Southern Cookin': Breakfast

For More Southern Cookin'
 


Fried Green Tomatoes

A traditional accompaniment to bacon, eggs, and grits for a hearty Southern breakfast.

4 slices of green tomatoes per person (at least!), about ¼" thick
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
½ cup milk
Oil or bacon grease (1-2" deep in cast iron skillet)

Heat oil or bacon grease in skillet over medium heat. Mix egg and milk in medium bowl. Place corn meal and flour on a plate or pie pan. Season to taste. Dredge tomato slices in cornmeal mix, shake off excess. Dip in egg/milk mixture. Dredge in the cornmeal mix again, coating thoroughly. Place coated slices in frying pan without sides touching. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.


Grits

You'll find quick-cooking grits on the market, but for me, the old-fashioned stone-ground grits have the very best taste. They're coarse-textured and require thorough cooking (translation: this takes time). And because the corn's oily kernel is preserved, stone-ground grits don't store well: eat them up soon after purchase, or freeze for up to six months.

1 cup stone-ground grits
4 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Pour the grits into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Skim the chaff that rises to the surface; stir and skim until you've removed all the chaff. Place in a sieve to drain. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt and slowly stir in the grits. Simmer, stirring often, until the grits are thick and creamy, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in butter. Serves 4.

If 40 minutes doesn't work for you, look for "quick" grits. Follow the package directions. Quick grits are better than no grits at all.


Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet potatoes are a Southern staple. This pancake recipe is sure to become a family favorite for breakfasts and light suppers. Healthy, too!

¾ pound sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups milk
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup chopped pecans

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water to loosen skins. Drain again, remove skins, and mash. Stir in eggs, milk, and butter. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and chopped pecans. Stir the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to make a batter. Preheat a lightly greased griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter mixture onto the prepared griddle and cook until golden brown, turning once with a spatula when the top bubbles. Serve hot, with butter and syrup. Serves four.