My sister and I recently had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by Kentucky CommonGround. Armed with the mission to start a conversation between women who grow food and women who buy it, Kentucky CommonGround ensured that my sister and I were in for quite a treat. Over a dinner filled with Kentucky proud ingredients, we engaged in dynamic and open conversation about farming, the current state of our 'food' system and our general assumptions or concerns regarding everything food related. I absolutely loved it. I took away many things from that evening but what still sticks with me, what I have the utmost respect for, are the women farmers I met that night. The pride and compassion they expressed over our dinner of Peach-Bourbon-Sorghum Lacquered Pork Chops was contagious and inspiring. From the dairy farmer, to the beef-cattle farmer to the vegetable farmer, a pervasive and contagious dedication was conveyed. They take what they produce seriously and loved answering my many questions, no matter how basic they seemed. It made me proud to be a Kentuckian, proud of our land and what we produce. And of all the delicious local treats we sampled that evening, my favorite had to be the Weisenberger Grits served in perfect partnership with Kenny's Cheddar Cheese. I was going to have to recreate this at home. Paired with our favorite Foxhollow Farm ribeye, this was a lovely and straightforward weeknight dinner, made entirely of ingredients we could not only define but locate within our state. I look forward to getting to know the ladies of CommonGround better and to discovering the wonderful food they produce with their own, trusted hands. Now that is something I can feel good about.
Aren't these grits beautiful? I am a bit ashamed to admit but, I have little to no experience with this Southern staple. They could not be easier to prepare and can take on so many flavors. I see many kitchen experiments fueled by grits in my future! Begin by bringing one and one half cups whole milk and one and one half cups water to a boil. Add one half tsp kosher salt and three quarters of a cup of grits. The Weisenberger grits were beautiful and rich - I highly recommend them! Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly. Once bubbles begin to form, reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to cook for 20 - 25 minutes.
While the grits slowly simmer away, move on to the cheese. And not just any cheese. Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese. The cheddar is rich and earthy with a firm but creamy consistency. Delicious!
You will need one and one half cups of freshly grated cheddar. No whining - arm workouts are good for us!
The grits are ready! Once the liquid has been absorbed but the texture is still creamy it is time to add the cheese. But first we want to make sure the seasonings are where they should be. Add an additional one half tsp kosher salt, one half tsp freshly ground black pepper, and one quarter tsp red pepper flakes.
Stir to combine. The red pepper flakes won't add spice, but just a lovely warmth, enhancing the depth of flavor.
Now for the cheese! In small additions and over very low heat, add the cheese and mix to incorporate.
Rich, wholesome and tasty. Paired with a pan-seared Foxhollow Farm Ribeye and our dinner was complete. Brought to you by Kentucky. Take a bow farmers, it was wonderful!
Continue reading for the ingredient list and step-by-step directions!
- one and one half cups whole milk
- one and one half cups water
- one tsp kosher salt, divided
- three quarters of a cup Weisenberger Mills grits
- one and one half cups Kenny's Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
- one half tsp freshly ground black pepper
- one quarter tsp red pepper flakes
- fresh parsley for garnish
Begin by bringing one and one half cups whole milk and one and one half cups water to a boil. Add one half tsp kosher salt and three quarters of a cup of grits. Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly. Once bubbles begin to form, reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to cook for 20 - 25 minutes. Once the liquid has been absorbed but the texture is still creamy add the remaining kosher salt, the freshly ground black pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Add the cheese in small additions and over very low heat, mixing to incorporate. Serve immediately with parsley for garnish.