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 skillet—something I’d wanted forever—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.