Garden Tour Number 1, a Frittata and Some Mighty Tasty Green Beans

What an interesting Spring we have had thus far! It’s wafted from extremely cold to Summertime and back to Spring again, with periods of intense rain to take us out of our long draught conditions. By Tuesday it’s supposed to be 89 degrees here…what??? Today is another classic example of our recent pattern of rainy and stormy weekends. But after losing so much of my flowers to draught over these past few years, I will take the rain, thank you very much. It’s actually wonderful to see the rivers and lakes full once again.

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I’d promised you a garden tour and, in going through my images, I realized I actually have enough for 2-3 separate tours, so today’s will be an organized garden tour that I enjoyed taking with my mom a few weeks ago in my home town of Florence, Alabama. This one was sponsored by the local Master Gardener’s Association, and featured many types of gardens in the area including private walled gardens, country shade and forested gardens, river view gardens and city gardens. The day was overcast and cool, but it was still a wonderful tour, so put on your walking shoes and take a peek at the slideshow. This is my first attempt at the slideshow feature, and it’s not quite what I had in mind, but you can see the images…so we’ll just roll with it!


And what better dish to enjoy after a garden tour than a frittata? I say this because they are so quick to put together, great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and you can make one from ingredients you have on hand, both leftovers and fresh items from the garden! While I have shown you frittatas before (see here), this particular one was inspired by a recent post from Chicago John of the Bartolini Kitchens, where he shows you step by step how to make wonderful frittate. You can click the link and see his method and I know you’ll enjoy his blog as well. He’s a master of all things Italian in the cooking world and a true inspiration!

One of the things that struck me about John’s frittata-making was that he used a cast iron skillet to make them, which is a brilliant idea. Since one of my Christmas presents last year just happened to be a Lodge 10″ cast iron skilletโ€”something I’d wanted foreverโ€”this seemed like a perfect thing to make in it. And as is so often the case for me, I had things to use up in the fridge, and that’s how this ham, potato, onion and tomato frittata came into being.

We enjoyed this with some roasted green beans. If you haven’t tried roasting green beans, your really missing something super easy and very special. Since we’ll soon be harvesting fresh green beans around here, the method below is perfect for a quick and delicious preparation.

When I say these are simple...I mean it!

When I say these are simple…I mean it!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Next post I’ll be back with more flowers, including some from my own garden and my mom’s, more food, as well as some ideas for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend and the grilling season in general. Meanwhile, I hope you all have a great week.

Ham, Potato, Onion and Tomato Frittata
Serves 6

1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia or red, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
5 small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
7 ounces ham, cubed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
7 large eggs
12 fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter and heat the oil together in a 10-inch cast iron or non-stick oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes, until they begin to soften and turn transparent. Add in the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they become tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the veggies with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add in the ham and cook another 3 minutes, allowing it to brown and warm through. Add in the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 more minutes until the tomatoes soften.

While the tomatoes are softening in the skillet, crack your eggs into a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the basil and Parmigiano Reggiano, a good pinch of kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine. When the tomatoes are soft, pour the egg mixture evenly over the veggie and ham mixture in the skillet. Using your spoon, insert the end down towards the bottom of the pan in a few spots to allow the egg mixture to get through the veggies. Turn the heat to medium low and cook for about 5 minutes, until the eggs begin to set. Take off the stove and place the pan into the 350 degree oven and allow the eggs to cook through until the top of the frittata is set (no jiggling or visible liquid left) and very lightly golden browned on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow it to sit about 5 minutes, then cut into 6 pieces and serve. Frittata can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

Roasted Green Beans
Serves about 4

1 lb. fresh green beans, rinsed well and trim both ends lightly
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the trimmed green beans on it. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans, then salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place the beans in the oven and roast for 8 minutes. Shake the pan and stir the beans, then roast another 6 minutes or until the beans are tender and have begun to just brown. Remove from the oven and serve.


33 thoughts on “Garden Tour Number 1, a Frittata and Some Mighty Tasty Green Beans

  1. The frittata looks beautiful, Betsy. I envy you your homegrown green beans — I’ll have some next year because I’m moving in with Johnny at the end of July and he has a sunny backyard with plenty of room for a garden (I have to start by solarizing the soil to kill the weeds and composting before I can plant anything). I’m saving this blog for the recipes though.


    • Hey Sharyn! How delightful to hear from you and exciting news that you’re moving in with Johnny! ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually these aren’t my homegrown beans, although I do usually have them in summer and hope to this year. They are one of few things that will grow in my very shaded raised bed. Lucky you to have a sunny yard in your future. Very best wishes to you! ~B


  2. I love the images of the gardens and well done with the slideshow. It’s great to hear you are now enjoying warm weather – long last! I love frittatas too. They’re great for using up leftover vegetables xx


  3. Wow, Betsy! That was some tour! Such beautiful gardens. Each would make a nice place to spend some time, just strolling about. Thank you for taking the time to photograph, upload, and organize the pictures for the slideshow. That’s a lot of work — and the slideshow was beautiful. One of the flowers that lacked a name, the one before the double petaled jonquil, is a member of the Columbine family, though I don’t know which one exactly.
    Thank you, too, for you gracious mention of my blog and frittata. I wish my frittata looked as good as yours did in your cast iron skillet, which, by the way, was an excellent Christmas gift! Kudos to the gift giver!


    • Thank you, John and my pleasure to give you a mention. I’d always made my frittata in a regular skillet and then saw yours with the cast iron which works so beautifully…and doesn’t stick! I always over fill my frittata with veggies…more veggie than egg in fact, so they look pretty fat! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I thought yours looked perfect.
      You are right, that is Columbine. I think I did see that on a tag but couldn’t remember it no matter how hard I tried! My slideshow transposed a couple of shots so that the country garden has a slide mixed in with the city river gardens, and I can’t figure out how to edit the slideshow once you’ve inserted it into the post. Sigh. So much to learn! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. I always enjoy going on garden tours…you get wonderful ideas for your own garden. Your meal afterwards sounds like the perfect way to end the day.


    • So true, Karen, you get great ideas from garden tours. I just wish I had more time to work on my garden at home. Last year it didn’t get much attention because we were dealing with illness in our family, so this year it is really out of control with all the rain we’ve had! Thanks for your comment!


  5. Yum! Can’t wait to try the frittata! Tim will say it’s an excuse to get a cast iron skillet! Looks like ya’ll had fun garden hopping! My mother used to call that columbine just wild columbine because it came up everywhere! We have tons of it and I love it. The lime green plant is a euphorbia, another great addition. Bi-annual and very heat tolerant (great for those of us who wilt beginning in July! Pics look great!


    • Thank you, dear Jeannie, for the names of those plants! I have updated the slideshow with the names. Hope you are doing well…we need to catch up. ๐Ÿ™‚ And Tim is right…actually any excuse to get a cast iron skillet will do. They make magnificent cakes, cornbread and frittata to name just a few uses!


  6. What a lovely post full of hope for the coming months. Just back in Spain and the weather is the same (unsettled) here! Beautiful frittata and I too love baked green beans ๐Ÿ™‚


    • So glad you’re back safely, Tanya, and thanks for your great comment. Frittatas are such a great fallback when you’re in a hurry…or even when you aren’t. I make them and then wonder why I don’t make them more often! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are in the 90’s here today. Too weird.


  7. Thanks for the beautiful gardens tour, your slide show was very well done and the photos are just gorgeous. A wedge of that frittata, a salad and a glass of wine, would be a perfect meal for me.


    • You’re welcome for the tour, Norma. It was really fun, although it was a bit early there…they were in full bloom about two weeks later, but that’s how garden tours go. Sometimes it’s more fun to just see the budding plants and what the foliage looks like, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. What gorgeous garden photos Betsy, you’re so lucky to have a river in your back yard, I can just imagine how soothing it sounds to hear it rushing by and how beautiful it would be to have cocktails by it! I adore frittata and I love it that you used a cast iron pan, my favourite material to cook in. I get a good workout just lifting my pots and pans in the kitchen they are all cast! Hope you’re having a great week; we just had our long weekend last weekend but I hear that you are just coming up to your long weekend โ€” have a good one.


    • Hey Eva, I WISH the river was in my back yard, LOL! That garden tour is all from Florence, Alabama, where I grew up. My next post will show some of my garden and our view out back, which is all trees. The closest water we have is a small creek that runs in a neighbors yard behind our property. Our deck is a wonderful spot to have cocktails, though and we are looking forward to the holiday weekend for sure. Hope you have a great weekend!


  9. Ah, I thought it might have been your garden for a minute there. I notice it’s not so I can reign in my jealousy. They look so nice – love the photo of the entrance into the woodland/shade garden. Looks like a doorway into a little world of tranquility.

    Love roasting vegetables – especially beans. Gives so much more complexity to the flavours, doesn’t it? Have you tried roasting runner beans too? That’s really good too!


    • I can see now that I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be on the fact that no, that wasn’t my house or garden…that was actually six houses and gardens, none of them mine! The woodland garden was probably my favorite, too, Charles. I haven’t tried roasting runner beans but will do that…how could they not be good? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Charles!


  10. Betsy you have a beautiful garden and home. Lots of gorgeous perennials coming up and I noticed quite of bit of landscaping to take care of. I am tired just thinking about it… LOL. I guess it is just the perfect timing to come in and enjoy a relaxing morning eating your delicious fritatta and beans. Have a super weekend, BAM


    • Okay, I’m going to have to update this post because you’re the second person that thought this was my house and gardens…wouldn’t that be nice, but I really would need a herd and a billion dollars US to take care of that much real estate, LOL! ๐Ÿ™‚ That is actually in my hometown of Florence (I’m in Atlanta) and it’s six different homes/gardens. I think if I had to take care of all of that it would require an ambulance instead of a frittata afterwards! Thanks for the lovely compliments, BAM and I sure hope you’re feeling better. Have a great weekend yourself.


  11. Pingback: It’s the Simple Things | bits and breadcrumbs

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