Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Breakfast from the Garden

The garden is producing greens of various kinds like mad, including 3 kinds of kale: red, blue, and black (or Nero di Toscana). 
 This morning I picked a nice basketful for a recipe I'd seen on Serious Eats http://seriouseats.com for cheesy mashed beans with kale and an egg http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/cheesy-mashed-white-beans-with-kale-parmesan-fried-egg-recipe.html. I am a serious fan of putting poached or fried eggs on all sorts of things, so this immediately appealed. But I didn't want beans, and to be honest, I didn't even want to go to the trouble of looking up the recipe, so I decided to wing it. We're big fans of Korean food, and when I described it to Joe, he said it sounded like breakfast bibimbap, and that made him very happy. Anyway, I chopped off the kale stems - it's still so young and tender I didn't worry much about stripping out the midribs - and cut it into about 1/2" to 1" ribbons.
 Then, instead of beans, I cooked up a small pot of Quaker quick grits: 1/2 cup grits to 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. The recipes for grits and polenta always say to stir the grain into boiling water but I don't do that. I just put all the ingredients into the pan and bring it to the boil and, in the case of these quick grits, reduce the heat, cover it, and simmer 5 minutes, then turn it off but leave it on the burner.
 While that was going on I peeled and pressed a couple of big cloves of garlic and sautéed them for less than a minute in my trusty nonstick wok sprayed with pan spray and with a teaspoonful of olive oil for flavor. Don't let the garlic brown or it will turn bitter.
 Then I tossed in the kale, which was still damp from being washed before I cut it up, along with a couple of pinches of red chili flakes. It cooked quickly - 4 or 5 minutes, tops - because it's still so young. When it's older it may take a little longer and need a little added water, plus the lid to keep the steam in. That fairly good-sized pile of kale really reduced in size, so don't skimp on the kale. The original recipe called for 3 ounces of kale to serve 4 people.
 I took the kale out of the pan and kept it warm while I fried a couple of eggs, and then assembled the whole thing in bowls - I should have use colored bowls for the photos, I guess. It was a little bland because I'd forgotten about the Parmesan in the original recipe, but some salt and more pepper flakes and a sprinkle of Tajín, that wonderful combination of chile, salt, and dehydrated lime juice, took care of that. Next time, though, I may stir some grated cheese into the grits and grate some Parmesan over the top. Even without that, it was very tasty, and there will definitely be a next time!
 On an entirely different note, this year I followed the advice guaranteed to make Christmas cactus bloom at the right time, and guess what? It worked! At the beginning of October I moved my Christmas cactus into one of the darker corners of my north-facing study and cut waaaay back on watering it (as in every 3 weeks instead of every week). I brought it back out into the great room around the first of December, when it already had several buds on it. I took this picture today, December 16! There are many, many more buds, so I think it will put on a really good show until New Year's at least.


  1. Looks yummy. We also enjoyed your garden's kale and radishes with our mock chilaquiles for breakfast. Rory was very happy to have the baby radishes. Thanks! The cactus looks amazing.-Rita

  2. Thanks! How do you make mock chilaquiles? Except for the cheese, aren't they pretty much vegan already? Inquiring minds want to know!