Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guinea Hog Forge

If you're looking for info on Scott's bladesmithing, please check out our new Guinea Hog Forge blog. I have transferred any posts about Scott's knife making to this site.

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Home Grown Grits

Mr. Tipton from My Cousin Vinny said it best, "No self respectin' southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits." We take pride in our grits too. So much pride that we've taken to producing our own. This year we grew Wapsi Valley corn for making pig feed, grits and corn meal. It is an open pollinated variety of corn that naturally comes in two colors - gold and blood red. You can buy Wapsi Valley corn meal online, but the only way to get WV grits is to grow the corn and grind it yourself.

The corn grew beautifully all summer without any complications, and in September we harvested the ears once they had dried on the stalk. Then it was off to the shop to air dry for a month before shelling. We used two shelling methods - by hand (which takes a while, can lead to blisters, and elicits a fair amount of whining from children) and with a old time hand crank sheller (much more fun!). After the corn was shelled, we let it sit a while before grinding (the drier the corn, the better it grinds). We also ground it by two methods - old school hand crank and new school Kitchen Aid. For corn meal (which is ground very fine) the Kitchen Aid grinder ruled. For grits (course grind), the hand crank was actually faster.

Both the Wapsi Valley grits and WV corn meal are fantastic. We had shrimp and grits the Saturday after Thanksgiving along with homemade corn bread (made with pork cracklins'). The flavor of both was outstanding and very different from anything you can buy at the grocery store. Check out the red flecking in the corn meal.


Prep. Time: 7 months (1.5 hours if you simply buy some real grits; instant grits NOT allowed)

Serves: 12


3 cups Wapsi Valley grits (corn grown, shelled and coarse ground at home); Moss' Grits will substitute

1/2 stick butter

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

20 multiplier onions (like a green salad onion)

1 pound bacon

4 lbs head-off fresh North Carolina shrimp (shelled)

1/4 cup lemon juice

Kosher salt (to taste - the grits take a lot)

Black pepper (to taste)

Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Grits: add 12 cups cold water to grits, bring to a boil and put on simmer for at least 45 minutes; stir constantly; add salt, butter, black pepper and cheese to grits 5 minutes before serving; the grits take a lot of salt, but add slowly and taste often to avoid over salting

Shrimp: fry bacon until crispy; remove bacon from pan; chop onions, discarding the top third; add the white part of the chopped onions to pan; sautee onions in hot grease at medium high until tender; crumble bacon and add back to pan; add the green part of the onions, the shelled shrimp, lemon juice, cayenne pepper & salt; cook until shrimp turns pink (only a minute or two) stirring constantly.

Serve shrimp over grits and enjoy! Happy eating from Bluefield Acres!