Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Colorful carrots can make an amazing side dish, both in presentation and taste. Easy and quick to prepare, these can be roasted in the oven or grilled on the barbecue. I had some place on my pizza pan so I decided to add finocchio. Turned out great!

colorful carrots (cut in even sized pieces)
finocchio (cut in even strips)
olive oil,  balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic,
parsley, and or any other spice you like
bread crumbs


put cut carrots and finocchio in a pan

add oil, balsamic vinegar and all spices
toss until well coated

add bread crumbs

line a pizza pan with parchment paper and place carrots and finocchio

drizzle a little more olive oil  all over

place in 350* oven on roast for 30 minutes or until tender

(if you don’t have the roast option on your oven, roast for 15 minutes on one side
and turn over to roast another 15 minutes on other side)

serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired

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With so many different kinds of vegetables available throughout the year, I cut, shred, dice and roast them almost on a weekly basis. I use them mixed with rice, quinoa, farro or pasta or simply alone as a side dish. With so many spices to choose from, every dish will have a unique taste.  This year the arugula in my garden is growing beautifully. I planted wild arugula last year so the plants just keep multiplying. So I decided to use the arugula to make a pesto.

wild arugula growing in the garden

wild arugula growing in the garden

wild arugula & wild garlic

wild arugula & wild garlic


roasted vegetables:
3 med  onions, diced
3 stalks of celery diced
2 bell pepper (any color), diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 tbsp arugula pesto
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

1 cup rice (any kind of rice, or quinoa)
2 cups chicken broth or water
Sea salt and white pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Place the onions,  peppers, zucchini on the baking sheet then add the cloves of garlic (skins on). Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; toss to coat evenly.
Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture, after 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash then continue to roast for 15 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once the garlic has cooled, carefully remove the skin without squeezing the cloves. Slice the garlic cloves then sprinkle on top of the roasted veggies.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the half of the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
Add the rice and cook, stirring often so the rice doesn’t stick to the pan, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and season with sea salt and white pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the rice from the burner without removing the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and fluff rice with a fork. Sprinkle with the roasted veggies; toss gently. Serve. Enjoy.

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This morning, I picked a little bit of everything in the garden for a fresh and simple breakfast. Parsley, basil, zucchini and the flowers, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic and carrots. A light stir fry and then I cooked the eggs in the same pan with all the juices from the veggies. Yummm!!




gardenfresh3Cut all the veggies into desired size and shape and lightly stir fry until wilted.

Chop all the herbs and add to stir fry.

Place veggies on a serving dish and cook eggs until done.

Combine veggies and eggs. Toast a few slices of your favorite bread and prepare some delicious coffee or some green tea.

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I picked a few carrots from my garden this morning and was planning to add them to a stir fry, however, they looked so perfect and delicious I decided to use them in a salad. With minimal cooking the carrots retained not only their color but the crispness as well.

The markets are brimming with local and freshly picked produce this month, so take advantage and stock up on your favorites and preserve, dry or freeze what you don’t use right away.



If the carrots are organic, don’t discard the carrot tops. Blanch them for a few minutes and use them like spinach, in a salad, in soups and best of all add them to your pesto.


olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt to taste

chopped garlic, basil and parsley

blanch carrots briefly for one minute so they retain their color and crispness

cut into your favorite shapes

add olive oil, balsamic vinegar

chopped basil and parsley

salt to taste and chopped garlic

mix well 


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Carrots are one plant that I never planted in my garden. This year I changed all that and planted my first ones. They are now my favorite plants. Super easy to plant and care for.  With all the different varieties that are available, you will have to prepare a nice size spot for them in your garden. Then there is the rainbow of colors to choose from! You’re in for a real treat if you’ve never planted carrots before. From planting, harvesting, preparing and eating, this is an amazing veggie to include in your garden every year.

The taste of freshly picked carrots is  exceptional and the carrot tops are equally delicious. This morning I thinned out the seedlings and pulled out some beautiful mini carrots. I decided to sauté them and their tops with a few garlic scapes left over from a few days ago when I made pesto.



Start to sauté an onion, add the scapes, mini carrots and their tops. Cook a few minutes until tender, add your favorite herbs, salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite style eggs for breakfast or a side dish for dinner. Simple and delicious!

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grilled okra


This side dish of grilled okra is not only easy, fast and delicious but also nutritious and low in calories.

Pick up a few at your farmer’s market, wash and thread them onto a few skewers alone or with other veggies.  Season them with your favorite spices, drizzle them with lemon, or dip them in different sauces. The possibilities are endless. Be creative and have some fun with this amazing veggie.


Washed and ready to be seasoned and grilled.



Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little paprika.

Cook until the skin of the okra begins to caramelize and then flip to cook the other side. Enjoy!

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garlic scapes


Garlic scapes are the wild and curly shoots that spring from the tops of garlic plants. They’re bright green, can be thick, thin, or curved and, they can be cut long or very long. They’ve got a mild garlic fragrance and a mellow garlic flavor. It’s got a freshness that garlic loses as it develops.

Cutting the scapes from the garlic plant strengthens the bulbs that are growing underground. This produces great garlic and at the same time a delicacy for us. It is not necessary to cook scapes but if you do cook them, cook them lightly.

Scapes store very well. They can be wrapped in a towel in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Flowering tips can be removed for easy handling. Trim tough ends if they are woody.



Scapes are entirely edible, although  in a stir fry I cut off a few inches from both sides so that I am left with the most tender part.  However, if I’m making pesto, I discard the bulb and use the rest.



Add whole or cut garlic scapes in boiling water and enjoy like green beans.

Blanch quickly before using in the frying pan, on pizza, or in an omelet.

Garlic scapes can be baked, roasted, fried or boiled just like a vegetable. They can also be minced like a green onion and added to salads, pizza, risottos or any pasta dish. Most important of all scapes make a great pesto.

Unfortunately, they are available for a short period of time so stock up and freeze them for later use. Happy scaping!

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If you like rice and lasagna, you will love this combination.  I picked up some fresh ricotta yesterday, so I added spoonfuls to the top for a nice cheesy crust.

Preheat oven to 350*

You will need some pesto to flavor the rice, so if you don’t have some already prepared this is an easy pesto recipe that won’t take long to make.

Cook the rice halfway and set aside.

Roast your favorite veggies.

Make a super delicious tomato sauce (not thick, more watery because the rice will soak it up)

Cut a few slices of zucchini, sweet potato, or any other favorite vegetable, for the middle of the lasagna.

You can even add a layer of spinach, arugula, swiss chard or rapini.

Cut slices of provolone or other cheese.

Grated parmesan cheese.

Mix the cooked rice with some olive oil, pesto, parmesan cheese, roasted vegetables and tomato sauce.

Mix the zucchini slices & sweet potato slices (or whatever you choose as your next layer) with pesto and a little olive oil.

Salt and pepper everything to taste.


Spread half the rice mixture in a baking dish, followed by slices of zucchini and sweet potato mixture.

Add a layer of cheese and sprinkle top with pesto and olive oil.

Repeat layers. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, add slices of cheese amd more tomato sauce.

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.


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These white japanese turnips are mild, crisp and watery. You can minimally cook them, roast them, grill them or just have them in their raw and tender state.  They don’t have the sting of sharpness that radishes do, and they’re much sweeter than you would expect.

You can cook baby turnips as you would potatoes — boil them, bake them or saute with butter, garlic and herbs for a delicious side dish. Also, the turnip greens sauteed with garlic can accompany any dish.

In the dish above, I roasted the turnips with bell peppers, mushrooms and spring onions. I sauteed the greens with a cup of chopped kale, a few fresh herbs and steamed a cup of rice.

IMG_6707Scrub off any dirt and wash turnips.

IMG_6710  Cut the greens and stems from the turnips and set aside.


Wash and prepare other ingredients.


Cut turnips in half, add a sliced red pepper, a few mushrooms, a handful of fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste and some chopped garlic. Place in a casserole with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat evenly and place in a hot 375* oven for about 30 minutes.


While the turnips are in the oven, steam the rice and sautee some green onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the pepper, mushrooms, turnip greens and kale. Cook until wilted. Combine roasted turnips and greens on a bed of rice or on the side. Serve hot. Enjoy!

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