Grits, I didn't know what grits were...

Grits, I didn't know what grits were till I went to college. I had polenta when I was younger but was never a big fan. Why ruin a good thing by drying it out and baking or frying it? My college study partner Todd, introduced me to grits one early morning after we were up all night studying for final exams. We went to one of those big chain breakfast restaurants after being up all night, to load up on calories before back to back exams. He ordered a side of grits and what was brought to our table was a cold bowl bland mush in a white platic bowl same color as the mush. He asked the waitress to take it back, double the order and reheat it in a different bowl. When the steaming hot bowl was served, he placed a large chunk of butter in the middle and as the golden river of hot butter started flowing, he covered( I am not exaggerating) the entire dish with black pepper and salt. Then he dug in. He insisted that I would try it and boy am I glad I did. It was delicious!!! a bit spicy but delicious! Years later he did teach me how to make a perfect bowl of grits but if I am eating breakfast out and grits is on the menu, I just have to order it. Todd and I made it through college thanks to many grits breakfasts and we started many ventures together and apart. He now lives back in Richmond and has became a restaurateur.

My inspiration for the menu this week is Todd, hence the Shrimp and Grits. Todd loves Persian food but one in particular is Aash. Aash is a thick soup, kind of like stew but not as chunky. It always included legumes, different types of herbs and most likely some spinach. The thing about Aash, it is like soup, it warms you up and just makes you feel good especially during winter months. But with Aash, you don't need bread, salad, or a sandwich to fill you up. It is think and heavy enough to be a main course yet light enough to have couple of servings in a sitting ;) Time to time, Aash finds its way on the menu of some of the hipper restaurants in Richmond and then you will know Todd was there.

Another Todd inspired dish is the kale salad. I made this for my friends in college 30+years ago and they thought I was a strange foreigner making them eat raw kale. We laugh about this now when we grab a bite to eat. Kale has become a staple on every menu these days.

We hope you will enjoy this weeks meals as much much as we enjoy preparing them for you!

Ezie and Emil

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