What do you do, if your mother was a wonderful home cook, steeped in the traditions of the Carolinas’ low country ingredients and cuisine. . . and those ingredients were disappearing?
If you were Glenn Roberts, you change the course of your career, and follow your dream. Glenn began Anson Mills, where they both grow, and mill remarkable organic grain products. If you have ever watched A Chef’s Life, or The Mind of a Chef on tv, you may have seen the segments on Anson Mills.
For my birthday, I got a selection of Anson Mills products. Two bags of the amazing blue corn grits, that I first had at Rat’s restaurant. A bag of grits made not from corrn, but from Carolina Gold rice. And a bag of classic grits from the Pencil Cob corn variety.
These are not the “five minute” quick-cooking grits that most home cooks know. To cook Pencil Cob grits, takes forethought. Last night I soaked a half cup of the grits and left them in the water overnight, as directed.
This morning, I cooked them at first in the now-starchy water. Then, as the water evaporated and the grits began to soften, I added leftover hazelnut coffee, that had both sugar and cream in it. The grits turned a light brown color, and the pot thickened. At the end of the 25-minute cooking time (if you do not soak them, it takes 45 inutes!), I added a pinch of New Mexican red chile powder. The result was a bowl of remarkable flavors and textures.
Thanks, Anson Mills. Thanks, Glenn.