Creative Sustenance

Culinary and other adventures in foraging, gardening, urban farming and more, in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Filtering by Tag: breakfast

Milkweed for knee strength? I wish...

Just back from the doctor, where I finally discovered why my knee(s) has been giving me fits for so long. X-rays showed a couple of bone spurs, one almost 2" long and broken, on a knee cap that is not shaped quite as it should be. Might have to get it scoped and cleaned, or just continue to live with the periodic debilitating pain...I'm thinking that the scoping is the way to go. The doctor seemed quite surprised and almost "excited" to have seen something on the x-rays that, he said, was so unusual and that he had never seen before. 

So, I decided to buck the "take it easy" route and immediately tramped through a field near my parents' house to pluck a bunch of milkweed flowers along with a handful of tiger lily flower buds from Mom & Dad's place, in order to make a quick breakfast before work. 

Simple: Sautee milkweed flower clusters and lily buds in butter with a little sea salt and cracked pepper, add a handful of spinach picked yesterday from the garden, quickly fry a duck egg, slice up a fat red tomato and badaboom badabing, there you go.

I'll write more about milkweed in the days to come. But for now, it's 90° and time for a lengthy soak in a tub of cold water before work. By the way, as far as I know, milkweed sap has absolutely no inherent attributes that may be beneficial to one's knee joints...I just like eating milkweed.Enjoy the day!

Making time for breakfast again

I decided that regardless of how weary I feel lately or how little spare time I seem to currently have I am going to make time for breakfast again, and I mean the kind of breakfast I enjoy making, something with a little punch.

So, this morning's sustenance included a couple of duck eggs sauteed over-easy in pork fat and butter, on a bed of mustard greens and thistle stems sauteed with lardons and diced ramps. Simple, quick and good for the spirit.

Now to finish transplanting some herbs and hot peppers we picked up yesterday.

Stumpjack Potato Hash w/ Kale

A few of us got together at our friend Dixie's flat yesterday morning for breakfast. Dixie made a huge German Apple Pancake, Pat brought the ingredients to make Mimosas with fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, Marty recreated the Brown Sugar Bacon we used to serve at Stumpjack and I made the Potato Hash (with a slight twist) we also used to have on the Sunday morning menu.

This time I added kale and sweet potatoes to the hash recipe and it turned out great, with the oven crisped kale adding an interesting texture and slight note of tasty bitterness to the sweet and savory hash mix. And it looked pretty too.

Here's the recipe (the ingredient amounts are what I used to make enough for the seven people at breakfast).


  • 7-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chunked (I prefer my hash a bit on the larger side, but you can cube it into smaller pieces if you so desire)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • 2 large onions, cubed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ~ 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 tbl fennel seed
  • ~ 1 tbl honey
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • couple medium leaves of kale, chopped
  • 3-4 tbl olive oil

Pre-breakfast coffee appreciation moment.

1. Preheat oven to around 375° (I'm a little waffley on that temp because our oven is wacky right now and doesn't seem to want to behave consistently, so I'm constantly adjusting the dial and checking the temp.)

2. Place all of the chunked potatoes, russet and sweet, in a very large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over and toss to thoroughly coat. Season with salt and pepper, and a couple pinches of the fennel seed. Toss again. (When we made this hash at the coffee house we usually used a variety of heirloom finger potatoes, which made for a lovely dish with potatoes of white, yellow, red and purple).

3. Coat a couple of baking sheets with a bit of olive oil and spread the potato mixture on each pan. Bake for approx. 25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked but still slightly firm.

4. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onions and half of the fennel seed and simmer for about 15 minutes, until everything is softened up and the butter has thoroughly embraced the flavors of the garlic, onions and fennel.

5. Cook the bacon; set aside to cool. After it's cooled and hardened a bit chop it into approx. 1-inch pieces.

6. Once the potatoes have cooked, return them to the bowl. Add the chopped kale, garlic/onion butter mixture, the rest of the fennel seed, and the bacon pieces. Drizzle with the honey. Gently toss to thoroughly coat and mix. Season with salt and pepper again if you think it needs it (I did).

7. Turn the oven up to 400°. Return the potato hash to the pans and bake for around 5 minutes, until the kale crisps up nicely.

Good food and good company make for an excellent breakfast. Image by Marty.

We had to drive over to Dixie's place so we transferred the hot hash to a large lidded pot and made the trip. Once we got there we didn't eat for another 45 minutes or so, so we kept the pot warm in the oven during part of that time (had to remove it to cook the brown sugar bacon, but it still maintained some heat and was warm when we sat down to eat). All of the flavors came together nicely during that time and the kale softened up as well. We left with an empty and clean pot.


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