Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Cheesy Affair...

I was in love with Mac and Cheese.

Really, I was.

Then came living gluten-free... and I said farewell to Mac and Cheese. I know, I know... there are rice pastas out there that are delicious (Tinkyada, I love you!) But as many times as I tried, I just couldn't replicate the delicious texture and taste of a big wonderful bowl of homemade "cheesy-noodley-goodness".

But you know me... I'm a stubborn girl. Nan says so all the time. When it comes to cooking, I don't give up easily. When it comes to math, it's a whole different ballgame...

A lot of families make homemade Macaroni and Cheese on Thanksgiving. My family never did. But that didn't stop us from eating it the rest of the year. And we ate the good stuff, right out of that pretty blue and yellow Kraft box. You know the kind I mean. With neon orange cheese sprinkles in a little foil-lined package to make that gooey cheese sauce. Seriously folks, it was tasty stuff!

Today, I don't even have a box of Kraft in the house. I haven't in years. Not because I'm a snob, or because I'm now gluten-free... nope... I've just grown really fond of a good freshly shredded block of cheddar mixed with my pasta. Locally made, if possible. Okay, maybe I have become a little bit of a snob. No offense, Kraft.
Enter: Hominy.

Hominy is basically corn kernels without the hull. The online Merrium Webster dictionary states that: hominy is: "kernels of corn that have been soaked in a caustic solution (as of lye) and then washed to remove the hulls." The resulting corn has a different texture and taste then regularly cooked corn. After being cooked in this caustic solution, the texture of the corn resembles that of a dense pasta (similar to gnocci).

When hominy is ground it is called grits. And you already know how much this girl loves grits! In the southwest, large pieces of hominy are called "pazole" and often cooked in thick meaty stews. You may remember seeing Ginger's recent recipe for CrockPot Pazole, which uses hominy.

I made hominy for the first time several years ago and I used it as the pasta for homemade Mac and Cheese. I had forgotten about that tasty dish until just recently when I was simply ACHING for mac and cheese. I made this today for lunch and Michael gave it a thumbs up.

I think this will become a favorite fall comfort food in my gluten-free future. It's warm, buttery, and cheesy with crispy GF bread crumbs on top. It doesn't get better than that folks! If you eat Mac and Cheese at your Thanksgiving dinner, this would be an excellent gluten-free substitute... but love hominy because it's hominy and just plain good!

Gluten Free Cheddar Baked Hominy
created by Carrie Forbes of
free of gluten and soy
printer-friendly recipe

1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (29 oz.) can white or yellow hominy, drained
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1-2 tsp. garlic granules (my favorite is SPIKE)
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk milk and cornstarch together thoroughly. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan and heat until sizzling. Add milk and cornstarch mixture. STIR constantly until thick. (If you do not stir, cornstarch will stick to bottom of pan and burn!) When thickened, add shredded cheese. Stir until thoroughly incorporated with milk mixture. Add seasonings and correct to taste. Take off stove and let cool slightly. Add drained hominy and mix thoroughly. Add beaten egg and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased 2 qt. casserole dish and sprinkle GF breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes until set and is bubbling around the edges.

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  1. That's seriously creative! I would have never guessed hominy from the picture at the top. I hated hominy as a kid, but surely with all that cheesy goodness I might could work up the courage =)

  2. Thanks Mary Frances! It does have a distinct hominy taste, but I really enjoyed this! The texture of hominy REALLY works well in this dish! It was excellent! I'll definitely be making it again (too bad it wouldn't really be good low-fat! LOL) Thanks for commenting chic!!

  3. fascinating! I have been pretty happy with our homemade mac n' cheese with GF pasta, but now I am seriously intrigued by this whole corn hominy thing... hmmmm... A corn product I've never had... I can hardly believe it!


  4. Sea -- Yeah, I liked it with GF pasta, especially just the plain white rice kind, but for some reason, I just really liked how the texture of hominy worked so well with this dish! It was sort of like a "natural" pasta! LOL You should try it sometime just for the fun of it! Thank you for commenting!!

  5. I knew I loved your blog the first time I came here! We have so much in common. You love grits! I live in Indiana and swear no one here but me loves grits. I remember the first time we ever went on vacation in the south. We went to Stone Mountain Georgia. I had grits for the first time. They were on the buffet at every meal. And I ate them at every meal! Salt, pepper and butter!

    Then for about 9 or 10 years in a row, we went to Myrtle Beach every spring break. I have a thing for the Carolina's as so much of my childhood vacations were there. This was long before Myrtle Beach was a hot spot! But my favorite thing about going on vacation was the further south I got, I started to find grits on the menu!

    No one in my home likes them. So whenever I go out to breakfast I always order them if they are on the menu. You can find them locally now on the menus of Bob Evans and some other breakfast places. My husband and children think I'm nuts. I love hominy too. My mom did used to make that when I was growing up. I will have to give this hominy and cheese thing a try!

  6. Gluti Girl -- LOVE this comment girl! I'm so glad you're a kindred spirit and you love grits to boot! You definitely find grits at every breakfast buffet around!! The more I think about it, in some ways, southern cooking can easily be gluten-free as long as you don't have a corn allergy!

    Myrtle Beach is great! Michael and I usually go to smaller, less touristy beaches, but Myrtle is great when you want somewhere to go that's like a big city and you always have something to do!

    I should have guessed that Bob Evans served grits! Good for him... somebody's gotta spread that stuff around the country! haha! I love Cracker Barrell's grits too. I don't know how common they are where you live. They aren't as good as homemade creamy stone-ground grits, but I like them!

    Thanks again for the great comment girl! You Rock!!

  7. I never thought of that. Thanks. I love hominy. I think I even have some in my cupboard. I'll have to try this. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  8. Lea Ray -- Oh Try it girl and let me know what you think! If you like hominy then you should LOVE this!!! Happy Thanksgiving to YOU too!

  9. Thanks for this amzing dish, just what I needed this weekend.

    Gotta question for you as you are more versed in gluten free flours etc - I love the idea of using the sauce base (with out the dairy) to come up for a dish for my sister who can't do gluten or dairy or corn using coconut milk instead of the milk. I can't use the cornstach to thicken it - what would you suggest?

  10. Very creative and unique! This is why I enjoy gluten-free blogs so much, for creations like this! I will be making this soon for sure.

    And Carol, as for the thickening agent you are looking for....I think it's pretty obvious what would work: peanut butter.

    - The Peanut Butter Boy

  11. Wow, this looks great...just like the Saturday evening dinner we need. I like this aspect of Sea's Adopt-a-blogger event...I read your blog but wouldn't necessarily have found this recipe if Carol hadn't blogged about it. You know I think it could be made more low-fat (responding to Carrie's comment)...I make a great low-fat mac and cheese that uses low fat ched, cottage cheese, and some parm for the intense flavor. I'll try it and let you know!

  12. can some one tell me a brand name for grits or momeny or where to buy them all I can find is GF corn meal thanks love all the GF talk

  13. Carrie, I just found this recipe and I love hominy! I grew up eating hominy with velveta cheese but this looks like a grown up version. I've got to try this. Wonder how it would taste with gluten free sausage/keilbasa cooked in it? I'll be making that tonight!