Recipe: Cheesy hominy grits casserole by Muffy Vhay
We often wish for a little luck in our lives — evidenced by a four leaf-clover, a rabbit’s foot or a shooting star. Sometimes we depend on unique, and often comical, family superstitions. My husband and I each grew up with a “say rabbit” custom. We have no idea where it came from, but we have met a few other people who also have that saying in their backgrounds. At the start of each new month, first thing after waking up, say, “rabbit.” That will bring you good fortune all month. Try it this month and see what happens.
I’m sure many people have heard of “touching wood.” But we seem to take that one to extremes. There’s a piece of wood in or on every piece of farm equipment here on the ranch, and everything else that moves as well. If you say anything good about a piece of equipment, you must touch wood right away, or it will definitely break down. My husband even has his favorite “magic” six tine pitchfork with the long wooden handle strategically placed in the tractor so he can touch wood if he even thinks good things about the tractor.
This next is a particularly Western one, I think. Did you ever hear of wishing on a hay truck? If you are on a trip, or on an errand (you have to be in a moving vehicle) and a truck that’s hauling hay is coming toward you, you can make a wish. But the “rules” are you can’t see the truck again. Resist the urge to look in the rearview mirror, and tell the kids not to peek.
My favorite involves a natural rock formation in Washoe Valley near the south end of Eastlake Boulevard, close by the lake. You may know it as “dog rock,” but his “real” name is Rover. And, as you pass by on the road, if you don’t greet Rover and ask him to keep you safe, there just might be a problem in your traveling future. Rover has been keeping us all safe for as long as I can remember. As kids, we passed him every day on our way to and from school, and I still greet him on my way to town.
Family customs are fun to have, even if they only mean something to a few people. Special family meals are the same — and today’s recipe is part of our traditional family Easter dinner of ham, pineapple, asparagus and this hominy casserole.
Cheesy hominy grits casserole
This can be made ahead and refrigerated, or baked immediately. Serves 4-6. And leftovers can be made into patties and fried for breakfast. You will need a double boiler for this recipe.
In the top of your double boiler, heat until steaming:
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
When milk is hot, remove the top section of the double boiler (keep water hot in the bottom part), and over direct heat, slowly stir in:
1 cup quick (not instant) hominy grits, such as Albers
Cook, stirring constantly, until just starting to thicken (about a minute).
Now put the top section back over the hot water and add:
1 beaten egg
1 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup additional milk
3 tablespoons butter
Mix well and pour into a greased, pretty, two-quart ovenproof serving dish. At this point you can either refrigerate or bake right away at 350 degrees for about a half hour or until the top is set and a little toasty colored. If you have refrigerated the casserole, bring it to room temperature before baking.
David and Muffy Vhay own Deer Run Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Contact the ranch at 775-882-3643.