Artisan milled corn stars in this dish of shrimp & grits.
This Christmas, Santa gifted me my first bag of Southern grits.
OK, really it was my niece Stacey, who picked up the grits on her travels through the South.
The speckled white grits came from family-owned Logan Turnpike Mill of Blairsville, GA, which contracts with local farmers to grow the corn, which is stone ground, utilizing the whole grain. The mill also grinds the corn at a low temperature to maintain nutrients and flavor. It is shipped the same day that it is ground. To keep it fresh, store in the refrigerator or freezer.
White grits from Logan Turnpike Mill.
I’ve made polenta many times before. But never grits. Polenta and grits are both made from stone-ground cornmeal, but often from different types of corn, according to online sources. As a result, polenta cooks up typically coarser and denser in texture, while grits are softer and more thick porridge-like.
Cherry Almond Cranberry Tsampa mixed with water makes a quick, good-for-you breakfast.
You may never ascend Mount Everest, but you can eat like Sherpa climbers.
Those extreme climbers who lug gear and scout conditions at dizzying altitudes fuel themselves with Tibetan tsampa, a coarsely whole grain cereal made from sprouted, roasted barley.
The Dalai Lama apparently eats it regularly, too.
Now, Washington manufacturer Peak Sherpa, founded by Tibetans who were born in India, is making the cereal more widely available.
Sherpa Tsampa boasts more dietary fiber than oatmeal, is low in gluten, and boasts prebiotics to improve gut health. It is also low fat, organic and non-GMO.
My new addiction.
Ever since discovering the joys of butter mochi in Hawaii a few years ago, I’ve been on a mochi kick.
I can’t get enough of the chewy, bouncy texture that sweet rice flour gives to baked goods.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to take a plane across the Pacific — only a drive to the East Bay to get my latest fix.
After hearing the praises of the mochi muffins made by Pastry Chef Sam Butarbutar, I finally had a chance to buy a few ($3.50 each) when I dropped by Catahoula Coffee Co. on Fourth Street in Berkeley. Read more
Are you already dreading your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier?
Learn how to keep to your promise without giving up flavor or satisfaction when I host a heart-healthy cooking demo with Chef Pamela Keith in partnership with the American Heart Association’s Silicon Valley Chapter, 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.
Keith is a classically trained chef who was culinary director of Draeger’s and helped Williams-Sonoma develop its cooking classes. She is now the owner of Burlingame’s CuisineStyle by Pamela Keith, a culinary event company that offers catering, as well as cooking parties and team-building classes. She is also the owner of the inviting Taylor’s Bay Cafe in Burlingame, named for her daughter.
Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce — with my addition of crisp pancetta bits.
I typically favor made-from-scratch, but I am not above taking the easy way out at times.
Especially when it comes to jarred pasta sauces.
After all, they are so very handy to stock in your pantry, and they take well to doctoring with fresh herbs, sausage, veggies, and more.
San Francisco Dave’s Gourmet, which makes some especially good ones, was founded by Dave Hirschkop. After starting a successful taqueria in Maryland known as Burrito Madness, he created Insanity Hot Sauce as a way to subdue inebriated patrons. But it ended up being so popular that even perfectly sober diners became fans. How hot is the sauce? Apparently so explosive that his sauce was banned from the National Fiery Food Show.
His award-winning pasta sauces are tamer, but no less delicious. They come in seven varieties, including Creamy Parmesan Romano, and Organic Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil. They are gluten-free and almost all of them are organic. A 25.5 ounce jar is $8.99. Find them at retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Costco.
The two Dave’s Gourmet sauces you can win.
I had a chance to try samples of two of them recently: Wild Mushroom, and All Natural Butternut Squash.