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Fresh garden veggies

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Gardens are early this year, and this makes me very happy. As I’m writing this column, (Sunday, June 3), I have already picked my first green beans, my first zucchini, and my first jalapeno pepper. Yea!
In fact, my last two dinners used veggies straight from my garden, as well as a few other things. I am still picking lettuce and spinach, so a fresh salad is easy to whip up anytime.
This time of year I’ll have stir-fry on rice at least a couple times a week.  Sometimes it’s just vegetables, but once in awhile I’ll add some chicken, pork or shrimp.
A friend gave me some new potatoes this weekend, and starting with them I built a really good dish for tonight’s dinner, with the addition of Vidalia onion, the aforementioned jalapeno, bacon and cheese. It has a taste similar to baked potato skins with all the fixins, which I love. I named it Papas Refritos, or Refried Potatoes, as the potatoes are cooked two different ways. It’s worth a try if you like potatoes. (And who doesn’t?)

Refried Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese
10-12 small new potatoes
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 c. grated cheese
Salt, pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Boil, steam or roast potatoes in skins till tender; cool. Cook bacon in large skillet; remove and drain on paper towels. Saute’ Vidalia onion in bacon grease in skillet about 15 minutes over low-medium heat. Add a little olive or vegetable oil to bacon grease if needed. Add green onions and chopped jalapeno; cook and stir 10 more minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside. To skillet on medium heat, put in cooked potatoes, which have been cut in quarters. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fry, turning occasionally till light golden brown and slightly crispy. Turn off heat; sprinkle with bacon, onions and jalapeno and stir gently. Sprinkle cheese on top, put lid on for a couple minutes to melt cheese, then serve right from the skillet. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.  Serves 4-6.

Fresh Veggie Stir-Fry
3-4 T. vegetable or olive oil
3 medium onions, halved then sliced
2-3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. broccoli and/or cauliflower flowerets
1 c. carrots, sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 c. peas (or sugar snap peas)
3 c. fresh spinach, torn in pieces
Salt, pepper to taste
3-4 T. soy sauce (or more to taste)
Cooked rice

In oil, on low-medium heat, start cooking and stirring the onions. After about 10-15 minutes, add the zucchini or yellow squash, garlic, broccoli or cauliflower, and carrots. Add some salt and pepper. Cook and stir about 15 minutes, then add green onions and peas (can use frozen peas, thawed). Stir-fry another 10 minutes, then add spinach and soy sauce. Cook and stir a few minutes till spinach is wilted, and serve over cooked rice. Pass more soy sauce at the table. Serves 4.