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Filtering by Category: vegetables

Cooking Ramps

Patricia Reitz

Ramps are a springtime delicacy which are only available for a short time so be sure to grab them when you see them. You’ll most likely find them at farmer’s markets or roadside farm stands where they might also be called wild leeks, wood leeks, wild onions, and/or wild garlic

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Restaurant Style Salsa

Patricia Reitz

I’m not kidding when I say I could eat chips and salsa every day of my life, without complaint. No exaggeration - it’s one of my favorite things ever. I have a number of oven roasted salsa recipes on this blog, but when I need a salsa fix fast, I can throw a few simple canned ingredients together to to make this restaurant-style version. It goes without saying, use the best canned tomatoes you can - DO NOT use bitter tasting canned tomatoes. No amount of salt or sugar will fix the bitterness. Some canned tomato brands I’m fond of - Cento, SMT, Tuttorosso, Muir Glen, and Sclafani.

Restaurant Style Salsa

makes about 1 quart

Printable Recipe


  • 28-ounce can tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed… doesn’t matter)

  • 10-ounce can Ro-tel tomatoes (tomatoes with chilis)

  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 1 teaspoon Jane’s crazy mixed up salt (or table salt)

  • optional: 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)


  1. In a blender or food processor, pulse all ingredients together until they reach your desired consistency.

  2. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Simple 10-Minute Tomato Sauce (Marinara)

Patricia Reitz

One of the most popular recipes on this blog has been my san marzano tomato sauce that I posted a number of years ago.  And I have to say, it's popular for good reason, it's a fabulous recipe.  But honestly, it takes quite a bit of time to prepare, and 9 times out of 10 I prefer this simple marinara that only takes about 10 minutes to make.  Let me show you how it's done.


Before you do anything, make sure you have the can of crushed tomatoes open and place it near the stovetop.

In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, heat extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, and optional crushed red pepper flakes over medium high heat.

Saute the garlic for about 1 minute until fragrant, being careful not to let the garlic burn.


Immediately pour the crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper into the pan and stir well.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 

If you want to add the optional fresh basil, add a whole sprig about 5 minutes after adding the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan.


Just stir the sprig into the sauce and let it simmer away for the remaining 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and get ready to add the magic ingredient, a pat of butter.  Yes, butter!  So to recap, the crushed red pepper flakes are optional, the fresh basil is optional, but the butter is NOT optional!  You'll thank me later.  You're welcome.


Just before serving, remove the wilted and discolored basil.  It's imparted all its wonderful flavor into the sauce so we don't need it anymore.   Enjoy!  

Item's used to make this recipe:

Simple 10-Minute Tomato Sauce

makes about 3 cups

Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (suggested brands: smt, cento, muir glen, tuttorosso, sclafani)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt or fine sea salt)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 sprig of basil (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon butter (don't leave this out - it's magic)


  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive olive oil, garlic, and optional crushed red pepper flakes until garlic is fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.

  2. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper; stir well.

  3. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes (or up to 30 minutes if you have the time). If using optional basil, add it whole during the last 5 minutes of cooking, then discard.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

Spicy Leeks and Rainbow Chard

Patricia Reitz

I found the most beautiful rainbow chard and baby leeks at the farmer's market and decided to come up with a recipe that featured both.  It's excellent served as a side dish, but it's equally good into an omelet.  


I was so taken by the beauty of my rainbow chard, I forgot to take a number of the prep photos for this recipe, but be sure to wash the produce well and spin it pretty dry in a salad spinner (I think I use mine just about every day!).  This recipe involves a lot of chopping too, but a good sharp chef's knife will make fast work of it.

Start with a bunch of swiss chard, stems and leaves separated.  Cut the tender leaves into ribbons and chop the stems into 1/2-inch lengths - you can see how I separate the stems from the leaves here in my recipe for Swiss Chard with Bacon and Garlic.  


In a large skillet, saute 4 stips of thick bacon, cut into small pieces (called "lardon" in the biz).  When the bacon is done just the way you like it, remove it from the skillet, but leave all the drippings in the pan.


Over medium heat, saute the chopped chard stems with a pinch of kosher salt in the bacon drippings until softened, about 4 minutes.

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Add the leek rings with another pinch of kosher salt (be sure to wash well - leeks can have a lot of sandy grit hiding between the leaves).  Saute for another 4 or 5 minutes until the rings have separated and become tender.


Add the chard leaves that have been cut into ribbons.  Stir for about a minute until the leaves wilt.


Return the cooked bacon to the pan.


Add a tablespoon of sriracha....

And 1/4 teaspoon of red wine vinegar.  Stir until mixed well and serve.

Items used to make this recipe:

Spicy Leeks and Swiss Chard

makes 4 servings


  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardon (small strips)

  • swiss or rainbow chard, (12 leaves about 8 inches in length), stems and leaves chopped separately

  • 4 baby leeks (about 1/2-inch in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch rings

  • kosher salt to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sriracha


  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until desired doneness; remove bacon from pan, but reserve drippings.

  2. Cut chard stems into 1/2-inch lengths and saute with a pinch of kosher salt in hot bacon drippings until tender, about 4 minutes.

  3. Add the sliced leeks and a pinch of kosher salt to the pan; saute for another 4 minutes, stirring often to separate leek rings.

  4. Add chard leaves that have been cut into ribbons; stir for about a minute until the leaves wilt.

  5. Return cooked bacon to the pan; add sriracha and red wine vinegar and stir well. Serve immediately.

Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick

Patricia Reitz

Help!  I can't stop eating these things.  I'm not even kidding - they're totally addictive!  Why have I waited so long to try them?   Feel free to increase, decrease, or omit the cayenne to suit your taste.

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Start by preheating the oven to 400F.  Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas, then dry them well with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.  Place them o a rimmed half sheet pan and give the pan a shake to spread them out a bit.  Pop in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then give the chickpeas a toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Time to mix up the flavorings.  Whisk together extra virgin olive oil (a good, fruity one), garlic salt, and cayenne pepper. 

This teeny-tiny whisk makes me happy. 


After the chickpeas have been in the oven for 30 minutes, drizzle the olive oil mixture over them and toss well to coat.  Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool before crunching and munching on them.   

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I’m telling you, make extra because they’re going to disappear fast!  But in the event you should find yourself with leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.   

Items used to make this recipe:

Roasted Chickpeas with a Kick

makes 2 cups


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and dried

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. Dry rinsed chickpeas well and place on a rimmed half sheet pan.

  3. Roast in the center of preheated oven for 15 minutes; toss chickpeas and roast another 15 minutes.

  4. Combine olive oil, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper; drizzle over chickpeas and return to oven for 15 minutes.

  5. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

Note:  To make the chickpeas extra crispy, roast them for 15 minutes longer than stated in the recipe (for a grand total of 60 minutes), but watch them carefully so they don't burn.

Zoodles with Beet Pesto

Patricia Reitz

I got a spiralizer for Christmas and I have to say, I'm in love with it.  Zucchini noodles (zoodles) are so much fun to make (and eat)... and I love all the interesting ways there are to serve them.  Today I covered raw zucchini noodles with a stunning pink pesto made with garlic, beets, and almond meal.  You don't really taste the beets in this pesto, but you do taste a lot of garlic.  Actually, the pesto was so delicious, I found myself blissfully devouring every last bit that I could scrape out of the blender jar.  This recipe is a keeper for sure!   


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Start by spiralizing 2 zucchini (this is the spiralizer I have).

I promise, once you start cranking out the zoodles, you'll be hooked.

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The beet pesto ingredients are placed in a food processor or vitamix and whirred together.  Simple! 

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These zoodles are served at room temperature so pour the beet pesto on the zoodles and combine.  That's it - you're about 10 minutes away from having a garlic flavor bomb explode in your mouth.  

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Oh my, I wish you could taste this amazing dish.  I really hope you'll give it a try soon.

Items used to make this recipe:

Zoodles with Beet Pesto

makes 6 servings


  • 2 medium zucchini, washed

  • 1 cup cooked red beets, peeled

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup almond meal

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons warm water

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Spiralize zucchini into spaghetti-like zoodles; set aside.

  2. In a food processor or vitamix blender, blend together the cooked beets, olive oil, almond meal, red wine vinegar, water, and garlic.

  3. Taste carefully and add kosher salt and pepper to taste; stir well.

  4. Pour beet pesto over raw zucchini zoodles and serve immediately.

Note:  The pesto can be made ahead of time, but don't toss with the zoodles until just before serving (doing so will make the sauce watery). 

To Cook Beets:  Trim stems and leaves.  Cover beets with water and boil for 50-60 minutes or until a knife easily pierces all the way through (be sure beets stay completely submerged).  Remove beets from water.  When cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to remove and discard skin.  Wear disposable gloves to keep your hands from getting stained. 

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Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

Patricia Reitz

I'm so glad the old standard boiling method of cooking Brussels sprouts has fallen out of fashion - the results were limp, soggy, gray sprouts that surely had little to no nutritional value.  These days, roasting and sauteing are more common cooking techniques, resulting in creamy, caramelized, vibrant colored sprouts that haven't had all their nutritional value sucked away in a sea ofboiling water. 

Today I've taken my usual oven roasted sprouts and dressed them up with a really tasty mixture of sauteed onions and pancetta, and just before serving, I added shavings of really good parmesan.  This recipe is really delicious and worthy of being served at any holiday meal.  

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Start by sauteing diced onions and pancetta in a really large skillet over medium high heat, stirring frequently.

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Continue sauteing until the onions and pancetta begin to caramelize.  


Turn off the heat and add a little water to deglaze the pan, then add a touch of red wine vinegar - the flavor combination is pure magic!

Pour the mixture over roasted Brussels sprouts and top with shavings of the good stuff, Parmigiano Reggiano.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 pound roasted Brussels sprouts (recipe here)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 8 ounces diced pancetta

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • shaved parmesan


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and pancetta, stirring frequently, until caramelized.

  2. Add water to deglaze pan; remove from heat and stir in red wine vinegar.

  3. Pour contents of pan over roasted sprouts and top with shaved parmesan.