Garden started

One of my favorite things about food is making it. Not just making it from scratch with all the right ingredients, but making it from soil and seeds and water. Last year we had no garden, but instead had a little nino – a darling baby boy. But this year, as he is almost walking and loves to eat dirt, we begin our quest. In our new home we have only a little space in our yard for a garden, but we are determined to maximize it. We turned the soil, removed rocks, and even found a new home for the compost pile, and will end up with three small but hopefully productive beds in the back, and one in the front (disguising food for decorative plants – herbs, peppers, etc.) On Saturday we planted three kinds of lettuce, spinach, beets, and onions. On Monday, we got in the first round of peas. Now we just need to get to the store, get a few more seeds and wait for our seedlings. We started some flowers and vegetables in empty baby food containers with holes in the bottom. We’ll see how successful they are, but with lids I couldn’t pass up the ready made greenhouses.
Last year we canned three kinds of chutney, jams and butters, peaches and pears, and froze a bunch of peppers. But we had no tomatoes and wished we had. So this year, not only will we maximize the small yard and our farmer’s market, but we have signed on to a small community garden at the church where we pick up our community food co-op orders every month. Last year we saw it and wished it was a community garden we could participate in. We found out this year that it is an organic community garden that donates 20% of the food that is grown to charity, and they are letting us have a plot. We are thrilled – overwhelmed, but thrilled. Tomatoes and peppers, squash and corn, basil, basil and more basil – here we come. We might even venture out to potatoes and more onions. I’ll try to get more pictures, but I was a bit distracted this week and sore from removing rocks.
Tonight’s dinner is using peppers and corn from last summer (love my freezer!). Here is the recipe and of course it allows for variation. Use any veggies you have – carrots, zucchini, corn, peppers, etc. I make a double or triple batch and freeze the filling for later and easy use. I made this batch earlier in the day and threw it in the crock pot so the flavors could marry and so it would stay warm until I was ready to cook.

Bean burrito casserole (I know casserole sounds lame, but it’s pretty good)
Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. filling (cooked chicken, peppers, squash, corn, etc)
4 c. cooked black, pinto or pink beans (2 cans)
1 c. tomato sauce
2 t. ground cumin
1-2 fresh jalapenos diced, or a can of diced fresh chiles
1/4 c. fresh coriander (optional)

flour tortillas, salsa verde, cheese (jack or cheddar – whatever you have)
sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for accompaniment

In a large pan – dutch oven or skillet, cook the onion, garlic and other veggies in the oil over moderately low heat until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the cumin, cook for a few seconds, then add the beans and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the filling. Add the tomato sauce, jalapenos or chiles, the chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until thickened and warmed.

Working with one warmed tortilla at a time, spread about 3 T. of the filling into each flour tortilla (more or less depending on your tortilla size and your liking), rolling the tortilla keeping the ends open. Place the burritos – seam side down – in one layer in a baking dish, cover with a thin layer of the salsa verde, then the cheese, and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.

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