I mentioned last year that while we don’t do much for Valentines Day, we do a little something. I like to cook dinner and surprise Dan with a fun dessert. Nothing big, it’s mostly sentimental because our first Valentines Day as a couple was the first time I got the courage to tell Dan (in writing) that I wanted to spend my life with him. It was a big deal, complete with out of season sunflowers that he spent a fortune on and a nice dinner. I like to keep the tradition going (sans expensive flowers), so this year we dined on red wine braised short ribs, truffle infused mushroom grits, and a creme brulee (my first, a check off the life list). It was lovely, romantic, and totally delicious.
I decided I wanted to do short ribs pretty early on because I think that food is its sexiest when it is fall off the bone good. Flavor that is rich and deep and makes you close your eyes while you enjoy it is way more appealing than any number of the things that I’ve seen served on this most “romantic” of holidays. The last time I made these short ribs I served them with my potatoes au gratin but we’ve been a little potatoed out lately, so I thought I’d go towards another member of the starch family, the grit. I opted for mushrooms because I use them with the ribs and because they give a great woody, earthy flavor to the grits.
I hate writing about food in the context of romance because everything you say about really intense food also makes for innuendo, double entendre, and overall gutter brain. Which may be why so many television food personalities make me uncomfortable. It’s hard to talk about how good food can be without it coming off a little naughty (I’m looking at you Giada. And you too Ina). To be fair to the dish though, there is something sensual about a good meal. The way it warms you up, makes you feel like it’s hugging you? In my mind there are the kinds of good foods that you say wow! this is delicious, I love taco night and the kinds of good foods that make you close your eyes, tilt your head back, and groan. For the sake of keeping it PG you should bug your eyes out like Paula Deen does every time she tries something good.
Anyway, this post is quickly making me uncomfortable so I’ll cut it short by saying this- these grits are awesome, you should try them. And now that Valentine’s Day is past, you can make these anytime. Grits are for lovers, but also for weeknights. And I hope you had a happy Anna Howard Shaw Day. And that you’re enjoying the snow, if you’ve been getting it. Unless this apocalyptic weather has you freaking out, in which case totally call me because DUDE ME TOO. I think I need to buy snow pants. And boots. And a shovel. And plane tickets to Costa Rica.
Truffled Mushroom Grits
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 cup grits
2 tbsp butter
4 pieces of bacon
1 cup button mushrooms
3 tbsp white truffle oil
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
Bring water and milk to a boil. Stir in butter and salt. Stir in grits, cover, and drop to a simmer. Cook on a simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick.
Cook your bacon, and set it aside. Reserve 1 tbsp grease. Combine with 1 tbsp truffle oil and set the pan over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until brown. Stir the mushrooms, their juices, and the remaining truffle oil into the grits. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve.