My Grits Runneth Over
June 9, 2014 10:24 PM   Subscribe

Due to a miscommunication, my wife and I each bought a giant carton of quick-cooking grits for a recipe that used about half a cup. I hate to waste food, but I'm a Yankee and not in the habit of a bowl of grits for breakfast. What can I make with this avalanche of grits?

Complication: I'm eating mostly vegan at the moment for health reasons, so shrimp and grits and cheese grits are off the table.
posted by murphy slaw to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you have your receipt, you could return one of the cartons. Or just treat the grits like polenta.
posted by aniola at 10:26 PM on June 9, 2014

You could cook it all up and then scatter it all over the yard, feeding the birds. Birds love grits.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:42 PM on June 9, 2014

Cornmeal, oatmeal, barley, etc. are all variations on rice for me, so I would cook it, season it with stock, and serve as a side.

If you bake bread / buns / etc. you can use it as an anti-stick powder: less floury than flour.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:01 PM on June 9, 2014

It's not like grits go bad. Maybe you just have a lifetime supply? Given adequate storage space, of course.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:17 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Before cooking, the only real difference between polenta and grits is the color. Polenta's made with yellow corn, grits with white corn. Find any recipe for "polenta cakes" that pleases you and go nuts. Since you're doing vegan, your polenta cakes will be denser, since dairy is what makes grits creamy, even as a cake. But the good side of a dense polenta cake is that they're great for things like reheating or even breading and frying. You can do a few different batches with different flavor mix-ins like herbs and onions or even a sweet one with a little honey and rosemary. Cut into circles or squares as you desire. They're good to grill, too! Top with anything at all. Classic would involve a vegetable ragout or a fried egg, but use them basically as a bread or potato replacement. Sweet ginger stir fry topping, tabbouleh topping, baked up as croutons on a salad or on a soup, spread with spicy black beans, smeared with a little almond butter with some apples... All of these would be yummy.
posted by Mizu at 11:24 PM on June 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

How about you make a giant bowl of grits— bear with me here— and invite your friends over on a Sunday for a nice potluck brunch?
posted by a halcyon day at 12:13 AM on June 10, 2014

grits = polenta

*cue music*


(Seriously, unless you find polenta severely unappetizing, just eat the grits. They are delicious, and said deliciousness knows nothing of the Mason-Dixon Line. A lot of Northerners sneer at grits as they happily tuck into overpriced polenta dishes in gourmet Northern Italian restaurants. Don't be that Yankee. Eat the grits. Grits are also nonperishable and will last basically until they go weevilly. You don't have to eat grits every day for a year or anything, just whenever polenta sounds nice.)
posted by Sara C. at 12:25 AM on June 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

Cut your problem in half: I'm assuming one box is opened, one still sealed, yes? Donate the still-sealed box to a food bank.
posted by easily confused at 2:17 AM on June 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

Grits without meat and cheese are pretty dire IMO, but you can deep fry cooked grits.. just let them cool, then slice them, dip them in batter and fry them.
posted by empath at 3:49 AM on June 10, 2014

grits = polenta

posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:03 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you tried the grits? I was surprised recently to discover, hey, these aren't that bad. If you legitimately didn't like them, can you explain what about the grits you disliked? Flavor, texture, etc.?
posted by J. Wilson at 5:19 AM on June 10, 2014

Cornbread, cornbread, cornbread.

Use in place of cornmeal in all baking, or for breading anything you fry such as fish.
posted by epanalepsis at 5:55 AM on June 10, 2014

Donate the unopened canister to a food bank.

Vegan Tamales! Substitute the Masa Harina with Grits.

Good News, while kind of a project to make, they freeze BEAUTIFULLY!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:45 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of Northerners sneer at grits as they happily tuck into overpriced polenta dishes in gourmet Northern Italian restaurants. Don't be that Yankee.

Ack! Ha ha; I guess I'm "that Yankee." I'd never really thought about the similarity between polenta and grits before, and this thread has been humbling/informative.

I think that many look askance at grits because they are associated with breakfast. And whenever I was served them as a kid, when visiting the southern half of the US, they were really bland (e.g. served plain, with maybe butter, salt, and pepper). They were like hot cereal, but without the benefit of the sweet/salty garnish associated with other hot cereals (butter, brown sugar, etc).

It's entirely possible that I was eating at the wrong peoples' homes. But regardless, the idea of treating grits like polenta certainly opens up a new world of possibilities. Good luck in your explorations, OP!
posted by credible hulk at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Time to be horribly pedantic—grits and polenta aren't the same thing. Grits are usually hominy grits, made with nixtamalized (lye-treated, shelled) corn. Polenta comes from dried flint corn. They have different mouthfeels; to my taste, grits are a lot "fluffier", even when loaded down with cream and butter, and they taste different too—to me polenta tastes more like pure corn; grits taste more like masa and other hominy products.

That's pretty hair-splitty, though, and functionally you can use them in many of the same preparations. If you get tired of eating mush, you can always pour it into a greased tray, let it set, and cut up fryable/grillable corn cakes.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:24 AM on June 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Make this Pumpkin polenta with chorizo-black bean topping. Sub in soyrizo (trader joe's has a good house brand), oil/earth balance for butter, veg stock and skip cheese or go with vegan cheese. The pumpkin adds back what a mountain of butter/dairy is lacking from a plain bowl of grits.

A chunky tomato/roast veg sauce is awesome on this too.

Also, it won't go bad. You can keep it in the freezer if you'd prefer, but just use it as you would cornmeal.
posted by fontophilic at 8:26 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wait! Yankee Grits is a thing. Just mix in some maple syrup and butter, dried fruit, fresh fruit, or jam, and you can preserve your Yankee Sensibilities.

(I am a generations deep into Yankee-dom and I had never had Southern-style grits until I moved to Atlanta.)
posted by functionequalsform at 8:56 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mix it, pour it in a tray to set, either bake or fry it and use it as a base for a flavourful sauce laden dish. Grits may or may not be the same as polenta, I'm no expert, but I've used them the the same way and the taste is slightly different they work fine.
posted by wwax at 12:10 PM on June 10, 2014

I love savory, soft mushrooms cooked with wine or dark beer over polenta. Try this Ottolenghi recipe for mushroom ragout; substitute a bowl of grits for the sourdough croutons and skip the poached egg on top, as the recipe is otherwise vegan.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2014

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