Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's Springtime in Arizona . . . Time for my Upscale Dried Beef on Toast!

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Last week Will was in Pennsylvania. They had blizzard conditions with blowing winds, 14-inches of snow, a wind-chill of minus 14 below zero/ -25.5C, of course, the schools were closed. Back home . . . It was a pleasant 77F/25C!

I decided to sow herb, tomato and flower seeds indoors, and also sowed some seeds for more broccoli, mache, a crispy French lettuce, and sugar snap peas directly into the garden soil.

Today, I'm enriching my soil in the backyard and planting sunflowers (in many colors and sizes) and sowing old fashioned hollyhocks! It took some time to find them without double ruffles . . . My "Little Pollinators" can't reach the rich nectar and pollen in the new fancy hybrids.

Weeding, weeding, weeding continues on a daily basis! I'm thankful my garden beds are virtually weed free, but the yard and vast dirt/desert areas are a mess and are keeping me too busy!

An unexpected frost nailed my Italian squash and tomatoes, but they are coming back with new leaves and blossoms! Today I have enough fresh tomatoes to can a couple quarts. I love picking fresh, organic veggies from my own garden. I know how they were grown, and when they were picked. It doesn't get any better than that!

We have been enjoying fresh Cheddar Cauliflower . . . With organic, I usually find a couple little green worms hanging out . . . My chickens love the special treats!

My daffodils have just begun to bloom and look so pretty among the wild violets!

One of my favorite spring veggies are asparagus (wish I could keep them alive and grow my own). Yesterday I made a childhood favorite ~ "Dried Beef on Toast", and I'd like to share my take on a sophisticated, upscale, tastier, and yes, even healthier version!

The star of this meal is the 'ASPARAGUS', so, if you wanted to be extremely healthy, or make a tasty vegetarian meal. you could eliminate the dried beef altogether! I've done it both ways, and it is very yummy!

Béchamel sauce is just a fancy name for white sauce or milk sauce.

UPSCALE DRIED BEEF on TOAST - makes 2 very large servings

1 small jar of dried beef, snipped into bite-sized pieces

1 bunch of asparagus, washed and cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 pound cleaned, medium-sized mushrooms, quartered (if a bit larger, cut into 6 chunks)

Nutmeg, freshly grated over cooking mushrooms, about 1/8 teaspoon

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 cups (whole organic) milk

3 tablespoons butter, for roux

1/4 cup flour

More butter for sautéing the mushrooms and onions

6 slices of toast, torn into bite-size pieces (I used my homemade Julie's Daily Bread)

  • To make roux ~ in a frying pan, on medium heat, add 3 T butter and 1/4 cup flour.
  • As butter melts - stir flour into melted butter; stir together to cook the starchy flavor out of flour, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups of milk; stir with whisk until thickened; then turn heat down to lower heat (between 1-2) to maintain a slow simmer).
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan - sauté mushrooms in butter on medium heat until golden brown - dump into thickened white sauce.
  • In same small frying pan, on medium heat, add a tablespoon of butter and sauté the onions, about 3 minutes; dump into thickened white sauce.
  • Add raw asparagus tips to simmering white sauce.
  • Blanch rest of asparagus in same small frying pan in 1/2-inch of salted simmering water (about 3 on your stovetop). When the individual asparagus pieces turned a bright green, dump in white sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toast bread; tear into bite-size pieces.
  • Ladle hot Dried Beef and Veggies over toast pieces.
Recipe may be doubled to serve 4-6 people.
Toast torn into bite-size pieces.


Hot, creamy, rich in flavor and texture . . . Upscale Dried Beef on Toast!

While my family in Michigan is suffering with 10 below zero temps and snow piled up over their heads, here in Arizona we are enjoying my favorite time of the year "Springtime in Arizona". It's an exciting time! We are surrounded by so much beauty . . . Our peach tree is in bloom, and soon our almond will blossom, along with our many the citrus trees, plum, apple, apricot, pomegranate and the berry bushes . . . Boysenberry and blackberries. With all the blossoming trees and bushes will come the gathering of new honey from our hive!

There's a lot of anticipation . . . Over at Julie's!!!


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