Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Shrimp and Grits

One of the meals that I most enjoy making and one of the recipes that I am always proud to serve is shrimp and grits.  This recipe has been adapted from the famous Crook’s Corner, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, that is renowned for it’s shrimp and grits.  For good reason, they’re delicious.


Shrimp and grits are a staple in the south.  Originally it was a meal eaten pretty exclusively by fisherman and their families for breakfast.  As time passed the dish became something served all times of the day and eaten by everyone.  It’s a great casserole type dish to bring to family gatherings, it’s good for brunches, dinners, and makes just perfect leftovers.


While shrimp season is May-December, you can get shrimp pretty much all times of the year, which is good for me because I have been craving them all week.  It could be the resurgence of cold air earlier in the week or the fact that Top Chef had their last few episodes in New Orleans and the dishes seemed to be a lot of creamy grits and shrimp.  Either way I started craving them something fierce, and it seemed to be the right time.


The recipe is a lot of steps, and can seem overwhelming the first time you make it.  Just take my advice and relax.  Grits are a loving, generous food, and the dish can absorb a lot of faux pas that other dishes wouldn’t be able to handle.  The basic creamy cheese grits are not that different from the jalapeno grits recipe I posted earlier, and the shrimp are lightly breaded and sauteed, nothing you can’t handle.


One thing that I can guarantee is that after you’ve made this recipe and tasted how incredible shrimp and grits from YOUR kitchen can taste, you’ll begin to scoff at establishments with lesser dishes.  This could be beneficial for you if you’re with a group of people that appreciate a good scoff, just be careful not to take it too far.  And believe me, if you live outside of the south and you’re inclined to try posh “southern inspired” restaurants that serve s&g, you’ll probably have plenty to scoff at.  Just maybe do it on the inside.


Apologies for the fact that there’s no photo of the dish, as it should look served.  We had friends over and I was just so excited about diving into it that I totally forgot to memorialize the moment.  We served it with spiked sweet tea, sweet tea with a shot of limoncello mixed in, which is delicious.  My best friend Megan would yell at me if I didn’t take this opportunity to plug sweet tea vodka, which well… you just sort of have to experience.


Shrimp and Grits
Source: Crooks Corner

2 cups water

3/4 cup half & half

3/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

1 cup stone mill grits

3/4 cup shredded cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp white pepper

3 bacon slices

1 lb shrimp*

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup flour

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp hot sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

Bring water, chicken broth, half & half, and salt to a boil.  Gradually whisk in grits, stirring occasionally until they’ve thickened.  Add cheddar, parmesan, butter, hot sauce, and white pepper.  Turn the temperature down to low and let simmer.

Boil two quarts of water in a large pot.  Add shrimp and boil three to five minutes, or until pink.

Cook bacon, and set aside.  Keep one tbsp of the drippings in the skillet.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt & pepper and dredge in flour, then set aside.  Saute mushrooms in the bacon drippings until tender and juicy.  Add onions and cook a few more minutes.  Add garlic and shrimp and saute until shrimp are brown.  Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce.  Cook about two more minutes.

Spoon shrimp on top of the hot cheese grits.  Sprinkle with bacon and, if you’re feeling fancy, a lemon wedge.

Serves 4.


* Cooking & peeling shrimp:

Some advice for first-time shrimp preparers.  You can either buy the shrimp cooked at the grocery store, or you can buy the shrimp whole.  Now, I recommend buying them uncooked because you don’t know how long they’ve been sitting there cooked.  So when you buy them they’ll come in one of two ways.  They’ll either come completely intact with heads, or the heads will have been removed and they’ll come with just the tails/skin.  To clean them, run them under warm water and snap of the tail (and head, if necessary), then peel off the skin.  Then, run your finger along the top and the bottom to make sure there’s no brown stuff.  After you’ve boiled them, rinse them in cold water and do another brown stuff check.  I promise, your squemish guests will appreciate the lack of brown stuff.

If you’re a visual learner, I’ve posted a video on Vimeo for your learning pleasure.  Enjoy the Jimmy Buffet.  A gift from me to you.

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As High Tech as Harry Reid

Like the esteemed members of Congress, I have been convinced that a youtube channel would be a good addition to my presence on the internets.  Now, I am not promising anything as hilarious as this, but I will try not to be as boring as my father’s youtube videos.  The focus will be on techniques, things that are tricky to describe through just writing and photographs.  

My first video, in honor of today’s shrimp and grits recipe, is a how-to for cleaning and peeling fresh shrimp.  

Please check it out, at  It’s pretty cool, and if you have any suggestions about things you would like to see demonstrated, don’t hesitate to let us know!

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French Toast Sticks


My alma mater, the Maryland Institute College of Art, had this ingenious institution called the “midnight breakfast.”  It happened just once a semester during finals.  As I’m sure you have gleaned from the name, the midnight breakfast was an event that took place in the cafeteria at midnight.  It was free (which was good because I didn’t have a meal plan after my sophomore year), it was TONS of fun to get there an hour early and stand in line with your friends, and, best of all, they had french toast sticks.


This may sound minor to you, but at MICA, good food served in the dining hall was a rarity.  The two things they served that were consistently delicious were chicken tenders and french toast sticks.  And, of course, they rarely ever served either of those things.  So, once a semester, you would wait in line (in your pajamas) next to people who had been up for days and were covered in charcoal or oil paint or smelled like fixer, and you would be rewarded with french toast stick heaven.


The thing about Parkhurst (the company that provides food to starving MICA students via an overpriced meal plan), is that they’re very into making all their food from scratch.  Which I would applaud, if most of the time it didn’t taste like… nothing. Apparently they’re also very against seasoning.  It’s a nice idea though, especially because I am a big advocate of completely homemade cooking.  But these french toast sticks, made from scratch, are mind bogglingly good.  I think that they’ve been breaded and deep fried and coated and mmmmmmm.


This morning what I was really craving was french toast sticks.  To be frank, I wanted french toast sticks made from the chili cheddar bread we buy at the Farmer’s Market each week.  But, alas, delicious bread we buy Sunday does not usually  make it until the following Saturday.  So, I made french toast sticks with wheat toast, which were completely delicious.  Maybe one day this week we’ll have brinner, so I will be afforded the opportunity to make chili cheese french toast before the loaf disappears.


French Toast Sticks

4 pieces of bread

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp powdered sugar (optional)

6 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Whisk together eggs,  milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and regular sugar.  Cut your bread into strips.  I like to leave the crust on, you don’t have to.  Melt your butter in a fry pan over medium heat.

Dip your bread sticks in the egg mixture, making sure each side gets totally dunked.  Fry for about two minutes on each side.  I like a nice crispy egg edge on my french toast so I allow some of the mixture to slop on over to the pan with my bread.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and pour maple syrup on top.  Serve.

Serves 2.

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