Cooking for Mindy Kaling? Make Shrimp and Grits

10/01/2013 at 10:53 AM ET

Mindy Kaling Peels
Inset: Kevin Winter/Getty

We’re gearing up to watch the second episode of The Mindy Project‘s new season tonight, and we’re already hungry. A woman after our own stomachs, Mindy Kaling‘s character loves to eat and last week’s episode fit in plenty of food jokes—from the actress covering herself in a whipped cream bathing suit to eating an entire loaf of bread (“I just do that every night, dawg.”).

Even outside of TV, we can count on Kaling to make us laugh about food. “I think I was the only person who ate food at the bbq I was at today—and I’m fine with that—I just want everyone to know that I know,” she Tweeted recently, while an Instagram shot showed her with a Mike’s frozen margarita pouch (“One of the great discoveries this Montana wedding weekend”).

But all jokes aside, when the actress Instagrams a dinner menu from NYC  southern-style restaurant Peels with the straight-up caption “I challenge u to find a better menu,” we know the food must be seriously good. (And c’mon: Crispy cheese curds? Fried chicken with black pepper gravy? There actually may not be a better menu.)

Our Mindy project: We got Peels chefs Preston Madison and Ginger Pierce to surrender the recipe for their most popular dinner dish, classic shrimp and grits.

The restaurant uses tasso (pork cheeks dry-rubbed with Cajun spices) in its version, but recommends home cooks sub in andouille sausage to give the dish a rich, smoky flavor. Easy! The only lingering question: Mindy, when are you coming to dinner?

Shrimp & Grits

2 cups dry grits

2 jalapeños, seeded and diced

2 cups cheddar, grated

3 tbsp. butter, divided

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp. andouille sausage, diced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

12 shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut in half lengthwise

½ cup beer

Fresh chive or tarragon leaves, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 6 cups water to simmer and slowly whisk in grits. Turn the flame to the lowest setting and continue to stir grits until they begin to thicken. Stir intermittently until grits are cooked through, about an hour. (*Ed. note: You can sub in quick-cooking grits, which are ready in 5 minutes—just follow the prep instructions on the package.)

2. Add jalapeños, cheese and 2 tbsp. butter; season with salt and pepper. Keep grits hot until ready to serve.

3. In a medium sauté pan, heat andouille over medium high heat. Add sliced garlic and shrimp. When garlic is slightly toasted, add beer, whisk in remaining butter and cook until shrimp are cooked through.

4. Serve in a shallow bowl with an equal ratio of grits to shrimp sauce. Garnish with fresh chives or tarragon.

—Marissa Conrad

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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