Lychee Jam

24oz lychee,* peeled and deseeded, 700g
12oz sugar,* 350g, 1 3/4 cup
20-30 lemon or lime seeds
1 lime

Peel and deseed the lychee. Blend in food processor until mostly liquid, some small pieces of lychee left are okay. Put in medium sized pot along with sugar. Squeeze juice of one lime in. Put lemon/lime seeds and the squeezed lime into small linen bag, tie and add to pot. Cook over medium low heat for about 15 mins or until the temperature reaches 220°F or the jam passed the jam readiness test as detailed in the post above.

Once jam is ready, remove from heat, remove the bag of seeds, squeezing out any jam, and let cool to room temperature. Pour cooled jam into sterilized jar and keep in fridge. Use within 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!

*Note: However much fruit you use is up to you, just remember that the fruit:sugar ratio should be 2:1 by weight.
**Note: Save your lemon and lime seeds whenever you use your lemons and limes, and store them in the freezer for later use.

Five-Spice Kumquat Jam

1 lb kumquats, around 30-40 kumquats (450g)
1 1/2 cups sugar (300g)
2 cups water
pinch salt
1/4 tsp five spice powder

Prepare clean and dry jars.

Place 3 metal spoons in your freezer, for the jam set test you will do later.

Wash kumquats. Slice kumquats thinly, removing and reserving the seeds. Tie seeds in a piece of cheesecloth. Add kumquats, sugar, water, salt and seed bag to small pot, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for 15-25 mins until temperature reaches 220°F (104°C) and the mixture seems quite thick. Add in five spice and stir to incorporate.

Test if jam is set enough with the frozen spoon test:

Use your prepared chilled spoon from freezer, dribble some jam on the back of spoon. Careful here, the jam is hot, hot! Once it cools, drag one finger through the jam on spoon. If your finger leaves a clear clean line through the jam, then the jam is ready. If not yet ready, cook for another few minutes and test again with another chilled spoon.

Once your jam is set, pour into your prepared jars and let cool completely. Keep in the fridge and eat up within 2 weeks, though, if you’re like me, you’ll be more in the fridge than out of it until the jammy jar is licked clean as a bean.

Pressure Cooked Eggs

Prepare an ice bath.

Place trivet in pot.

Pour in 1 cup of water.

Place eggs on trivet.

For soft boiled “dippy” eggs, set pressure cooker to low pressure (4 psi) and quick release. Cook for 2 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For jammy yolks or soy eggs, set pressure cooker to low pressure (4 psi) and quick release. Cook for 3 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For slightly soft yolks, set pressure cooker to medium-low pressure (6) and quick release. Cook for 2 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For set yolks, set pressure cooker to medium-low pressure (6) and quick release. Cook for 4 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

Quick Kaya

200 ml canned coconut cream
50 gr palm sugar
50 gr white sugar
3 pandan leaves/screwpine leaves knotted
4 egg yolks from large eggs beaten

SEPARATING EGG YOLKS FROM THE WHITES:
Make sure you separate the egg yolks from the white very carefully. Leaving as little trace of egg whites as possible when separating. If there is a trace of egg whites, you can run the egg yolks through the sieve. This is to ensure you don’t get any lumps in the kaya. Otherwise, beat the yolks until smooth just using a regular fork is perfectly fine. Run it through the sieve if you want to.

TEMPERING THE EGG YOLKS:
Place coconut cream, both sugars, and pandan leaves in a saucepan over medium heat and just cook until the sugar melted. It shouldn’t be boiling, just heated to warm.

With one hand still beating the egg yolks, the other hand holding the saucepan with coconut cream, very gradually pour 1/4 of the coconut cream mixture. Then you can pour the egg mixture back to the saucepan. Stir to mix everything and then place this on the stove over medium heat.

Continue to stir over medium heat. The mixture started to thicken for me at around 8 minutes mark and continue to stir. It may still appear a bit runny, but it will continue to thicken once it cools down completely. Discard the pandan leaves.

Once the kaya has cooled down completely, transfer to a glass jar and secure the lid. Put in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Kaya Butter Toast and Kopitiam Eggs

For toast:
4 slices of white bread
Cold butter
Kaya

For eggs:
2 large chicken eggs (about 58 gr each) at room temperature
2 cups rolling-boiled hot water
White pepper powder
Soy sauce

For toast:
Toast the slices of bread in your toaster and toast until they are golden brown.

Traditionally, the crusts of the bread are removed from all four sides, but you can leave them on if you prefer.

Spread the kaya generously on both sides of the toast and then cut some slices of cold butter and arrange it on top of the toast and then top with another piece of toast. Cut them into four equal size or you can cut it diagonally into half. The cold butter will gradually melt when it comes into contact with the heat from the toast.

For eggs:
Get the eggs out from refrigerator 5 minutes before getting ready to cook. This is important because if it’s cold from the fridge, the eggs might crack when coming into contact with the hot water AND the 5-minute cooking time may not be accurate anymore.

Pour 2 cups of rolling boil water into the mug with a lid and gently add the eggs in and secure the lid. Set the timer to 5 minutes. TIMING IS EVERYTHING here!

After 5 minutes, use a spoon to get the eggs out and rinse with cold water. Use the back of the spoon to crack the shell and let the egg slip out into a bowl. The egg white should be white in color (doh!) runny, soft custard like, while the yolk appears to be whole but it’s very soft and very runny when you break it with a spoon. If you see this, then you have yourself kopitiam style soft-boiled eggs.

Season with white pepper powder and a little bit of soy sauce.

RECIPE NOTES:
The eggs that I used were large grade A white shells and about 58 grams each. Brown eggs might have “thicker” shells compare to white shells, so you might have to add another minute or so, in other words, you will have to experiment, but 5 minutes are the minimum I would imagine.

If you cook 4 eggs at one go, you may need 6-7 minutes. I would suggest limit 4 eggs in one batch though.

If it is your first time making this kopitiam soft-boiled eggs, then after 5 minutes, remove one egg and crack open to see if the egg white has turned white and no longer translucent. This way, you only “sacrifice” one egg if they haven’t cooked through and you can continue to let the other cook in the hot water for another minute.

Lau Shu Fun Medan (Breakfast Pin Noodles with Pork)

1 lb of Lau shu fun noodle (pin noodles)
2 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely minced)
1 lb of ground pork
2 Tbsp of soy sauce or more to taste
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Dash of white Pepper
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tsp corn starch + 2 tsp water

SOUP:
4 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar

GARNISHES:
3 stalks of green onion (finely chopped)
Small bunch of cilantro leaves
Crispy fried shallots

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the Lau Shu Fun noodle in a boiling hot noodle briefly until it turns soft and lightly translucent. Refresh with cold water. Remove and portion them into the bowls.

Preheat oil in a wok/skillet. Saute garlic until fragrant. Add in the pork and stir-fry until the pork turns color.

Add in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, dash of white pepper and continue to saute until the pork is cooked through.

Add in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Have a taste and season with salt if needed.

Stir in the corn starch solution and cook until thickened. Turn off the heat.

Portion the meat mixture with some gravy over the noodle. Garnish with green onions and crispy shallots. Serve with the soup on the side and sprinkle some green onions on the soup

Kaya

1 cup coconut milk
5 tablespoons palm sugar
4 tablespoons cane sugar
3 pandan (screwpine) leaves
4 large eggs

Set up a double boiler. Bring water to a boil and turn it down to medium-low heat. Melt sugar in coconut milk in the double boiler. Make sure the bottom of the top pot is not in contact with the water in the bottom pot. The water should be at a very gentle simmer.

Cut root end of pandan leaves and clean under running water. Bruise leaves slightly to help release its flavor, then tie them into a knot and add to mixture. When sugar has melted, which should happen very quickly, remove the pot of mixture from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Whisk eggs well, then strain into mixture and carefully stir until combined. Place the pot of mixture back in the double boiler on medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant silicone spatula, for about 60 to 70 minutes. Use the spatula to scrape the side and bottom of the pot to ensure even cooking. The mixture will gradually thicken, noticeably so after 40 to 45 minutes.

If at any time lumps start to appear, remove mixture from heat immediately and stir or whisk until smooth. This happens when the mixture is overheated, resulting in the eggs curdling, so reduce heat before continuing to cook. Alternate between stirring and whisking to reduce lumps. If necessary, blend mixture with an immersion blender (without pandan leaves).

Once the mixture reaches a spreadable custard-like consistency, remove from heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Remove pandan leaves. Cool completely before transferring to a jar and storing in refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup of kaya.

Shrimp and Grits

Grits

1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, seeded, diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Shrimp

1/2 cup 1/3′ cubes tasso, andouille sausage, or bacon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1/4 cup (or more) beer
1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Grits

Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Shrimp

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add tasso; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes (if tasso is very lean, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet). Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. Sprinkle tarragon over.

From Bon Appetit.

English Muffins

1 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk, warmed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, divided, plus more
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Cornmeal (for dusting)

Whisk yeast, sugar, and 1 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add buttermilk, butter, oil, salt, and 3½ cups flour and beat on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, but is very wet and sticky, about 5 minutes.

Spray a medium bowl with nonstick spray, transfer dough to greased bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill overnight (the cold rise makes the dough easier to handle, produces better flavor, and creates more nooks and crannies).

Dust 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets generously with cornmeal (you want to cover all the parchment). Spray a clean work surface with nonstick spray, turn out dough, then spray dough. Using a bench scraper, divide dough into 12 equal pieces (they should be about 3 oz. each). Working with 1 piece at a time and using bench scraper, fold dough inward onto itself on 4 sides. Turn dough over with bench scraper so that folds are underneath and transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing evenly on sheets.

Sprinkle each piece with cornmeal. Spray plastic wrap with nonstick spray and loosely cover baking sheets, oiled side down. Let sit at room temperature until dough is nearly doubled in size, 60–70 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle, preferably cast iron, over low. Place another rimmed baking sheet in the center of oven and preheat to 350°. Working in 2–3 batches and keeping remaining dough covered, slide 2 thin metal spatulas from opposite sides underneath dough, also getting underneath cornmeal to avoid sticking or deflating dough, and transfer to skillet (do not overcrowd). Cook until bottoms are dark golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is dark golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using spatula, transfer muffins to preheated sheet in oven and bake until cooked through and sides are dry to the touch but still spring back, 5–10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Let muffins cool at least 30 minutes before splitting with a fork and serving.

Do Ahead: English muffins can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool and store in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature. Toast lightly before serving.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil (for griddle)
Pure maple syrup (for serving)

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and butter in a medium bowl; stir into dry ingredients until just combined (some lumps are okay).

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium; brush with oil. Working in batches, scoop ?-cupfuls of batter onto griddle. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through and other side of pancakes are golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes with maple syrup.

From Bon Appetit.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs (with Variations)

4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Flaky sea salt (for serving)

Crack eggs into a medium bowl and add kosher salt. Using an immersion blender or whisk, whip eggs until completely homogenous and pale yellow in color, about 30 seconds.

Cook butter in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When foam subsides, add eggs and cook, undisturbed, until a thin layer of cooked egg appears around the edge of the skillet. Using a rubber spatula and broad sweeping motions, push eggs all the way around the circumference of the skillet, then across the bottom. Continue to push eggs around and across skillet until fluffy and barely set, about 2 minutes; they should still look runny on top. Immediately divide between 2 plates and sprinkle with sea salt.

Feta and Za’atar

Stir 2 Tbsp. crumbled feta and 1/4 tsp. za’atar into eggs halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more za’atar just before serving.

Parmesan and Basil

Stir 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan and 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil into eggs halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more basil just before serving.

Soy and Scallion

Add ½ tsp. soy sauce to eggs before whipping. Stir 2 trimmed, thinly sliced scallions into eggs halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt just before serving.

Cream Cheese and Chives

Stir 1 Tbsp. cream cheese and 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives into eggs halfway through cooking. Top with flaky sea salt and more chives just before serving.

Hot Cheddar

Stir 2 Tbsp. grated cheddar into eggs halfway through cooking. Top with flaky sea salt and hot sauce just before serving.

From Bon Appetit.

Basic Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Mix it all together until smooth. Pour into a black iron skillet that has been greased with butter or bacon fat. Bake in a 425-degree oven until top is brown and firm.

A little more elaborate (from Simply Recipes):

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 large egg (optional)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat pan with bacon drippings: Put the bacon drippings in a 9 or 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put the skillet into the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400°F with the skillet inside. (If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can use an uncovered Dutch oven or a metal cake pan.)

Make the batter: Whisk together all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, sugar if using) in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg (if using) and buttermilk until combined, then mix that into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter.

Pour batter into hot skillet and bake: When the oven is hot, take out the skillet (carefully, as the handle will be hot!). Add the cornbread batter and make sure it is evenly distributed in the skillet.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

4 Rest bread in skillet, then serve: Let the bread rest for 10 to 30 minutes in the skillet before cutting it into wedges and serving.

To store, let the cornbread cool, then remove from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temp for 2 to 3 days

Maple Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

8 slices bacon, diced
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Add to the flour mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 12 rounds using a 2 to 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and butter.

Serve biscuits warm, brushed with the maple-butter mixture.

Breakfast Pho

1 chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 oz. Thai rock sugar or 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. plus 1 cup fish sauce, preferably Squid brand
2 1/2 lb. fresh wide rice noodles or 32 oz. dried noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 large white onion, thinly shaved using a mandoline, rinsed under cold water, and drained
Sriracha sauce, for serving
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño, stemmed and thinly sliced

Pat chicken dry using paper towels and set on a baking sheet fitted with a rack; season generously with salt inside and out. Chill, uncovered, overnight.

The next day, transfer the chicken to a large pot and add 1 gallon of water; boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool; shred meat, discarding skin. Return bones to broth; simmer, skimming as needed, until slightly reduced, 35–40 minutes.

Stir in sugar, 3 tbsp. fish sauce, and salt; strain broth into a clean pot. Add reserved shredded chicken; keep warm.

Divide noodles between bowls; top with broth and chicken. Garnish each bowl with some cilantro, scallions, onion, and sriracha. Stir remaining fish sauce, the lime juice, jalapeño, and black pepper in a bowl; serve alongside soup for dipping chicken.

Light and Crispy Waffles

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup whole milk 1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Preheat the oven to 200°. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, blend the buttermilk, vegetable oil and milk. Beat in the egg yolk.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg white to soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until firm and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the beaten egg white until just incorporated.

Preheat an 8-inch square waffle iron and oil it lightly. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the waffle batter into the preheated waffle iron and gently smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 4 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Transfer the waffles to the oven rack to keep warm and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve at once with maple syrup.

Peach Crisp Buttermilk Biscuits

Topping:
1/4 cup large-flake, old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter melted

Biscuits:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (3/4 tsp if using salted butter)
1/4 cup butter cold and cut in to 8 pieces
3/4 cup + buttermilk * cold and well shaken
Milk or cream for brushing tops

Filling:
2 medium firm, ripe peaches peeled and diced
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Glaze (Optional):
1 cup icing/confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp + milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare topping mixture by combining all ingredients and stirring until moistened. Set aside. Peel and dice peaches and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together well the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter chunks to flour mixture. Using your fingertips, rub the butter in to the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs with butter pieces no larger than a pea. Add about 2/3 of the cold buttermilk and using a fork, stir in to mixture until flour. Add more buttermilk, AS NEEDED, until the flour is just evenly moistened (but not wet).

Turn dough out on to floured surface. Gather the dough in to a mound and fold it over on to itself 2 or 3 times, until dough is one moist piece. Form in to a ball. Using a floured hand, press dough down until you have an even 1/2-inch thick piece of dough. Scatter diced peaches over 1/2 of the dough. Dust flour and cinnamon over-top of peaches. Fold the other 1/2 of the dough over the 1/2 with the peaches and press down lightly.

Using a 2-inch cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place on to parchment lined baking sheet, allowing several inches between each biscuit. Take scraps of dough and re-form in to a 1-inch thick piece and cut more. You should get about 6 biscuits. Brush tops of biscuits with a bit of milk or cream. Divide prepared topping mixture evenly on top of biscuits. Sweep away any that falls on the parchment (so it doesn’t burn).

Bake in preheated 425F. oven for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden and just cooked through. Remove from oven, then remove biscuits from baking sheet on to a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly, to enjoy warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

If you’d like to add the sweet glaze, combine the icing sugar and milk until you have a just pourable consistency. You may need to add more milk. Place a baking sheet under your cooling rack to catch the drips and pour your glaze over-top of the biscuits.

**Make your own buttermilk by adding 2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to a 3/4 cup milk and allow to stand 5 minutes.

Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits

CHEESE GRITS
4 1/2 cup water
1 cup stoneground grits
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

SHRIMP
3 bacon strips, chopped
Peanut oil, as needed
1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces sliced mushroom (1 1/4 cups)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish

Grits:

Bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the grits and salt, reduce heat to low, and cook at a gently simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the grits are thick, stirring occasionally. Stir more often as the grits thicken.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheddar, parmesan, butter, pepper, and Tabasco, and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm over very low heat.

Shrimp:

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels and leave the fat in the skillet. If there is less than 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon fat, make up the difference with peanut oil.

Toss the shrimp with the flour until lightly coated, shaking off any excess. In the skillet with the reserved fat, cook the shrimp over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until they begin to turn pink.

Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds (do not let the garlic brown). Stir in the hot sauce, lemon juice, and scallions and remove from the heat.

Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with additional scallions and serve at once.

Cheese Grits

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup old-fashioned grits
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.

Add the garlic and slowly stir in the grits.

Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender, 20 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and cream.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Shrimp and Grits

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups milk
3 cups water
1 cup grits
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
8 ounces bacon, chopped
20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Add the butter and olive oil to a saucepan set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn the heat to high and pour in the milk and water. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the grits. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, dump in the cheese and stir until it is melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook until golden browned and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Set the skillet back over medium-high heat and when nearly smoking, add the shrimp. Cook until pink, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Scoop some of the cheese grits into a bowl and top with the shrimp, chopped bacon, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heavenly Porridge

1 cup oat bran (you can also use a 7 or 10-grain cereal)
2 cups water
1 generous cup berries (fresh or frozen) or sliced, very ripe, bananas
pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Toppings:
• nuts (sliced almonds with the berries and toasted pecans or walnuts with the bananas)
• heavy cream
• flax seeds (These add a nice deep earthiness, but you can omit)
• brown sugar (Or additional honey or maple syrup)
• fresh fruit (again, optional)
• sea salt (a sprinkle on top really pushes this over the edge!)

In a medium pot over medium-high heat bring water, pinch of salt, and half of fruit to a boil. Add the oat bran and honey and stir regularly until cereal is cooked, about 2-3 minutes for oat bran- longer for 10-grain. Serve hot, topped with suggested toppings.