, the counter attendant said, "bye, you guys".

Quietly behind me, I heard Teresa say, "I liked "Ya'll" better".

 Then it hit me.  

Me too my friend, me too.


Beer and potatoes? You bet!  I remember making these when I worked at the very first Central Market in Austin, Texas.  Shiner Bock is a good German style beer, but you can use our local, Pandora's Bock by Breckenridge Brewery or Yo Han Bock by Dillion Dam Brewery.

                        Shiner Bock Garlic Mashed Potatoes
serves 4-6

2 lb. small-medium Local Red skinned potatoes, washed
8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk, milk, 1/2 & 1/2, or cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup Shiner Bock, or a local Bock Style beer.
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper
melted butter (optional, but use it anyway)

Place potatoes and garlic in a 4 quart pot and cover with cold water. Turn heat to high and boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserts very easily.
Drain Potatoes and garlic. While potatoes are still hot mash them using a mixer or potato masher.  Next add butter, buttermilk, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, Fresh ground pepper and half the beer, mix for about 10-15 seconds (over mixing, makes potatoes "gluey"). Taste and add more beer if you want a richer flavor. Adjust seasonings and drizzle the top with melted butter.

Leftovers can be turned into potato cakes or into a Bock Potato Cheese Soup

Chef Deb

P.S. I have to get these next two recipes out of my system before I can return to local Colorado Farm to Table recipes: 
*Jalapeno Cheese Grits
*King Ranch Chicken Casserole 

Catching up, Cheese Class...Cookbook Winner!

"Catching up" is the theme for this week.

Missed calls, dozens of emails, appointments to schedule, holiday parties to create menu's for and deadlines for upcoming classes, blah, blah, blah.... But all these take a back seat when someone in the house is not feeling well, and in our case, I have two someones. My daughter's have two unrelated ailments, and I know, as sure as the sun rises, they will eventually swap bugs.

So, while I am jotting down dozens of ideas and recipes to share, I am busy making soothing garlic soup (it's more of a broth, really) for one child. Of course, the other wants chicken noodle soup with extra noodles (but only the special thick chewy ones)..fresh ginger ale, plain baguettes and hand rolled crackers. I always feel helpless when those around me are not well, and I compensate for those feelings by concentrating on special items. I firmly believe in the adage: Food is love (and it keeps me busy).

Cheese Class:
This trip was well worth the time and effort! I met some wonderful people, ate incredible food, explored and shared my home state with my good friend Teresa AND learned a great deal on cheese making. I will share it all later this week.


This was one of our "must stop" places. We actually ate there two days in a row, and traveled over 60 miles to eat there the second day. Monument Cafe. Georgetown, Texas! They support local farmers and producers and are well worth the drive if you happen to find yourself in Austin. Ya'll will thank me later, promise.

Cookbook Winner!

Emily Kintzel has won, BakeWise, by Shirley Corriher. Congratulations!

I had so much fun with this and Thank you to all who responded.

I will not be able to do this every month, but I thought a few more books for November and December would be exciting.

November's book is, Martha Stewart's Cooking School. Drawing ends November 30.

There has been a new genre of cookbook emerging in the last year or so. If you have noticed, many are going "back to basics". It makes sense, with all the news on the economic state of our nation, to go back to simple things. I have always been a bit bothered by cooking classes and books that teach "recipes" as I feel you need to know "Techniques". Martha's new book brings those techniques to you and of course, "It's a good thing". Everyone who sent me an email will still be on the list for this month.  Good luck!

Chef Deb