The sweet leaves of spring beets are delicious in all sorts of ways, but the less done to them in spring, the better.

Try chopping up one shallot and three cloves of garlic, and cooking them in a splash of olive oil until fragrant. Throw in a pinch of kosher salt. Cut up the beet greens into one inch pieces. Throw them in, stir until just wilted. Drip a little balsamic vinegar over it all, and serve. So yummy, and you really can’t mess it up. Undercooking is better than overcooking in this situation… Some people like this with dill or parsley, chopped finely.

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For this, you will need store bought phyllo dough in sheets that you unroll, rather than phyllo dough cups.

You will need some winter squash. You can buy the whole thing, peel it, and cut it into chunks, or you can buy it in chunks already. Once you have the chunks, dump them on cookie sheet lined with foil and bake at 350 until soft. When finished baking, mash with potato masher until you have a uniform paste. Add cinnamon to taste, a tiny bit of nutmeg, and brown sugar to taste. Set aside to cool. Meantime, separate the phyllo dough sheets. Alternate a sheet or two of phyllo dough with a thin layer of the mashed squash either on cookie sheet or in baking dish. Bake in oven at 350 until the phyllo dough is cooked (follow directions on box). Serve with a bit of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

For this, you will need a mound of dill, some of those little red potatoes, a few capers (marinated, not salted), and a little olive oil.

This is super easy.

Wash the potatoes. Boil them in a large pot until a fork goes in easily. This recipe tastes better if the potatoes are not overcooked, so poke them with some frequency to make sure you do not miss the point of doneness.

While the potatoes are cooking, wash and cut up a lot of dill. The little leaves are more delicate then the stems, so cut up the leaves and throw the stems out. When the dill is cut up, put it in a bowl, add a couple of teaspoonfuls of capers, and a splash of olive oil. Do not worry about exact measurement. You really can’t mess this up.

With a spoon, mash the dill slightly into the oil to make the whole thing nice and aromatic.

When the potatoes are boiled, dump them into the bowl with the dill, and stir until coated. When in doubt, add more deal and a little more olive oil. When coated, serve immediately.

For this one, you will need a large tomato, a small onion, a couple of whole black peppercorns, and a head of cabbage. It will be a bit stinky, but worth it.

Shred the cabbage, either by cutting or in food processor. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but thin strips help. Add a little salt, mix, and set aside until you need it.

Cut the tomato into thick wedges or slices, and cook in a pan with a little oil until it is completely mushy. When it is mushy, if you tug on the corner of the skin, it should just come off and you can take it out. When the tomato is ready, and before you add the onion, throw in the black peppercorns. Don’t forget to remove them before serving. Some people also like to add a bay leaf. It gives a more rich, savory aroma.

While the tomato is cooking, cut the onion in very thin rings, strips, or small pieces. You can run it through the same food processor as the cabbage. When the tomato is cooked, pull out its skin and add the onion. Cook, stirring a bit, until the onion is translucent. At this point, if you want to go vegan, simply add the cabbage. If you want to add a bit of fat and flavor, throw in a dab of butter, wait for it to melt, and then put in the cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, on medium heat. After it reduces a little, cover it. Cook until the cabbage is soft and has turned a little pink from the tomato. If you like it a little sour, add a tiny bit of vinegar or even lemon juice. Do not overdo this.

It is hard to overcook this dish, so keep cooking if you are not sure. If it’s been on for over 40 minutes, you are probably done, but it’s just going to get softer as you cook, so no harm done…

 

This sauce takes a while, but you can prep as you cook. No need to prestage anything. I love to make a huge stockpot of it, and freeze it in small containers for individual servings later.

You can scale this up or down, and change the amount of each ingredient depending on your preferences.

I use 8 large tomatoes, 3 onions, a head of garlic, a box of mushrooms (baby bellas or any other basic bland mushroom will do), 2 zucchini, 1 small can of unflavored tomato paste, 3 sweet peppers.

Cut up two of the onions, and start them sauteeing. While they slowly cook, take the biggest cloves from the garlic, and cut them up small. Throw them in with the garlic. If you want to add meat at this point, you can throw in a package of ground turkey or lean ground beef. Cook until browned, stirring. If you want to keep it vegetarian, simply skip this step and cook onions and garlic for a few minutes.

Once this step is complete, cut mushrooms into big chunks (or use pre-cut), and throw them in. Cut tomatoes into big chunks, and throw them in too. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are mushy and have released juice. Add tomato paste. Stir, cook some more.

When the tomatoes, are no longer recognizable as individual chunks, cut up the other onion in big chunks, and throw it in. Trim the small garlic cloves and either throw them in whole or cut in half.

Cut the zucchini in large chunks and throw in. Stir. Cut up the peppers, throw them in.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 mins. At the end, add oregano or basil or both to taste, as well as salt, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

You can serve immediately, or close lid and let it sit for a while, as the sauce will continue cooking.

Can be kept in refrigerator and reheated for 3 days, or frozen to reheat for up to 3 months.

You will need rice (white, brown, wild, whatever), red, yellow, or orange peppers, portabello mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley. Salt and spices to taste.

Use a sharp knife to cut around the stems of the peppers, and pull them out like bottle stoppers. Use a strong stream of cold water to wash out the seeds left inside.

Cut up the onions fine, and start it cooking on medium heat in a little oil, stirring occasionally. You need one small onion for two large mushrooms. While the onion is cooking, chop or press the garlic (as much or little as you like). Add the garlic once the onion becomes translucent. Lower temperature, and let it cook while you chop the mushrooms. Throw them in whenever finished, and cook on medium for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. While you are doing this, put the rice to cook according to instructions. When rice is cooked, dump it in with the mushrooms. Mix everything together, let it cool. Chop some parsley and add to the cooled mixture. Add salt, red pepper, or any other spices you like, to taste. Spoon the mixture into the peppers. Line the filled peppers up on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

If you want to add some ground turkey or ground beef to the recipe, just brown it and dump in with the rice.

You will need an eggplant, some garlic, and either mayonnaise or a dressing equivalent.

Split the eggplant in half lengthwise. Add a little olive or vegetable oil on top, and bake, cut side up, on a foil covered cookie sheet, until browned and mushy. For this recipe, it is better to overcook then undercook. While 350F is a temperature that seems to work, a slightly cooler or warmer oven will do no harm.

Once the eggplant is cooked, remove from oven and cool. While it is cooling, take a few cloves of garlic (you decide how many depending on how garlicky you like it), and either cut them up very small or mash them in a garlic press.

Once the eggplant is cool, scoop it out of its skin, and mash it with a fork, adding the chopped garlic. Once the two are integrated, add a little mayo. If you want to go vegan, you san skip the mayo, and end up with a less creamy taste.

Adding a little parsley or cilantro brightens the flavor, but is not required.

 

You can store this in fridge for several days in air-tight container. I like to spread in on bread with my sandwich or serve it with meat as a flavorful sauce.