Corn is another food that America gave to the rest of the world. Can you imagine what the food cultures of today would be like with no corn? Farmers depend on it for feed, and we consume tons of it in countless ways. Southern tables would be particularly hard hit. No boiled corn, no grits, no creamed corn, no cornbread! Oh my, what a tragedy that would be.
My favorite way to prepare corn is in cornbread and grits. I will share the recipes later, but what is most important is how old is the cornmeal or grits you are using? Just like those spices you have in your pantry, ground corn has a shelf life and becomes less and less delicious over time. If you are buying cornmeal and grits at the store, there is no way to tell, but I can assure you that the fresher it is, the better what you are making is going to be.
But there is a solution to this problem. Original Grit Girl buys their corn from a farmer’s co-op in Houston, Mississippi, grids it one day, and ships it the next. You just can’t find fresher grits and cornmeal anywhere. The problem is that OGG only sells wholesale, selling to almost two hundred restaurants all across the country. But OGG makes one exception in south Mississippi, and that is at the Saturday morning Fresh Market in Ocean Springs.
Robert Sweeting is the vendor, and he usually has samples of grits to try, so please do. I think you are going to be really surprised. When you buy OGG grits or cornmeal keep them in the refrigerator if you are not going to use them right away. If you think it will be a long time, freeze them. But, what a pity that would be! Use them right away, it is the freshness that makes all the difference.
¾ cup OGG corn meal
¼ cups self-rising flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp bacon grease
Preheat oven to 425 f. Combine all ingredients, except the bacon grease. Add the grease to a cast iron pan, heat till smoking, carefully pour in the mixture, leave on stovetop for just a min, remove and bake 15-20 min, till cornbread is well browned.
I like to add crispy fried bacon, cheese, whole corn, and jalapenos to my cornbread, it Adds a nice, spicy touch.
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup OGG grits
2 cups of good melting cheese, cheddar, or gruyere
Combine broth and cream, bring to a simmer and whisk in grits. Cooking time varies, but plan on at least 20 min. Cook lid on. Just before they are done add the cheese.
Shrimp and grits are my favorite way to serve grits. I pour the finished grits into ramekins, it does so much for the presentation. Sauté onions and bell peppers in butter, add the shrimp, and fresh tomato. Pour over the grit cakes, just remember to not overcook the shrimp!