Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Garden Fresh Hash Browns with Herbs, Ham, and Eggs

My husband and I take such delight in gathering our meals in the garden.  This breakfast turned out to be so delicious I couldn't wait to write it down and share it.  The sweetness of the ham and tomatoes combined with the freshness of the herbs and the tang of Gruyere and fresh garlic create a taste bud explosion! If you garden, and I hope you do, then you're going to love this skillet breakfast.  If you don't garden, get these ingredients at a local farmers market.  Enjoy!

Country Garden Hash Browns

This is a great way to incorporate a nice variety of your garden produce and fresh herbs into a scrumptious country breakfast. This recipe serves 2 abundantly, 3 nicely, and 4 rather meagerly; so it should depend on your appetite whether you invite your friends or not. 

3 medium sized red potatoes, about 1 lb, scrubbed and diced
Olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
Fresh Herbs: Chives & Parsley are what I used
¾ cup diced ham (approximately)
2 Tbsp. shredded Gruyere cheese (parmesan or Swiss will also work well)
Fried eggs (one for each person) or scrambled depending on your preference
1 large tomato diced

Turn stove top heat to medium high. Add olive oil to a 10” iron skillet (or some other type of heavy skillet) to cover the bottom with about 1/16th of an inch deep with oil. Heat oil until it is barely smoking. Carefully add diced potatoes spreading out flat in pan, sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and allow the potatoes to cook undisturbed for about 5-8 minutes. Start checking after 5 minutes. Do not stir or turn until the edges of the potatoes are starting to brown. Turn browned potatoes and remove foil. Continue to fry for at least 2 more minutes before adding onion and pepper. Stir to combine. Allow onion to become soft and slightly caramelized. Add ham and minced garlic and stir. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives and parsley (combined) and stir. When ham is heated through, remove hash browns from the pan to a warm serving plate and sprinkle with cheese. Top with hot fried or scrambled eggs and sprinkle with diced tomatoes.

©Kelly Rose, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Refried Bean Recipe

Last year, the first year of our gardening adventure, we planted pinto beans.  The conversation before planting went something like this...

Me:  I wonder if we planted pinto beans if we would get a pinto bean plant that would grow more pinto beans?
Shawn:  I don't know.
Me:  Do you think we should try it?
Shawn: O.K. Do you have any pinto beans?
Me:  Yep, in the cupboard.
Shawn: Go get 'em.

And that's how we got started.  Our yield was about 3 cups of dried pinto beans. This year, we used the pinto beans that we grew last year as well as some more from the store, so we could compare and planted at least 10 times as much.  Our yield this year is about 70 lbs of dried beans.
We let the bean pods dry out on the plant and then when most of the pods were dry we cut all the plants off at the ground and left they lying (or is it laying?) on the ground to continue drying in the sun.  When we had a threat of rain, we took them into the Quonset hut and layed (or should it be laid...never really learned that one in school) them out on the floor to continue drying.  Once they were completely dry and the pods very brittle, we removed them from the pods by hand.  2 people worked on that project for about 8 hours.  A ridiculous amount of time.  If we continue to grow the beans, we must come up with a better way to get the beans out of the pods.  By the way, I was not one of those 2 people.  But the beans are delicious and it's really fun to eat things that you grew yourself.  Here's my recipe for refried beans...

Refried Beans

1 lb pinto beans
2 Tbs bacon grease
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 onions, 1 inch dice
Heaping tablespoon of lard or Crisco

Rinse thoroughly and pick through the beans. Remove any that are flat, remove any rocks or debris. Put the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Heat the beans and water to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour in the hot water. After 1 hour, drain and rinse the beans a second time. Return the rinsed beans to the pot, cover with 2 inches of water add 3 large pinches of salt, bacon grease, onions and jalapeño. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Add more water if needed. After about 2 hours, start checking the beans for tenderness every half hour. They should be extremely soft before refrying. To refry, add lard to a frying pan, and turn heat to medium. When the fat is sizzling hot, add beans with a slotted spoon and mash with a potato masher. If the beans start to dry out too much add more cooking liquid. Add salt to taste and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Hope you enjoy, and I'd love hearing from you...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cucumbers?! Make garden fresh Tzatziki sauce!

Our cucumber plant it going crazy right now and we don’t have any more lettuce! Ah! Yesterday, I thankfully remembered how much I love Tzatziki sauce! It’s a great way to use your cucumbers AND herbs!

Garden Fresh Tzatziki Sauce

1 medium cucumber, grated

16 oz container of plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves chopped (oregano is also good to use)

6 fresh mint leaves chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Grate the cucumber then wrap it up in a clean towel, and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Sorry about the bad photo, I'm having camera issues right now...

My favorite way to eat Tzatziki sauce is with the Persian ground beef kabobs, buttery white rice and grilled fresh tomatoes. I make my own “kabobs” by adding egg, bread crumbs, fresh minced garlic, grated onion, salt, pepper, oregano and a tiny bit of tumeric. I’ve never written the amounts for a recipe for this, but it’s approximately one pound of lean ground beef, 1 egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small onion grated, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, ½ tsp oregano. Sometimes I will wrap this around skewers and grill, but most the time I just make patties out of the mixture and fry them in an iron skillet. My husband LOVES garlic and onions so he’s especially fond of these little patties. He tolerates the Tzatziki sauce because it has our homegrown cucumbers in it.

I also love to dip warm pita bread in the sauce…try making your own some time or just use a frozen pizza or bread dough to make some flat bread. So delicious!
If you try it, let me know what you think!
Happy harvesting!