Lazy Food?

Everyone has his/her go-to meal. The "I'm too lazy to cook something difficult, but I don't want to spend money" meal. You want it to be somewhat healthy, but you also want it to be easy. I have several in my arsenal (mostly salads that involve throwing whatever you have in your fridge and mixing it with either cous cous or pasta). My other go-to fave? Hash. No, I'm not talking about toking up until you eat everything in your fridge. I'm talking about hash. Like hash browns, but mixed with vegetables and oh-so-delicious. If we can't think of something to make for dinner (and we want something quick...and assuming we have potatoes) this is what we go for.
It's loosely based on Deb's (over at Smitten Kitchen) spring asparagus panetta hash.  The rich, saltyness of the pancetta mixed with the fresh, bright asparagus is absolutely divine. I'd make that hash everyday. However, we rarely have pancetta and we were out of asparagus as of about two days ago, and I wasn't about to go shopping. Afterall, that's what this post is about right? Lazy food.
That's what I love about hash though, you don't have to make it fancy with salted, Italian meats, just use what you have. Whatever you have. Throw it in there...let the flavors dance with the potatoes, sooner or later, you'll have something delicious. This time around, we threw in (besides the potatoes) red bell pepper, green bell pepper, banana pepper, jalapeno pepper (too much pepper? nah), red onion, and some tomatoes.  That's it. So easy and so good.
Look at them, all of them, it's a frying pan party. Those potatoes have already started getting that nice, crisp outer crust, while the peppers and onions are getting softer and happier.  Finally, we invite one more friend. A friend that pulls this whole party together.
The fried egg. The runny yolk will really gel the flavors here. You won't regret it. Trust me.
See what I mean? That yolk is just itchin' to party.
Top it off with hot sauce (obviously, this is gulf south cookin' everything's topped with hot sauce) and enjoy! This is just too good and too easy not to share.

(Makes 2 servings)
1/2lb Yukon gold potatoes, diced
2tbs coconut oil
vegetables. whatever you have. diced.
Creole seasoning to taste

Heat a 12 inch frying pan over medium to medium high heat. Let the oil heat up for a minute or two and add the potatoes. Season with the creole seasoning. Let them cook for a few minutes until they've browned on one side. Start stirring and flipping them around for a few more minutes (you don't want them sticking) until they've browned on both sides (about 3/4 cooked). 

Add the vegetables and stir them around a bit. This is also when you might want to start frying the eggs; you'd like them to be finished around the same time as the potatoes. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Once the vegetables are soft, remove and serve immediately, top with the fried egg (and whatever garnish you have around. Goat cheese? yum! Green onions, go for it! Really, whatever you want). 

What's your favorite lazy meal? 


First CSA experience

This summer, Tom and I were fortunate enough to take part in our very first C.S.A. (community supported agriculture).  Tom works in Mississippi, so he and some of his co-workers signed up for weekly fruit and vegetable deliveries from Steede Farms, located in Lucedale, MS.  Many C.S.A.s operate differently, some require manual labor from their members (monthly or bi-monthly maintenance), some deliver produce while others are a "pick-your-own" operation. How they operate, of course is heavily influenced by farm size, membership size, and trial-and-error. We were members of Steede Farms' inaugural C.S.A. experience. And from what I understand, it was quite overwhelming. Our deliveries were supposed to run from the beginning of June through the end of August. Unfortunately, the stress on the farmers and on the land in combination with the heavy summer rainstorms and high temperatures has put our deliveries on hold until September. Despite this set-back, I honestly couldn't be happier with Steede Farms and I would sign up again in a heartbeat.
We only signed up for the "half"box which equated to about 10lbs/week (I couldn't imagine the full box!). We ended up getting zucchini, summer squash, pattypan squash, okra, tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, chile de arbol peppers (way WAY too hot for me), watermelon, cantaloupe and much more! We've been able to eat fresh, local vegetables throughout the summer, we've tried new recipes, and we've been able to store a good amount for the winter.  All-in-all in was a wonderful experience. I can't wait until this fall when we get a new harvest!

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for a C.S.A. (I know, it's a bit late in the season...but next year!), please do! If you don't know where to find a C.S.A. or with whom to get in touch, look around websites or local blogs to see if you can find one in your area, you may be surprised!


Camp life

This was the first weekend we've spent at the camp since the beginning of its construction (which was at some point last year).  It was absolutely fantastic and a much needed escape from Mobile for a short weekend. The difference between the two camps is incredible. I feel so relaxed at this new place. It's absolutely perfect.
Before construction:

The original house is located on an old homestead in rural Perry County, MS, just east of Hattiesburg. It was  a great place for a camp weekend (and has stories to back it up), definitely rustic but, charming as well.  Tom's parents had discussed building a new camp for years, and with the increasing battles with snakes and rodents in the old house (and more importantly, a growing family as we are to welcome a new niece or nephew sometime in late November!), this could not have come at a better time.
After construction:

Absolutely serene.  To top it off? Check out this view.

I hope your weekend was as relaxing as mine!



troubles with tomatoes

One reason why we love living down here is the long growing season, we can plant in march and harvest through summer and replant in August or September with a new harvest. Downside? (Because there's always a downside) insect species that I'm still getting used to, new diseases, and rain, lots of rain. Rain you say? Don't plants love rain? Yes. Definitely, however too much rain can cause unstable soils (plants fall over) and rot...mold and rot. Gross.

My tomatoes understand these problems most of all. We try to grow organically (no pesticides, herbicides, etc. The only thing I'd put on my plant is something I'd eat).  So to keep them healthy (or to just keep them alive) I have to be very vigilant.
Keep in mind I can be dangerously forgetful.
Take a beautiful tomato plant:

Forget to check it for a couple of days? Bad idea.

Where did the leaves go? The end of the branches? Oh. This guy was hungry.

Can't find him? Just look up. He leaves a trail.

That, my friends, is your garden variety green hornworm.  He's such a jerk.
That's not the only problem we've delt with this summer. We've had a terrible case of Southern blight. It's a nasty, mean fungus that's pillaged three of our tomato plants. How rude.
This is what it looks like:

That white stuff? Yeah, that's the fungus attached to the roots, slowly, cruely, killing my summer salsas.

Time to replant.

Any suggestions for southern blight or green hornworm remedies?

weekends around here

I don't know what you do on weekends.
But we shell crowder peas...

(forgive the obscenely blurry picture)
Lots of them

and then I blanch them for the winter (or until I can't wait anymore...I'm usually pretty impatient. I give these until September)

Oil spill related news will be common. Just fyi

Widespread oyster deaths found on La. reefs - WLOX-TV and WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Just because the leak has stopped...

the drama continues.

BP buys up Gulf Scientists for legal defense

Welcome to the blogosphere.

I never suspected myself to be a blogger, in fact, I still question my ability to keep up the posts. However, I've felt inspired to do this for a while. Primarily because I live so far away from my closest friends (other than Tom, obviously) and family, that I felt this would be a useful way to keep people up to date with my life. That, and I have several friends with serious misconceptions of the deep south. I'm trying to paint a better picture, a real picture.

Another reason for this blog is that it's a great forum for advice. I'm planning a wedding (and if you know me, you know I'm not a planner) so I'll use this a launch pad for ideas, inspirations, etc and I'd love to receive comments advice, or suggestions.

General Domestics.
I'm trying these on for size as well. My goal is to focus on recipes that use fresh, local, and/or organic ingredients, and I'm trying to stay away from anything processed. I try to stick with Michael Pollan's 7 rules for eating. I still have a lot to learn though, but I've improved. I've had some successes (and failures) with new recipes and cooking experiments (usually involving canning and or a huge mess in the kitchen), and I am hoping to start sharing my experiences.