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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Como se dice Breakfast?

Take Away - Grit Cake

I love waking up and going to breakfast in New Orleans, but there is one does everyone else.  Couple this with the unspoken rule that all residents and tourists are required to frequent the same 8 establishments, and you got yourself one hell of a line.  The irony here is that most self respecting New Orleanians would never frequent a bar with a velvet rope policy, but they will wait until noon to eat eggs.

Well, I am throwing another option into the breakfast mix.  It is newer than some of the old standbys and the line is slowly starting to form, but it is still possible to get breakfast before the lunch bell rings.

Huevos is located in mid-city right next to its sister restaurant, Crescent Pie and Sausage Company.  Mollie discovered it and took me this morning because she knows I am loco for Mexican breakfast.  Below is a picture of a portion of the breakfast menu, which is conveniently painted on the wall.  I chose "the blue jay special," composed of eggs, cheese, chorizo sausage and charred salsa all rolled into a tortilla.  It was only five dollars and delicious.  Lucky for my waistline (too late), I resisted the urge to order another one, mostly because I turned my attention to helping Mollie finish with her selection (more on that in a minute). . . 

The first morning special was Chorizo Gravy and Biscuits.  Since I blacked out and sampled one of the biscuits, I can only assume that adding gravy to these mountainous homemade concoctions is bueno.

The second special took the prize.  Mollie heard the words "grit cakes" and immediately ordered.  They came with a variety of other ingredients, but the dish did not really have a specific name.  So, I'll utilized the following equation to further explain:

   Grit cakes
+ Chisesi ham
+ poached eggs
+ poblano jalapeno cream sauce
= Holy Shitake That's Delicious.

I'm no mathmatician, but that is a solid equation.

The final special was Angel Food Pain Perdu with Balsamic Peppered Strawberry Sauce. To the non-foodie or unadventurous breakfast eater, Pain Perdu is a form of French toast. It is called "lost bread" because the preparation method involves a way to reclaim stale or "lost" bread. The bread is softened by dipping it in a mixture of milk and eggs, and then frying it. Yes and yes.

Huevos Rancheros with Charred Tomato Salsa and Black Beans
The manager of the place, Blair, told me that the strawberries came fresh from a local farm and arrived shortly before we did. I wanted to stay and get lost with the strawberries and the bread, but Mollie advised that it would be too much. I reluctantly agreed.

We bid "adios" to Blair and Huevos, but promised to return another day.  
I don't have the recipe for this morning's concoction, but I found a pretty good recipe for grit cakes with shrimp on top . . .  This one has not yet been tested, but looks really good.

Shrimp Cakes covered with Cheesy Shrimp

•3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
•1 1/3 cups quick-cooking grits
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•2 tablespoons butter, melted
•8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
•1 tablespoon half-and-half
•1/2 cup grated Italian cheese blend
•1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves
•1/2 pound cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp, chopped
•1/2 cup grated Cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in grits, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, or until grits are thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese and salt. Remove from heat. Spoon grits into a greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Cover, and chill at least 2 hours, or until firm. Un-mold grits onto a large cutting board. Cut out 48 (1 1/2-inch) circles using a round or fluted cookie cutter.

Brush a large jellyroll pan with melted butter. Place grit rounds on pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn grits, and bake 45 minutes more. Set aside. (Up to this point, the recipe can be prepared ahead. If preparing early, cover and refrigerate grit rounds until you are ready to top with shrimp mixture).

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and half-and-half, stirring until combined. Stir in cheese, parsley, and shrimp. Top each grits round evenly with shrimp mixture. Top mixture with grated Cheddar. Broil 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and heated through.

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