Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Baked Hominy and Tomatoes (Gluten Free)

This dish is actually made from hominy grits, not whole hominy as the title might lead one to expect. Hominy grits make a very tasty, versatile side dish. Dress them up with lots of cheese, and maybe canned tomatoes, and you can't go wrong. I decided to serve ham because the yms like ham, and because I needed a ham bone for a soup recipe. Hominy casseroles go well with ham, and everybody likes cheese.
The only potentially tricky element to this recipe is estimating the correct amount of uncooked grits you need to produce the three cups of cooked grits needed for the recipe. I listened to some helpful advice from a kitchen elf and made a monumental amount of grits, three times what was necessary.  Grits are like rice. You use half of the uncooked produce to make the correct amount of cooked produce. To get three cups of cooked grits, cook one and a half cups of raw grits in three cups of water.
My husband Bob and I had been at church working on the rummage sale, so we did not prepare ahead of time. This is an easy recipe, but it does take time, about 20 minutes to cook the grits, and 45 minutes to bake the casserole. We ended up eating just as the World Series came on. Like I said, grits, cheese and tomatoes--you can't go wrong.

Baked Hominy and Tomatoes

3 cups canned or homecooked hominy grits
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups canned tomatoes or tomato puree
1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the hominy, butter, tomatoes, and cheese. Add the salt and pepper and pour into an oiled baking dish or casserole.
3. Bake about forty-five minutes.
Makes eight servings.

Fried Oysters (Gluten Free)

Last Sunday, I returned from an almost three month long sojourn in the United Kingdom where I either dined on reheatable Indian food from Tesco or vegetarian dishes from my daughter's student vegetarian cookbook. Having a desire to see the rest of the family we invited son and daughter in law (and grandbaby to be) over for dinner. After a couple of at cross purposes text messages, we ascertained that, yes, daughter-in-law did like fried oysters so they went on the menu.
The South section has about a million oyster recipes, so I figured I had better strike where the striking was good. This meant that Bob, my shellfish adverse husband, would have to eat something else as an appetizer. He is not generally crazy about this, but went along.
I bought a jar of oysters from the Fishery, our local fish store. If you have ever tried to open oysters, you will know that this was a wise move. For years, I had a scar on my left hand from where the knife I was holding slipped off the oyster into the bottom of my index finger.
Step one says to dry the oysters on paper towels. Our paper towel supply was depleted, so I just did the best with the few squares we had that I could. If you want to make fried oysters, I  suggest you lay in a supply of paper towels for the evening. It also pays to read the recipe all the way through because I  did not notice until this moment that the oysters were supposed to be dipped in beaten egg and cornmeal twice and then let stand for twenty minutes. I dipped once and fried immediately.
It would take a more discerning palate than mine to tell the difference. However, Julia Child says follow the recipe, so don't cut corners the way I did.

Fried Oysters

12 large plump oysters ( ours came in a jar.)
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
 yellow corn meal
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fat for deep frying
lemon wedges

1. Drain the oysters and dry on paper towels.
2. Beat the egg with water. Dip the oysters one at a time in the egg, then in corm meal seasoned with salt and pepper. Dip them in egg again, then again in corn meal. Let stand thirty minutes.
3. Preheat the fat to 375 degrees. Fry the oysters until until corn meal is golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges.
Makes two to four servings.