When I first started writing this column a couple of years ago, I contacted a former schoolmate of mine about sharing a recipe with me to publish. The friend was Debbie (Smith) East. Although Debbie no longer lives in Miami, it would be hard to find somebody that loves our city any more than she does. Not only was she and her husband raised in Miami, but they also raised two daughters who were MHS graduates as well. In the last few years I had become reacquainted with Debbie through Facebook, where I noticed she would occasionally post pictures of dishes she had prepared, and it became quite evident that she was quite the chef. I was also occasionally posting some dishes I had prepared on Facebook and she would comment on my posts. It was during this time that she suggested I start a Facebook page to share my recipes, pictures, and stories on. It was this Facebook page that led to me being contacted by the Miami News-Record to start writing a weekly column for them.

After I started writing the newspaper column, I contacted Debbie and asked her if she would share a recipe for me to post in the newspaper. She responded by sending me a chili recipe that was her “Grandma Leora’s,” and she also shared a little history of her family that was published in my column. It was a great article, and oh, by the way, I prepared the recipe she shared, and it was delicious.

I recently ran into Debbie and her husband David not too long ago, and if you know her, that is not hard to do, as she is full of energy and on the go all the time. In fact, about anything going on around the area, if she is not involved in helping produce the event, more than likely she will make an appearance there. She is also involved in a lot of the happenings that goes on in Miami, as well as manages Miami’s favorite Facebook Page “You Know You Are from Miami OK When.” Anyway, the last time I ran into her, I asked her if she would share another recipe with me post, which she agreed to do. In fact, she sent me two recipes, in which I will share the other recipe at a later date.

Now, in talking cooking with Debbie, I was able to learn quite quickly that she does a lot of cooking by adding a dash of this and a little of that, to her recipes, which is the sign of a great and experienced cook in my book. As soon as I read through the recipes she had sent me, I knew right away they were creations she had come up with using her method of cooking, to which I am very anxious to give them a try. I am also willing to bet that some, if not all, the ingredients used in her recipe she and husband David probably grew themselves. In fact, the plants that I’m eating tomatoes from this summer were started from seed last winter, in their personal greenhouse that they built. So, I’m extremely excited to share another great dish to all of you, and hopeful you will prepare for yourself. A recipe shared by one of our own homegrown MHS Wardogs.

Garden Stir Fry (For Two)

1 yellow squash diced

1 zucchini squash diced

1/2 onion diced

1 jalapeño minced

8-10 okra sliced

8-10 green beans, stems removed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 bunch or more broccoli, bite size pieces

6 Roma tomatoes, 4 diced and 2 squeezed the insides and juice out

Garlic powder to taste

Dried and fresh basil to taste

Dried and fresh oregano to taste

A few dashes Louisiana hot sauce

Salt and pepper

Serve over seasoned and buttered brown rice or pasta and shaved Parmesan

Start with a tablespoon of olive oil in a stir fry pan or larger skillet and heat on medium high. Drop in the first 7 garden veggies and stir until coated with oil then cover and turn the heat to medium, stirring every minute or two until the veggies are crisp tender. Add the diced tomatoes and stir for a minute then squeeze the other two tomatoes in, discarding the outer parts. The fresh, diced tomatoes and innards and juice of the other two become your sauce. Add dry seasonings, stir, and cover, turn to low for just a minute or two. Stir in torn, fresh basil and oregano leaves if you have some from your garden.

Serve over seasoned and buttered brown rice. (I use garlic powder, Kerrygold butter, salt and pepper) or pasta. Garnish with Parmesan shavings and a small, fresh basil bouquet. Sweet is the perfect drink with this dish.