Hi! I’m Gourmet Mommy’s first guest poster – her sister. I guess that makes me a gourmet auntie, although I’m also a mom. My son (hereafter referred to as The Bear) is 10 months old, just a few weeks older than his cousin, Baby K.
We live in South Carolina, and I’d like to bust some stereotypes and tell you that Southern food isn’t all grits and turnip greens, but that’s exactly what we had for dinner tonight. Guess I’ll have to leave the stereotype busting to another day. This week was the first week of our CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program. We’ve been subscribing for a couple years now, and I always miss it when it’s unavailable in the winter. One of the best things about participating in a CSA is that it encouragees you to eat in season, and forces you to cook with things you might normally not pick out at the grocery store yourself.
I was not a huge fan of greens before joining the CSA, but I’ve learned to cook them well enough to enjoy them now. You can’t go wrong with sauteeing in olive oil with a little garlic and some kind of pork product. Tonight’s meal was inspired by a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, one of my favorite cookbooks. He calls it Grits Gratin with Arugula and Garlic, but I improvised with what I had on hand.
I started by cooking a 1/2 cup grits according to the package directions. It should only take about 15 minutes, then pour into a flat dish or plate to cool and solidify. Then saute a link of hot Italian sausage until brown, and add about 1/2 cup diced onion. Once the onion is softened, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic. About a minute later, toss in the washed and chopped turnip greens (stems removed), and 2 tblsp. balsamic vinegar. Wilt the turnip greens – this won’t take long. Add one diced tomato toward the end, if you like.
Pour the turnip green mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut the now-solid grits into squares and arrange them on top of the greens. Pour a little bit of marinara sauce over the grit squares (we had some leftover from the other night – you could also skip the tomatoes in the greens and use a can of diced tomatoes here). Top with shredded mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese. Cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Serve!
Unfortunately this wasn’t a very Bear-friendly dish. He had applesauce. But you may have noticed some parsnips in the photo above. I’ll be making a parsnip-potato puree later this week, for us all to enjoy. Possible second guest-post? Maybe…