Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Neighborhood Walk and A Hearty Midwest Breakfast

Remember this line from 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939)? 
Well I felt rather like Dorothy today walking around the neighborhood. This certainly isn't Kansas nor is it Minnesota. The uniqueness of the desert landscape is like no other. Here is what I saw...

The saguaro cactus is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States. These arms generally bend upward and can number over 25. Saguaros are covered with protective spines, white flowers in the late spring, and red fruit in summer. A saguaro cactus will take 50-100 years to grow an arm. 

Saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. You find this cactus in southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. At the northern portion of their range they are more plentiful on the warmer south facing slopes. A few stray plants can also be found in southeast California.
With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old. Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall. When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3,200-4,800 pounds. YIKES!

After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or "saguaro boots" can be found among the dead saguaros. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.

It was dusk on my return trip back. The sun was setting on Dove Mountain. 

Cook's Notes: Sausage Breakfast Casserole with Wild Rice is a hearty brunch dish to welcome our company from Minnesota. It's loaded with sausage, potatoes, wild rice and cheesy goodness. It can be made the night before making it an easy serve the next day. Wild rice can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Double ingredients if making a 13 x 9 pan. Cooking time may vary from this recipe.
The recipe serves 4-6.
  • 2 cups diced red potatoes
  • 1-1/4 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1-1/2 cup cooked Sweet Italian Sausage, drained, crumbled
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup each red and green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onions,diced
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. Italian Herbs
  • 4 large eggs  
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and cook 12 minutes until tender, drain.
  • In a skillet heat oil, add in diced peppers and onions. Saute until tender about 3 minutes. Add in potatoes, sausage, spices, wild rice and 1 cup of cheese. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Whisk together eggs and milk. 
  • Grease a 9 x 9 pan. Place sausage mixture on bottom of pan. Pour egg/milk mixture evenly over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until eggs are set. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.  

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the great Southwest. It is certainly a most different landscape from your home. If you are interested in a unique and excellent restaurant try the Wild Garlic Grille, We found it when traveling back home from the 2014 Rose Parade. Located in an old Mexican Taqueria building it doesn't look like much from the outside but appearances are deceiving. URL is: