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The Vegetarian

Grits Can Be Dressed Up for Dinner

August 25, 1988|DIANA SHAW | Shaw is a free-lance writer in Los Angeles.

Traditionally grits are considered a breakfast food. But the cereal--actually hulled corn kernels, dried and cracked--can be dressed up for dinner.

The following dinner-time treatment is an adaptation of a suggestion from the "Wholefood Catalog" by Nava Atlas (Fawcett, 1988).

GRITS WITH FRESH CORN AND TOMATOES

3 cups water

3/4 cups grits

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 small green pepper, diced

2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles

1 pound Italian plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 cups cooked fresh corn kernels, cut from 2 to 3 ears

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or combination Cheddar and Jack cheeses

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slowly sprinkle in grits, stirring to avoid lumps. Lower heat immediately and cook over very low heat, stirring often, until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan. Saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add green pepper and saute until tender. Add canned green chiles and tomatoes. Saute 5 to 7 minutes more until tender. Stir in corn, cumin, oregano and season to taste with pepper.

When grits are cooked, stir into skillet. Sprinkle cheese over top, fold in and continue cooking until cheese melts. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Regular or long-cooking grits taste of sweet creamed corn, while instant grits have virtually no flavor.

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