Wednesday, March 13, 2019

One Southern dish I learned to LOVE......Win an Amazon gift card!

Whenever I travel to a new area of the country, I take my same old culinary tastes with me. The first time someone asked: Would you like potatoes or grits with those eggs? I asked: What exactly is a grit? Up north, grit is what you're left with after the dentist cleans your teeth.  Now twenty years later, I have come to love those little offshoots of white corn (also called hominy) especially if they're buried under a thick layer of cheese and topped with grilled shrimp! I spent the month of February on Jekyll Island which holds an annual Shrimp and Grits Festival every September. Thousands turn up to sample and judge for themselves who has the best recipe. After spending three months on the barrier islands of Georgia to research book 3 of Marked for Retribution Mysteries, I ate cheesy shrimp and grits many times. (Note: photo on left taken at Horton Cemetery on Jekyll Island. Horton was one of Jekyll's early settlers.) Here's one recipe that's both delicious and easy to make. Enjoy!

#1 In a medium sized skillet cook bacon or medium high heat to desired crispness then chop. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain bacon grease but reserve approximately one tablespoon in the pan for cooking the shrimp.


#2 Add the shrimp to the grease and cook until shrimp are no longer pink, around 5 minutes.  (Optional: add chopped garlic or Cajun seasonings if you prefer spicy while cooking shrimp)  I like to add a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper. 

#3 Follow the recipe on the box for Quick Grits. Bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and add grits slowly, stirring constantly until the grits start to thicken. Then stir in 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheddar. Continue stirring cheese is melted. Can add milk or cream if necessary. 

#4 Add the cooked chopped bacon to shrimp and reheat. Serve immediately over cheesy grits. Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped scallions if desired.


Here's a little bit about my latest book, Sweet Taste of Revenge:


When a wealthy socialite, owner of the largest yacht manufacturer on the Gulf Coast, is found dead, PI Kate Weller is sent on assignment to investigate. Plenty of people would benefit from this socialite’s demise, including her daughter, Lainey. But Agnes Westin created plenty of enemies on her climb to the top, both socially and in business, many with a taste for revenge. When Kate arrives in the only town she could ever call home, Pensacola, she must face why she’s been on the run for years. As a child she witnessed the crime which sent her brother, Liam, to jail. Now someone wants to make sure her suppressed memories stay buried. Can she find Agnes Westin’s killer and clear her brother’s name before their hometown enemy silences them forever?

Find Sweet Taste of Revenge at Barnes & Noble or Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Taste-Revenge-Marked-Retribution-ebook/dp/B07KXWTDNM/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=145JCL2ENYEQ5&keywords=sweet+taste+of+revenge+mary+ellis&qid=1551367271&s=books&sprefix=sweet+taste+of+%2Cstripbooks%2C191&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

Leave me comment about what dish you loved to eat (that you never used to) for a chance to win a $10.00 Amazon gift certificate. USA only. Winner will be picked in one week!

Thanks for being a Suspense Sisters reader!!   Mary Ellis 






45 comments:

  1. I'm from the south so I grew up with grits! I also grew up with okra but didn't appreciate it until I got married and had to fry it for my husband. Now I could eat it every day in the summer during its growing season.

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    1. Wow, Linda! You named another food I never had growing up...okra! Now I love it in soups, (thickens gumbos nicely), I love it pickled, and I love it fried dipped in a spicy remmoulade. Thanks for dropping by!!

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  2. I'm from Texas so I grew up with country cooking. This was in the 70's before Tex Mex took over. But there were many things I wouldn't eat that I love today. Okra being one for sure. But the biggest surprise to me is liver. I used to run screaming when my mom cooked it. Now I love liver and onions and also fried chicken livers.
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

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    1. That's so funny, Ellie. Liver and onion is something my mom used to cook and I loved it! Once I started cooking it myself I lost my fondness. I can't quite get past all that blood when you first start to cook.

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  3. I grew up all over but I love to eat meatloaf and potatoes. That’s my comfort food! faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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    1. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes is something I grew up with and still love today (with a side of fresh green beans!) Thanks for commenting.

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  4. I live in Alabama so grits is a household item. I love mine with salt and covered in butter. A little crunched up bacon doesn’t hurt either. Scallops is something I learned to eat while at the beach. I now cook them at home.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com
    Gail Hollingsworth

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    1. Gail, we're still praying for your state. I truly hope recovery from tornado damage is well underway. Scallops is something we couldn't afford growing up, but whenever we're close to the ocean I try to find them in the daily specials. God bless.

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  5. I grew up in Kentucky but it is only in the last few years that I have begun to enjoy grits. They weren't served in my home growing up but my husband loves them. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I glad we're both still open to trying new things. Thanks for leaving me a comment.

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  6. I will go for the shrimp, but you can keep the grits! I've never had them and don't care to try them. Sorry!

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    1. You can substitute rice, either white or brown, in this recipe too. Thanks for leaving me a comment!

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  7. I'm from New York and I must say there haven't been many places I've been to that have grits. Oh I'm sure there are but none that I have personally visited. My favorite go to easy meal is sauteed shrimp with stir fry veggies. Being Puerto Rican I grew up with lots of rice, beans, and meat.

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    1. Ummm, that sounds delicious! I often stir-fry shrimp and veggies and serve it over rice for supper. I like brown rice and hubby likes white. I have a good friend who invites me over for Puerto Rican cooking, including fried plantains. Yummy!

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  8. I'm from Michigan and I have only had grits when I visited the South. I wasn't a big fan, maybe it's a something you acquire a taste for after awhile.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You can always substitute rice (white or brown) in this recipe. Thanks for dropping by Suspense Sisters.

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  9. It’s hard to say I have a dish that I never ate before but aquired a taste for. I like many dishes. We never had Pizza when I was growing up. I am old! But I love it now.
    I don’t pass up much at Church pot lucks! Ha ha!
    Thanks for the chance to win. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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    1. You and me both, Paula, regarding church pot-lucks!! And we never had pizza either growing up, except for frozen once in a blue-moon. Now I love it. (but I seldom make my own....it's cheaper to get from a pizza shop)

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    2. Hi Paula!
      You're name was drawn as the winner of a 10.00 Amazon gift card. I will contact you via email to make that happen.
      Congrats, and thanks for being a Suspense Sisters reader!!

      Delete
  10. I don't think I've ever eaten grits. I'll have to taste some sometime. I love shrimp, however, and most kinds of seafood. I used to prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate, but now I usually choose dark chocolate (maybe because it makes me feel like it's a healthier choice!) :-D
    whthomas13 at yahoo dot com

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    1. I never pick between milk or dark chocolate...lol, I eat both and often!! Thanks for leaving me a comment.

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  11. Oh, I’ll have to try this recipe! There is this Taiwanese cooked radish squares that I really didn’t like when my husband and I married 18 years ago. Now I really enjoy eating them :)

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    1. Now you've got me curious about Taiwanese cooked radish squares!!! Once I finish commenting I'm going to look that up. thanks for dropping by Suspense Sisters.

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  12. I have never tried grits. My tastes have not really changed over the years. Foods I disliked I still do.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thanks for dropping by suspense Sisters!! Truthfully, I don't like grits plain very much, but I do with plenty of butter or cheese.

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  13. I love grits now but never had them until I was grown up. Although I am from the south we never had them. Also learned to love okra. Stella dot potts77 at gmail dot com.

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    1. We never had okra either! Now I love it chopped in soups and gumbos, pickled, or fried with a remmoulade for dipping. Thanks for leaving me a comment.

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  14. vegetarian lasagna...I grew up in Minnesota & always ate my oatmeal w/ brown sugar & milk--then I met people who put butter on their oatmeal...Now that I'm older I use raisins & cinnamon to flavor my oatmeal, instead of brown sugar!

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    1. Peanut butter on their oatmeal?? I'm with you--brown sugar and milk on mine. Raisins would be great too, or a few chopped walnuts. Thanks for leaving a comment.

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  15. I love seeing all the comments! I've eaten grits all my life, but usually for supper...

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    1. For supper, dear friend?? I kept seeing grits on the breakfast menu in Georgia. But this recipe would definitely be for supper. Always a joy seeing your pretty face left of the comment!

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  16. meatloaf
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Meatloaf is my favorite comfort food. I didn't like it either as a kid (I always was afraid of what could be chopped up in it...) Now I love the stuff.

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  17. I'm another southerner who never ate grits until a few years ago. My mom didn't like them so she never cooked them. Once I tried Shrimp and Grits it was an instant favorite. It's not always easy to find them in restaurants around here but so easy to cook them myself. My recipe is similar to yours but sometimes I add smoked gouda to the grits which is wonderful.

    Just finished reading Sweet Taste of Revenge. Eagerly awaiting the next book!

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    1. Shrimp and cheese really make the difference, no?? Thanks for leaving me a comment, and thanks for the kind words about my books. It was music to an author's ears!

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  18. I used to hate corned beef and cabbage, but I love it now. As a teenager, my mother would start cooking it and the smell would run my brother and I out of the house. It was how they got rid of us for the night. LoL

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    1. Your comment made me LOL!! I didn't like corned beef either growing up. Yuck! All that pinkish fat. Now I buy leaner cuts and trim the fat before serving. I just bought some yesterday along with a head of cabbage for cook on Sunday.

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  19. I never drank coffee until a year ago. I still like iced tea but don’t care for hot tea anymore.

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    1. I hear that a lot about coffee being an acquired taste. My parents never let us have it, but I used to sneak a cup when no one was looking in high school. SHHHHH....keep this between you and me.

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  20. Grew up eating grits but never like that. We eat them plain with a little butter as a side with eggs.

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    1. Did you try them with melted cheese?? Everything is better with melted cheese on top. Thanks for leaving me a comment.

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  21. I'm a native Texan and I don't eat grits.

    psalm103and138atgmaildotcom

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    1. that's okay, Caryl. thanks for dropping by Suspense Sisters!

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  22. We lived in the "Deep South" for several years. Our Yankee palates often savored many wonderful Southern dishes. However, I have tried oysters fried, in casseroles and even raw, I am sad to report, I still don't love them. I have given them the "good ole college try" more times than I can count. I do, however, love grits, jambalaya, crawfish and most other Souther Cuisine!

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    1. Wow, you're singing my song, food-wise!! I tried oysters for the first time this past December. I can eat them steamed as long as they're "well-done" and dipped in roumalade sauce. But they are not my favorites. I love jambalaya, crayfish ettoufe, and anything with shrimp!

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