I’m in love with grits. I’m enjoying them to bits. Creamy, smooth, and snowy-white, spiked with goat cheese, they’re a true delight. Brought home in my suitcase from New Orleans, I’ve served them here with peppers and beans.
(A warning before I continue: this poem is highly lame––continue only if you dare.)
There were beads, crowns, and musical acts. I ate so much food over the weekend, my pants were no longer intact. I toured the French Quarter, the Garden District too, and marvelled at houses, all technicolour––even yellow and blue.
There were dogs and doors and bicycles and flowers, a little taste of springtime, we just walked around for hours.
The best bread and butter was eaten at Coquette. The warmth, the crumb, the salty cultured cream––any better, it does not get.
At Domenica, a whole roasted cauliflower with whipped feta. A pizza too, with roasted carrots, beets, and goat cheese––my friends, it does not get any bettah.
A solo brunch at Stanley’s, I sat at the bar, eating their famous eggs benny––hold the meat. They replaced Canadian bacon with tomatoes and arugula, oh what a treat.
A selfie with Kimball in a random old timey shop; it sure was nice to spend a weekend with my busy Pop.
At Atchafalaya, I ate a fried green tomato (however, I truly prefer frites, using a potato).
On Saturday, we walked and walked, finally resting on a park bench. I was tired and dehydrated, wanting something that water alone could not quench.
It was Restaurant August on Sunday for the greatest meal of my life. I had the 5 course vegetable tasting menu, and fumbled around with my 5 specialty forks and knife. An invite into the kitchen was a dream come true, where I was greeted with a hearty cheer, in the spirit of old red, white, and blue.
It was truly exciting to experience many of the 2015 James Beard Award restaurant semifinalists in New Orleans––naturally, Kimball enjoyed them all too (a love of great food, it must be in the genes).
On Monday, it was time to get back to work, so I packed up my bags and reminisced about the weekend that had come full cirque. Of course, I couldn’t leave Louisiana without a few packages of grits. I was thrilled when I got my luggage all closed up, cheering, “Yay, it fits!”
Thanks for reading my terrible poem about New Orleans, now please enjoy this recipe with creamy grits, peppers, and beans.
Oh man, I feel like I really need to apologize for this poem-post. New Orleans is just such a highly, er, “creative” city, and it just felt right. Alas, I understand you cannot unsee it… but maybe a big bowl of grits will soothe your burnt eyeballs? I though so. Enjoy!
- For the White Beans & Peppers
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried whole oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried whole thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked mild paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cups cooked white navy beans
- For the Goat Cheese Grits
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup old fashioned white hominy grits (not instant––the variety that cooks in 15 to 20 minutes)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (more or less depending on saltiness of broth)
- 3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- Course ground black pepper, to taste (I like a lot in grits)
- Make the White Beans & Peppers: In a large high-sided skillet or enamel-coated cast iron high-sided skillet or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add oil, peppers, onion, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and spices. Sauté over medium for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add tomatoes, breaking roughly with wooden spoon. Stir in vinegar and white beans; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Make the Goat Cheese Grits: In a large pot, whisk broth, grits, and salt. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (very, very low), cover, and cook for 15 minutes, whisking every 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in goat cheese and black pepper, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until heated through. Whisk well before serving to ensure no lumps.
- To Serve: Add bed of grits to bowls and top with bean mixture. Serve immediately.