Dan Lichens: Hi, this is Dan from FireFlies Restaurant in Alexandria. Today we are making shrimp and grits and in this portion, we are making the grits. We are going to start out with our heavy bottom saucepan and it is important to use the heavy bottom saucepan in this step, that way we can cook the grits until they are nice and dry without having scorched to the bottom of the pan. So I am going to start by adding one quart of water to our pan, a half a cup of cream and we are going to bring this to a boil. While this is coming up to a boil, we are going to add approximately half a cup of butter, one tablespoon of salt and a half teaspoon of black pepper. This is going to take about four minutes to come to a boil on this stove. Now when you have the grits you want to add them all at once and stir with a whisk the whole time you are doing it. You do this so you do not have clumpy grits. Now first the texture is very soft like a cream of wheat or oatmeal and as it starts to come back up to a boil, it is going to thicken very quickly and this is why we use the heavy bottom pot so it does not stick to the bottom as it gets heavy. Now as you can see with the splashing, this mixture can redecorate your kitchen in grits if you are not careful. So we are going to turn this down to a low heat and continue cooking up for about two minutes and then we are going to add our white cheddar cheese to finish. So now that our grits have been incorporated into our liquid, we are going to continue stirring for several minutes and continue to cook until the mixture is nice and dry and it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. You will definitely feel when these start to thicken up. It will be a little more work to stir, but keep stirring. At this stage you can see that they are starting to pull away from the edges of the pan and you can draw a line across the bottom of your pan and that's how you know that the grits have cooked and absorbed all the water.
So at this stage, we are going to add our white cheddar cheese and finish. Adding about half a cup of white cheddar cheese and we are just going to stir that in and this will provide moisture to the grits and also a lot of flavor. You keep stirring as the cheese melts you really want to incorporate that cheese to the entire mixture and it will start to look smooth again and not nearly as dry as it was before. Now we are going to take the grits and pour them into a shallow pan so we can set them up and refrigerate them to make the grit cake. So I have a little extra virgin olive oil and I am going to pour it onto the bottom of the pan. Pour the grits out of the cooking pan. This is a nice, dry mixture. It will set up really nicely in pan frying. We are going to spread them out and we want to try make it as even as possible somewhere between three quarters of an inch and one inch thick. Now that our grits are ready, we can go ahead and put them in the refrigerator and chill them down so we can cut them into the grit cakes for shrimp and grits.