shiitake and arugula grit cakes

shiitake and arugula grit cakes

So a few weekends ago, I failed at making a recipe.  It happens.  I attempted to make arepas.  I guess the type of masa I had, was not the kind that would allow the arepas to puff up.  Mine remained flat.  Had I made them smaller, they would have been the perfect vehicle for which to serve something on.  (I am a sucker for cute little appetizers!) This was a lot of work for a small tortilla size appetizer though.  We ate it anyway, but that inspired me to make these little grit cakes (which my masa mess reminded me of).  I had come across the grit cake recipe in Southern Living and wanted to try it out, but it’s silly really, to make these if you aren’t entertaining for a group.  Well, I couldn’t wait for an event, so I decided that celebrating the Flyers was good enough….just me and my hockey-loving husband.  I don’t think he thought that it was hockey-fare, but that’s ok.  They were still good.  I combined the grit cakes, oh excuse me, crostini, with a topping recipe from Gourmet Magazine that I have had forever and never tried.  Glad I did!


shiitake and arugula grit cakes (mashed up from Southern Living and Gourmet Magazine)

grit cakes:

1/2  cup flour
2  tsp
1 1/2  tsp sugar
1/4  tsp salt
1/2  cup milk
2  TB butter, melted
1  large egg, beaten
3/4  cup cooked grits, cooled
2  TB chives, chopped
a few dashes cayenne pepper

grits batter

get started on the grit cakes:

Preheat oven to 425.  Sift together first 4 ingredients into a bowl.  Whisk together milk and next 2 ingredients in another bowl.  Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Whisk in grits, chives and cayenne.  Spoon by the tablespoon into two greased 12 cup muffin pans.  Bake at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes or until cakes are golden.  Immediately move from pans to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 24 cakes.

removing grit cakescooling grit cakes

shiitake and arugula topping:

1/4  cup light caesar dressing (I used Kens)
2  TB minced shallots
4  tsp Dijon mustard
2  tsp water
1/8  tsp dried crushed red pepper
14  oz shiitake mushrooms
1/2  cup (packed) thinly sliced arugula
4  sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

shiitake mushroomsmushroom arugula crostini

get started on the topping:

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray sheet tray with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine dressing, shallots, mustard, water and crushed red pepper in a large bowl.  Add mushrooms and stir gently to blend.  Let stand 25 minutes.  Arrange mushroom mixture on sheet tray, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until mushrooms are golden brown, turning mushrooms over halfway through baking, about 12 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Coarsely chop cooked mushrooms.  Add mushrooms to bowl with dressing.  Add arugula and sun-dried tomatoes and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Add mushroom and arugula topping to each grit cake and warm in oven for 3-5 minutes before serving.

note:  original grit crostini recipe was for 5 dozen so my recipe is halved.


texas caviar

bowl of caviar

I have an old party standby.  Ok it isn’t that old.  Where the history of this recipe originated from is unknown to me.  All I know is that my mom gave it to me years ago, and once I finally made it for some get together, it became a party staple.  It’s funny how simple things can be the party glue.  You don’t always have to wow with fancy appetizers or stress about keeping other starters hot in a chafing dish.  This recipe pleases virtually everyone, and it is super simple to make.  I swear by it. Now I know that some may turn a nose up to the bottled italian dressing used here, but I don’t care.  I really don’t.  Now I do have preference on the type of Italian dressing….but that’s on y’all to decide!


texas caviar:

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
4 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 plum tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1 bottle Italian dressing (I used Wishbone Italian Robusto)

beans and hominy

get started on the caviar:

Drain the black-eyed peas, black beans and hominy in a colander and rinse.  Add to a large mixing bowl.  Start dicing the peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes.  Toss into the mixing bowl and combine with the beans.  Add the Italian dressing and parsley.  Stir to combine.  It is ideal to make this a day in advance and store in an airtight container, but it isn’t required.  Using a slotted spoon, add caviar to a serving bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

raw veggies

bowl of caviar

note:  this serves a crowd of 10-15.  I have added various other ingredients from time to time, like cucumber, olives, mild green chilies…you name it.