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Easter Feasting

My parish loves food. During Lent we traditionally scale back our usual stellar coffee hour to plain crackers (and no sweets) so Easter is a big blow-out. We have a big party after our Vigil service - usually a potluck breakfast with ham, coffee, OJ, and champagne provided - and a blow-it-out coffee hour after our main service.

I bought two 4# punnets of strawberries (excellent Safeway special), two loaves of bread to use up 3 cans of chicken for curried chicken salad sandwiches, and made the peanutbutter-brownie bars that astragali recommended recently. They were a tiny bit overcooked and I will use Trader Joe's Belgian chocolate instead of chips next time for the ganache, but they were worth redoing.

Everything went except one loaf of bread and a little chicken salad (which we did not assemble). I brought home one of the decoration baskets with candy and about a bowlful of strawberries with my leftovers - I was far from the only person to bring strawberries, there were two flats at breakfast alone.

My breakfast offering was something that didn't require a lot of fuss for me. It was very tasty and I will definitely do it again at some other time, maybe next Easter.

If you have a crockpot, Beth Hensperger's "Not your mother's slow cooker cookbook" is a godsend. I took her "Green Chile Grits" recipe and added buttery, cheesy goodness.

Chile-Cheese Grits inspired by Beth Hensperger

For a massive quantity in my 6.5 qt oval, it was:

3 cups grits (obv. not the instant kind)
9 cups water
1 7 oz can diced mild green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon salt (to taste; I ended up putting more in)
About a teaspoon each of sweet paprika and ground ancho chiles
(any pure red chile powder will do)
A good glug of olive oil

For serving:

4 oz (one stick) butter
Large bag ("4 cups" size) grated Mexican four-cheese mix

Obviously the quantities can be scaled down if you are not serving it at a breakfast for 90-100 people. (I tripled the original recipe.)

Spray the stoneware insert with cooking spray (this will make your life easier at cleanup time). Put everything but the dairy in the crock. Make sure that the crock is no more that 3/4 full for grains. Cook 8 hours on low, 1 hour on high or until it is creamy. Stir it a couple of times during cooking, being sure to get the edges. (Recipe said 7-9 on low or 3 on high but it was thin and watery after 8, so I put it on high for 30 minutes twice)

Boiling water will thin it out for serving if you need to. (Try 1 cup for this quantity.)

Stir butter in, then stir cheese in. Serve immediately.

Leftovers can be packed in a buttered dish or loaf pan and refrigerated.

I napped till 5:30 so missed out on Trader Joe's, which closed at 5 pm today! I got something pre-pack from the fancy grocery by my house, so I going to call it a day and hit up the Trader tomorrow for catfood and other supplies.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
So, this is the blown up recipe? It looks very doable for me. And I love ancho chili powder. I use it in my turkey chili w/beans... Nom!
Apr. 13th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
Happy Easter (probably belated) :-)
Apr. 13th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
It's still Easter for fifty days (liturgically speaking). So you're in plenty of time :)
Apr. 13th, 2009 07:42 am (UTC)
Wow! Sounds like a fantastic party!
Apr. 13th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
I go all the way to 14th street for catfood, because that's where our TJ's is. Theirs is the only wet food that Regina will eat consistently during her wet food periods. It's fun to talk about it with other people who are buying catfood there; they say the same thing. Do you think they're putting in kitty narcotics?

Do you use your crockpot much? I'm wondering whether it would make summers easier...
Apr. 13th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
I haven't much, because I had a really old skool one that didn't have a detachable liner, so it was a royal bear to clean.

I am thinking I will use this more. And if I lived in hot-summer land I definitely would have by now.

Not sure about the cat food. My cats will also eat Wellness and Avoderm. (My temp gig in '07 was with the company that owned Avoderm. It does help their coats.)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Jane is fierce
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