Category Archives: breakfast

No Grits, No Glory

No Grits, No Glory¬†is the title of a book (Southern Ghost Story #1) by my author friend, Elaine Calloway. She lives in Georgia, so I’m assuming she likes to eat grits as much as she likes writing about them. Elaine, if you drop in for a visit, I’ll cook you some. ūüėČ

I’ve revised my method of cooking grits since I bought my first electric programmable pressure cooker, and grits are now a regular dish on the menu in my home. Here’s how I do it.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Grits

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup grits (NOT instant! No self-respecting Southerner eats instant grits.)
  • 4 cups + 1 Tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. Preheat your pressure cooker, either stovetop or electric. Add butter to melt.
  2. Add grits and stir. Add salt.
  3. Carefully pour in water and gently stir.
  4. Seal cooker and bring to pressure (or if electric, set for 7 minutes).
  5. Cook under pressure 5 minutes stovetop, 7 minutes electric. Then immediately remove from heat (or hit “cancel” on your electric cooker.
  6. Allow pressure to drop on its own (referred to as “NPR” or natural pressure release.)
  7. Carefully open the pot. Using a long handled spoon, stir vigorously until grits thicken (Be patient. This can take a minute.)
  8. Serve immediately, or melt in 1/2 cup cheese for cheese grits. ¬†CAUTION: Grits will continue to thicken, so if you aren’t serving immediately, delay opening your cooker. Evaporation doesn’t start until you break the vacuum seal on the cooker.

Pressure cooking grits takes as long as cooking them on the range, but it’s easier. You’re free to prepare the rest of your meal instead of standing over an open pot stirring. I’ll take that trade any day.

There you have it. Be sure and check out Elaine’s book No Grits No Glory for more Southern flavor. It’s a fun read. I’m ready to tackle the entire Southern Ghosts series now.

And remember, y’all don’t have to be Southern to enjoy a bowl of grits. ūüėȬ†

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HASTY TASTY STEEL-CUT OATS

I like my grains whole and my food fiber high, so I decided to try steel cut oats for my morning oatmeal. Steel cut oats take a long time to cook. There are even recipes for slow cooking them overnight so they’re ready to eat the next morning. That isn’t my idea of a Hasty Tasty Meal.

Then I read an article about pressure cooking steel cut oats. I’ve been a pressure cooker enthusiast since the early 1970s, so this article got my attention. Now I eat steel cut oats for breakfast, and my oatmeal cooks in minutes. From start to finish, my oatmeal is ready in half the time it would take to cook stovetop, and I don’t have to stand over the pot and stir.

Here’s my recipe for a single bowl of oatmeal. (Note: Do NOT use the directions on the box of steel

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cut oats. You need only a 1:3 oats/water ratio when cooking under pressure because steam is trapped and there’s no evaporation.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water for the pressure cooker

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooker pot.
  2. In a microwave-oven-safe bowl (my old Corelle works just fine), combine steel cut oats, water, and salt. 
  3. Place bowl on a rack or trivet (Most pressure cookers have either a trivet or steaming basket accessory you can use to keep the bowl above the water)
  4. According to your manufacturer’s instructions, close the lid and bring to pressure. After it reaches pressure, lower heat just to maintain pressure and time for 5 minutes. (If using an electric model, select 8* minutes on the timer)
  5. Allow pressure to drop naturally (approximately 15 minutes).
  6. Quick-release remaining pressure according to your pot’s manufacturer’s instructions, carefully remove the lid, and then lift the bowl from inside the pot (I use silicone mittens for this as the bowl will be hot).
  7. Stir the oatmeal until thickened. 
  8. Sweeten as desired. Enjoy!

To make 4 servings, use the pressure cooker pot and combine 1 cup oats with 3 cups water. Add 1/4 tsp. salt. Also, add a teaspoon of butter, if desired. Follow the same time and pressure as for one serving. Stir and then serve directly from the pot. Makes 4 one-cup servings.

For creamier grits, cook 12-15 minutes under pressure. Allow pressure to drop on its own. It’s not faster than traditional methods, but it’s easier because you don’t have to babysit the pan.¬†

*The pressure is slightly higher in stovetop pressure cookers, which is why I suggest a longer cook time for electric models.

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Happy National Donut Day!

NOT-SO-NAUGHTY DONUTS

Re-posted in honor of National Donut Day.

 

Sift powdered sugar & cocoa over donuts

Sift powdered sugar & cocoa over donuts

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Not-too-naughty Cinnamon Swirl Muffins 

100_1272I enjoy a muffin, but often they are dense and heavy. If I splurge and indulge, I want a yummy and light treat. After experimenting with recipes, I settled on one that we¬†love. The extra baking powder makes them light and airy. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of butter. Spread over twelve servings, it’s not too decadent yet adds flavor. One muffin won’t wreck your daily calorie count. One.¬†

RECIPE

Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

Makes 12

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray the cups of a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. fine salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

In a separate bowl, whisk:

  • 1 egg (room temperature, beaten)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1¬†stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pour liquid ingredients into the dry. Whisk just until batter is smooth. Don’t over-beat. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I use light, but dark brown works as well)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Fill each muffin cup with batter just shy of halfway. Add 1 tsp. cinnamon-brown sugar mixture to each muffin. Layer 1 Tbsp. batter followed by 1 tsp cinnamon-brown sugar mixture. Using a knife or skewer, swirl batter with the cinnamon-brown sugar.

Place muffin pan on the center rack of oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin tests clean. Remove muffins and cool on a rack.

100_1271

Light and airy, cinnamon swirl muffins are perfect for breakfast or anytime.

Apologies to my gluten-intolerant friends. I failed at making a gluten-free version of this recipe, but I’ll keep experimenting in my lab–, er, kitchen.

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NOT-SO-NAUGHTY DONUTS

Sift powdered sugar & cocoa over donuts

Sift powdered sugar & cocoa over donuts

We enjoy donuts (or doughnuts, if we’re being formal), but they aren’t on our healthy eating plan. All things in moderation, though, right? So occasionally I make us a batch of not-so-naughty donuts. They’re healthier than the donut shop’s because they are baked, not deep-fried. And yet they’re very tasty. Try them and see for yourself. (You may use a boxed cake mix if you want, but this recipe isn’t difficult.)¬†Donuts freeze well. If you aren‚Äôt serving all twelve at once, cool extra¬†donuts completely (don’t glaze). Seal in a plastic bag and freeze. Thaw and prepare glaze before serving.

RECIPE

Not-so-naughty Donuts
Yields 12
Tools: Mixing bowl and nonstick donut baking pans (I recommend American Pans brand, or  Norpro).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¬ĺ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¬ĺ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup cinnamon¬†(or your choice) chips + ¬ľ cup milk for glaze

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325¬įF.
  2. Lightly coat baking pan donut molds with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Beat until well blended.
  5. Fill each donut mold ¬ĺ full with the batter.
  6. Bake in preheated oven approximately 10 minutes or until batter tests clean with an inserted toothpick.
  7. While donuts bake, make glaze by combining chips and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 1-minute increments, stirring to form the glaze.*
  8. Remove donuts from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in pan.
  9. Move donuts from the pans to a cooling rack.
  10. Dip donuts in the glaze and serve.

*If glaze is too tight, add additional milk to thin. 100_1201100_1202100_1203100_1204100_1205

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