A staple of many a tailgating gathering, jalapeño poppers are pretty much as ubiquitous as queso this time of year. A bad thing? Not in the least. These bites are sure to shake up the usual equation, injecting some irresistible Southern flair into your festivities in practically no time at all.
This Yankee-turned-Deep-South resident doesn’t need any convincing to eat grits in any form — classic cheese, light-and-crispy waffles, salumi-stuffed arancini? I’m there. But shrimp, well, that’s another story. That is, until I met this version of shrimp and grits inspired by a friend’s visit to The Lady and Sons. Swimming in a creamy pool of highly-seasoned sauce studded with a generous amount of spicy, smokey tasso ham, all served over intensely cheesy grits, it’s nothing short of indulgent. Be prepared to fall in love at first bite.
I’ve wanted to share this recipe for quite some time now, but whenever I sit down to get writing I’ve been at a loss for words. That is, anything beyond DELICIOUS, MAKE THIS NOW and enthusiastic MMMMMMMMS. Of course, the latter may be attributed to the fact that I’ve had a forkful of this tangy, sweet-savory braised pork and cheesy grits goodness in my mouth at pretty much every opportunity since early fall, therefore rendering me incapable of producing more than sound effects. (Only slightly hyperbolic…) But seriously, I can’t keep this one to myself any longer, so here it goes.
We start off with a can of a delightfully balanced, local-to-me hard cider from Cigar City Cider and Mead. If you can’t find it, no worries. Crispin original or your favorite non-spiced variety should do just fine. You can also go completely booze-free with the non-hard stuff or even some unfiltered apple juice (Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section is my fave, and tastes delicious with a splash of bourbon and a few shakes of bitters). Into a saucepan it goes to simmer away by half, concentrating the flavors. Be prepared: Your home will smell amazing.
If you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to an old favorite, garlic and herb goat cheese, give this vegan take a try. The “cream cheese” alone lacks the usual, slight tang of its Philly counterpart, but a touch of lemon juice is all you need to lend it that missing edge. A little bit of seasoning is all it takes to elevate an otherwise beige (literally and figuratively) product to something crave-worthy!
Local, organic triple cream cheese? Check. Perfectly ripe pears? Got it. Sweet, soft cloves of garlic? Toss ’em on. This indulgent gluten-free pizza is irresistible for fans of all of the above. Together — baked in a searingly hot oven atop a thin, homemade crust — pure magic happens.