Anyone who’s ever driven through Ohio has probably noticed the vast farms and cornfields that flank our major highways. In fact, the state contains more than 13million acres of farmland. Funny farm related story: a parent of a close college friend thought I actually grew up on a pumpkin farm – those of you who know me will probably find that pretty hysterical. I actually live in the greater Cleveland area, not on a farm, but I can reap the benefits of living amongst all this wonderful farmland. Saturday morning I let the two markets I visited dictate my “local” meal. I ended up with eggs, butter, bacon, and grits (not to mention a crepe, a sourdough loaf, coffee… I love a good farmers market)– put ‘em all together – cheesy bacon grits with poached eggs on top. Sounded like a winner to me.
For the Cheesy Grits:
(makes 6 cups)
6 cups water
1 2/3 cup organic coarse stone-ground grits – from the Stuzman Farms of Holmes County, OH found at the Shaker Square Farmers Market
½ cup heavy cream – Dairymen’s
1 tablespoon butter – Walnut Creek
8 ounces sharp cheese – I used monty cheese from Meadow Maid – a delicious salty cheese made from grassfed organic milk – they didn’t have a website but I purchased it at the Shaker Square Farmers Market
1/4 lb. bacon – made from local pigs, purchased at the EDW. Badstuber & Son counter at the West Side Market – when I asked for a 1/4 pound the man working the stall asked me who I intended on feeding with a 1/4 pound of bacon – a mouse? Note: Clevelanders love bacon…
s&p to taste
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly pour in the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the head to low and continue to stir. After about 10 minutes, the grits will plump up and thicken. Cook the grits over low heat for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cream, butter, cheese. Cook for another 10 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Season with s&p and add the bacon. The grits will have a thick natural creamy consistency.
They could be a meal by themselves, you almost don’t need the egg but then, why not have the egg?
While the grits were on their last few minutes of cooking I poached an egg for the first time. It was a very gratifying experience as I LOVE poached eggs. Now that I have the know-how I will be poaching on a regular basis. Of course, I had a little help for my first time – Smitten Kitchen got me through with easy to follow instructions and beautiful photos. (My large brown eggs came from Cristal Springs farm – purchased at the West Side market)
Once you’ve become a master poacher – top the creamy, cheesy grits with said eggs and dive in. The velvety yolk marries with the bacon dotted grits to make a perfect bite. Good job Ohio, if this is eating local, count me in.