Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Smashing Hash & A Lovely Set of Grits
by Susu and MaceVindaloo

Wes Janson was in trouble. He had been bragging to his friend Hobbie Klivian about his latest conquest. "She's trouble of the best sort," said Wes, "nothing but a smashing a** and a lovely set of t*ts!"

Unfortunately for Wes, the woman in question was within earshot, and later that day she berated him for reducing her down to body parts. "Sweetie," begged Wes, "how you could think I'd say that! I never said that! Hobbie, tell her I didn't say that!"

"Oh no, he didn't say that," Hobbie was nodding so vigorously that one would think his head would snap right off his neck. "He's not that kind of guy! You're so wrong, you wanna know what he said? Oh, but since you think so badly of him—" And of course, the woman demanded to be told.

Wes winked his thanks at Hobbie, but in a few seconds tried not actually snap the neck of his best and oldest friend. For Hobbie had explained, "What he really said was, 'I'm going to bring breakfast in bed to her, and I'm going to make her nothing but a smashing hash and a lovely set of grits.' He only does that for very few people, and not even for me! Yessir, you must be one special lady! He even did the shopping for it!"

So Wes spent all night figuring out how to make a hash and grits for a wonderful hot breakfast spread. The woman loved it, Wes learned his lesson about making sure the object of discussion was out of earshot before running off your mouth, and Hobbie wisely remained in hiding till after the relationship finally broke up!

Formula for a Smashing Hash
Wes is pretty good with leftovers — as a life-long bachelor, he tended to eat whatever was around, and what was generally around was usually bits and bobs from takeout meals or whatever meal he'd tried to make in hours or days past. And when one wakes up, no matter what time it is, one does not necessarily want to get washed up, dressed, and go out for a meal. Often, one doesn't even want to be presentable enough to pay the delivery person or 'droid who brings food orders directly to your door. If Wes had spent a night with a young lady, he could often cajole her into getting dressed to pick up the order, in exchange for him paying for it. If it was just him and Hobbie, they might thumbwrestle for the honor of remaining unpresentable.

Having fought battles for most of his life, Wes abhored wasted resources of any sort, especially food. He remembered many a time when the next meal was not so certain, and so tried to use up all leftovers in the chiller. It was from this desire — as well as when he was broke, or surly, or simply unpresentable — that he came up with this general formula for a sort of bubble and squeak sort of hash. This is the general recipe, but feel free to substitute with what you have on hand. Served hot with or without eggs on top, it was simply smashing!
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil or fat
  • about 1 cup (1 medium to large) onion, chopped, or scallions, or shallots, for sweetness and bite (about 1 cup)
  • about 2 cups of an equal amount of one or more hard vegetable(s), chopped to equal size as the onion pieces (such as carrots, cauliflower, celery or a mixture)
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
  • about 2 to 4 cups of cabbage or greens, chopped
  • 1 to 2 large cooked potatoes, diced, or 1 to 2 cups of other starch like rice (cold) or pasta (chopped up)
  • about 1 cup of meat, chopped up (bacon, ham, turkey, chicken, sausage, tuna, etc.), optional
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • eggs, optional
This recipe really depends on what you have on hand, in either cooked or raw form. Decide what will take longer to cook, and cook those first. If you have leftovers which are already cooked, add them toward the end of the recipe. But in general, you should melt / heat the butter or oil or fat in a large skillet, the fry the onions until they have softened but not really browned. Then add the hard vegetables (carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, etc.) if they are uncooked, and toss them till they are al dente or can be bitten through with some resistance. Add the potatoes if they are raw, too. Add the garlic and cabbage (if raw) and put a lid on the pan so the cabbage can wilt down. When it does, remove the lid and toss the mixture, then stir in the chopped meat. Then add the cold cooked starch (unless you already added uncooked potatoes), and add the lid again without mixing. When the starch is hot, you can mix it into the vegetables, and add salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to add a poached-type egg to the hash, press it down as flat and and thin as you can in the skillet. Break individual eggs over the top, evenly distributing them over the surface. Cover the skillet again and leave there until the eggs are as cooked as you like. Serve with toast and maybe a beer, if you like that sort of thing.

Also, if you increase the amount of starch to vegetable ratio, you have yourself a very nice leftover pilaf or fried rice! And without the eggs, it's a very nice "stuffing" sort of side dish.

Back to the Menu: A Smashing Hash & A Lovely Set of Grits

A Lovely Set of Grits
Wes had originally thought he'd have to create a couple of grits recipes to comply with the idea of a "set of grits," but then he realized he can do a sort of "buffet," where the diner gets a plain bowl of cornmeal mush and can "mix-in" his or her own preferences from a selection of "mix-ins." To make it special, you should serve the bowl of grits with little cups (teacups will do if you don't have ramekins) of toppings that the diner can add to the grits as they like. It also works for a supper for many people, and if you prefer yellow cornmeal to white, call the "mush" polenta and be chic!
    Grits or Polenta
  • 4 cups water (or half milk or stock, half water)
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus to taste
  • 1 cup dry cornmeal, white or yellow (or blue, for that matter ...)
You will need to boil the water in a 2 quart saucepan, and you'll need a wire whisk. Measure out the cornmeal and have it ready. When the water comes to a rolling boil, slowly drizzle in the cornmeal directly into the pot, whisking as you go. The cornmeal will thicken till it clogs up the tines of the whisk; at that point, use a wooden spoon or silcon spatula to stir the mixture as it cooks. You will need to stir fairly constantly for about 20 minutes, till the mixture is creamy and no longer tough-kerneled.

Serve immediately while hot with prepared dishes of condiments, so that things like cheese can be melted into the dish. You can use a sweet or savory theme, but traditional "mix-ins" include seafood and/or cheese. Some suggestions, based on what you have in the fridge. Serve some cold, and some warmed (in the microwave or oven or in a skillet). In fact, if you have a bunch to warm, try putting them in heatproof cups or ramekins, lining them up in a baking tray and putting them in a 300°F / 150°C oven while the grits / polenta is cooking, or for even longer, at a lower heat.

    Some "mix-in" suggestions, for heating
  • cooked shrimp, chopped; or canned baby shrimp
  • sautéed mushrooms
  • creamed spinach
  • creamed chipped beef
  • meats, sliced or chopped
  • corn kernels, or creamed corn
  • sautéed onions or leeks
    Some "mix-in" suggestions, served cold
  • cheese, grated or chopped
  • scallions, finely sliced
  • onions or shallots, minced
  • hot peppers, sliced
  • olives, sliced
  • butter
  • salt (sea salt is very nice)
  • pepper (freshly ground)
    Some sweet "mix-in" suggestions
  • sugar, white or brown
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • candied ginger
  • candied fruits
  • butter
  • nuts
Back to the Menu: A Smashing Hash & A Lovely Set of Grits

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