- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Greeting farmers and shopping from their Saturday-morning market stalls is about as close as I get to a farm life.

However, the experience never fails to fuel my imagination or my appetite.

Conversations usually start with a description of the farmer’s lush produce display. Maybe I’ll hear about a particular type of corn or the special way one farmer grills peppers.

I’ve yet to meet a farmer who doesn’t like to eat.

Then I always ask when the farmer hits the road to get to an early morning market. I offer my appreciation to anyone who gets up before dawn to sell just-picked fruits and vegetables.

The stories about alarm clocks going off at 3 a.m. or nights spent picking vegetables never fail to make me hungry — as if I’d actually been working a field. My response is to rush home and prepare a hefty after-market brunch.

Hash is the starting point for my farm-inspired menu. I prefer a vegetable-based recipe because I want to include meat elsewhere in the meal.

The hash brown veggies specifics depend on what’s in season.

When corn is available, I mix the kernels into the basic hash potato recipe. Zucchini, bell peppers, scallions, onions and leeks are also hash friendly.

Sage pork patties, which are similar to sausage links but leaner, make a tasty accompaniment to the following dish of potato, leek and corn hash. Handle the pork lightly so it doesn’t toughen.

Sage pork patties

pound ground pork

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic, optional

Combine pork, salt, pepper, sage and garlic in a bowl. Mix gently but well to incorporate seasonings. Shape into 6 patties, about 2 inches in diameter.

Lightly grease a medium heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Add patties, being careful to not crowd. Cook for 6 minutes on first side and 4 minutes on second side or until done in the center. Makes 2 servings.

Hash brown veggies

2 tablespoons butter, divided

cup finely chopped leek, white part only

1 cup finely chopped cooked potatoes (2 small-medium potatoes)

cup raw corn kernels

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in small heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Add leek and cook for 5 minutes or until light golden brown. Spoon leek out of skillet to bowl. Stir in potatoes, corn, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Add remaining butter to skillet and melt. Spread vegetable mixture in skillet and press down with spatula. Cook over low-medium heat for 8 minutes, pressing down frequently, or until golden. Turn vegetables over with spatula and cook second side for 4 minutes or until golden. Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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