Cold mornings call for delicious stick-to-your-ribs goodness. I admit that I crave the thick-yet-light texture of steaming-hot grits; they coat your spoon and warm you from the inside. But what's cool is that you don't have to do 'plain'; you can infuse any flavor you like into them, as here, I've simmered the cooking water with orange slices, chai tea bags, and a cinnamon stick. The grits happily soak it all in and change color slightly--from pearl to taupe--along with the fruity, spicy flavor. Top off your steaming bowl with chopped apples that have caramelized with cinnamon in a dry pan and a pat of butter...now you are warm and cozy and, quite possibly, smug. (In a good-food way.)
Notes: Grits are Quaker.
ORANGE & CHAI SPICED GRITS WITH
Ingredients: 1/2 cup grits, 2 cups water, two chai tea bags, 2 tsp. orange zest, 3-4 slices of orange, one cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, one apple, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. chai spice drink powder or brown sugar, butter or ghee to taste.
1. Core the apple and chop (no need to peel). Place it into a dry skillet with the cinnamon over medium-high heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the apple is softened and browned. Remove and set aside.
2. Bring the water, a few orange slices, chai tea bags, and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the orange slices and the cinnamon stick, then squeeze out and remove the tea bags.
3. Place the infused water on the heat and return it to a low boil. Stir in the grits with the salt. Turn heat to low, and cook until grits have absorbed the liquid and are smooth. (This takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes.)
4. Remove grits from the heat and stir in either 1 tbsp. of chai spice drink powder or brown sugar, depending on your preference. Serve immediately with the sauteed apples and orange zest over the top, plus a pat of butter or ghee if you like.