Tag Archives: potatoes

A Garden Dinner

Over the last week we have been so busy with digging and storing garlic to dry that some of the things we would normally do fell by the wayside. Two of those things include planning and preparing a good dinner and tending the garden. We finished up the garlic tasks yesterday morning and decided it was time to play catch up. My husband worked in the garden – weeding, harvesting, and thinning rows. He brought home a nice size bag of fresh veggies that we decided to incorporate into our dinner. I cleaned the veggies and prepared them for our meal. This is what was on the menu. All of the vegetables and herbs were home grown.

Salad – Three types of lettuce, radish, cucumber

Salad Dressing – Basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, garlic, onion powder, sea salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar

Garlic mashed potatoes – I minced several cloves of garlic, mixed the minced garlic with 1/2 stick of butter, then mixed it into the mashed potatoes.

Baby beets with beet greens – The beets in the garden needed to be thinned so even though the beets were only about 1 inch my husband brought them home. After cleaning them I trimmed the long roots off the cut the leaves off leaving a couple inches of the stem attached to the beet. I put the greens and the beets in the steamer and cooked until the beets were tender.

Grilled pork chops – Since we don’t raise our own pork (yet) the pork chops were not something we produced, but they were seasoned with minced garlic and fresh dill. They complimented our garden dinner nicely.

My husband and I MMM’ed and wowed as we ate our dinner and even after dinner we continued to rave about how much we enjoyed the meal. We could truly taste the nutrition in the foods we were eating. Honestly, my favorite fresh garden vegetable is probably potatoes. They have flavor and texture that I have never found in store bought potatoes and are definitely worth the work it takes to grow them.

If you are growing a garden this year I hope that you too are enjoying the fruits or vegetables of your labor.

Tonight’s menu will include potato salad, sautéed swiss chard with garlic and grilled Italian sausage.

My Christmas Gift To You – Potato Stuff

When ever our family gets together we all bring a dish to pass, so all of the cooking doesn’t fall on whoever is hosting the party. Many years ago, I don’t remember how many but it’s probably going on twenty, for our Christmas brunch celebration I began making a potato dish. It became a hit, and I think I have made it every year since. I’m going to share the recipe with you.

Ruth’s Potato Stuff has become it’s name, because after years of referring to it as Ruth’s potato stuff, my sister told me that I had to give it a name. I said, “you already did. It’s Ruth’s Potato Stuff because that is how everyone knows it.” (I know, I’m revealing my quirkiness)

Usually I make it on Christmas Eve so that we can have it when we all get together on Christmas morning, but this year we will be having our family Christmas brunch tomorrow, so I will make the potato stuff today, Christmas Day.

I start fairly early. It takes along time to make, since everything gets cooked separately before being put together. Remember this is a party recipe, so the proportions are large because it is meant to feed many.

I start by boiling about 8-10 lbs. of potatoes and hard boiling about a dozen eggs. I then let them cool. Later in the day I cut 2 lbs. of bacon. Into about 1 inch pieces and fry them up. While the bacon is cooking I peel the potatoes and slice them (around 1/2 inch thick), peel the eggs and cut them in small(crumble-like) pieces, and shred about 16 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese. When the bacon is crispy I drain it on paper towel. I pull my large electric frying pan out of the back of the cupboard, where it has been stored since the last time I used it (last Christmas). I melt  two sticks of butter in the frying pan and add the potatoes. I sprinkle them generously with Lawrly’s Seasoning Salt and turn them as the begin to get crispy. After I figure they have a decent amount of crispy and seasoning salt throughout, I turn the frying pan down and top the potatoes with the egg crumbles, the bacon pieces and lastly the shredded cheese. I leave the frying pan on low and cover just long enough to melt the cheese.

Fortunately this time of year the nights are cold, so I can (with the cover on it) store the whole pan in my vehicle overnight. (I would never be able to fit it in the fridge.) At this time I also take the plug for electric frying pan so I don’t forget it in the morning. The hardest part about this process is the drive to our brunch destination makes us really hungry because the potato stuff smells so good.

Once at our destination I take the frying pan in and plug it in. It will probably take at least 20 minutes for this to heat through and once people start digging into it, the ingredients get mixed together well.

This has never been a secret recipe, and I believe one of my sisters has made it before, but one of the reason I am sharing this is because it has become part of our family tradition, and I want my daughters to know how to make it. Even though they now have written instructions, I can’t imagine any one of my daughters making this. While they have varying degrees of cooking skills, they all seem to lack a love of cooking. What I can imagine is a future where their Christmas Eve is spent with the four of them together making potato stuff or perhaps their husbands making potato stuff.

Now I must say Merry Christmas and get back to making Potato Stuff.