You Asked, AGirlintheSouth Answered: The July 2013 Edition

You Asked | July 31, 2013 | By

Here we are – our second time through this exercise and we’ve got some great questions this week. Once a month I collect all of the questions I’ve been asked over the previous 30 days and answer them. Most of the time the questions you all ask are food or cooking related, but I’ll entertain the possibility of other questions as well. I hope you find this helpful and enjoyable – ready? Here we go….

1. Any good wines I should know about? (from Nancy K. A.)

I am partial to bubby, and along those lines LaMarca Prosecco is my go-to every day source of bubbles. Add St. Germain or your favorite fruit juice and you’ve got yourself an afternoon treat. Aside from that, I choose my wines by the label. Is it cute? Then I try it. Is it pretty? Then I try it. Is it different? Then I try it. I know, I’m a headcase.

But if you want actual advice and recommendations on wine, go visit my go-to wine blog, Share the Bottle. Sally and Jeff have taken finding reasonable and lovely wines to a new level.

2. How do you get grits to that creamy texture. Mine are always well for a lack of a better word, gritty. (from Ashley)

Rule number one to making creamy grits? Don’t follow the directions on the package. I find that those directions lead you straight to gritty gritville.  There are two things that up the creaminess factor, but both also up the calorie and fat factor – milk and heavy cream. I often sub milk for a portion of the water or stock when making grits. If you’re tempted to try heavy cream but don’t want the fat and calories, you can try using fat free half and half. I tend to steer clear of much butter in my grits, opting instead for a strongly flavored broth or cheese. Besides the butter won’t help the texture.

So next time you make grits, try  1 cup quick grits with 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cup milk. Boil the milk and water, then add the grits and stir it WELL. Return the pot to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce the heat and let the magic happen for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every now and then. You can add salt/ butter / cheese or whatever other flavor, but the milk is key.

3. What’s the best way to have veggies prepped and ready to go? Put in baggies? Glass containers? What’s the best way to keep them fresh? Mine always seem to get rubbery too fast. (from Georgia)

A year or two ago, my mother gifted me with a container that is produce heaven in the refrigerator. It lets you adjust whether moisture is present or not and keeps produce MUCH longer than I could ever get it to keep previously. This goes for prepped produce as well. Here’s an example of the original one I was given, from the Container Store.

Produce Keeper

Produce Heaven…where produce lives forever.

This version comes with a divider so you can keep 2 types of produce in it. I’m still on the hunt for smaller versions of this that I can keep more produce happy longer. If any of you come across something like that….CALL ME!

4. I always buy stone ground grits when I’m in North Carolina. Is there any place in the Houston, TX area where I can get them? (from Nancy A.)

I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill products and their grits are stone ground. They also come in an organic variety, but I believe if you’re in Houston and shopping somewhere like Kroger or HEB, you are likely to only find the ones pictured here. These are fantastic. Give them a try and let me know how you like them. They’re the only ones I buy now!



5. What are your thoughts on grape Shasta? (from Sally)

For those who are unaware, Shasta is an economical brand of soda that was around as a water company beginning in the late 1880’s, but burst into the soft drink market with a ginger ale in the 1930’s. They’re the company that introduced packaging soft drinks in cans (in the 1950’s) paving the way for all the other soft drink companies.

Shasta was also the brand of soda that my mother, as well as Sally’s mother often purchased to load up the coolers when we would head to the beach in Galveston during the summers of our childhood. (Sally and I have known each other longer than I’m willing to make public and I’m certain she’s asked this question to embarrass me…forgetting that I’m rarely embarrassed!) One such summer trip I drank more than my fair share of grape flavored Shasta and while riding in the back of Sally’s mother’s Suburban home from the beach, I threw up grape Shasta all over Sally’s shoes.

Sally, apparently, has still not recovered (about 30 years later) and I don’t believe I’ve had grape Shasta since. Ick. 🙂

6. What’s your cocktail of choice? (from Meredith)

I’m hot and heavy with two different cocktails at the moment. First, a Shandy, which my dear friend Rhiannon introduced me to several years ago. It’s a simple combo of beer and lemonade (I do 1/3 lemonade 2/3 beer). You can adjust your quantities to suit you, but I find this to be an outstanding summer beverage – very refreshing.

The second, I suppose is technically a Presbyterian, but I’m not sure it’s by the book. It’s Maker’s Mark bourbon, gingerale and a touch of grenadine (with a cherry or two, of course). My father made them every night while we were in Florida for Spring Training and, again, I thought they were pretty darn refreshing after a hot day at a ballpark. Turns out they’re pretty refreshing after a long day at work as well!

Have a question you want answered? Post it here, on facebook, tweet me or email! All those deets are on the right hand column.

  1. Mamacita
    August 4, 2013

    I have to try that produce gadget. Although my current produce strategy works pretty well: “Damn, the zucchini went bad. Guess we’ll have bacon for dinner.”

    I recently tried sparkling Riesling for the first time–it’s delicious. Can’t remember the brand, but I’m sure it was from Spec’s.

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