Spring Radish Toast

Spring brings a multitude of fresh vegetables and one of my favorites is spicy radishes.  As a snack, on a salad or in this simple recipe, the crunch and sharp bite are something I crave!  Here, they are the star of the show and a different preparation than you may have tried.  I know you’ll love it as much as I do though!

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  • French Country White Bread or Baguette
  • 8-10 Spring Radishes
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • Fleur de Sel


  • Cut bread into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Place on a baking sheet and toast lightly under a broiler.
  • Remove from oven when light golden brown and allow to cool.
  • Wash, trim and slice radishes into 1/4-inch slices.  Set aside.
  • Use a knife or spatula to spread a visible layer of butter on each toast.  You’ll want the toast cool so the butter doesn’t melt.
  • Arrange radish slices in a single layer on top of each slice.
  • Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve immediately.


There’s just something about the crusty bread, creamy butter, spicy crisp radishes and crunchy salt that makes the perfect bite!  This is a wonderful appetizer or finger sandwich for a shower or party.  Elegant and rustic at the same time, you’ll want to make them again and again.  Dig in!


Arugula Salad

Sometimes simple is best.  I love all kinds of salads, but this is an easy no-fail salad that is perfect with any meal, to dress up a sandwich or top a pizza.  Just a coupe of ingredients highlight these peppery greens with almost no work at all.

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  • 6 Cups Arugula
  • 3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


  • Place arugula in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the greens.  Add salt and pepper.
  • Toss lightly to coat evenly.
  • Refrigerate up to 1 hour or serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan.

Voila!  The “little black dress” of salads is now your go-to for almost any occasion.  It’s perfect served to start a meal, as a brunch side with an omelet or quiche or just on its own with a perfectly grilled piece of fish.  Simple ingredients, easy to make and oh-so-delicious.  Dig in!

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Sometimes a fat kid just wants cheese sauce on his veggies!  There, I said it.  For all the refined meals, healthy snacks and exotic ingredients there are times when you want the comfort of steamed broccoli and cauliflower smothered in rich cheesy melty goodness.  Don’t buy the awful frozen stuff from the store.  It takes just a few minutes to make my easy recipe and you’ll be good to go when you get your next craving!




  • 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
  • 6 Ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. White Pepper
  • 2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce


  • In a small saucepan, warm milk over low heat.
  • While milk is warming, melt butter is a medium saucepan.
  • Add flour and stir together.  Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour and make a light rue.
  • Slowly pour warm milk into rue and stir together with a whisk until smooth.  Continue to cook for a few minutes until mixture has thickened.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in cheddar until melted.  Do not use pre-shredded cheese as the mixture will get too thick and won’t be as smooth.
  • Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire and stir.
  • Immediately serve over your favorite steamed veggies.

Better than a fake-cheese mess you find in the frozen section of your grocery store, this will quickly become a standard in your house.  Get your kids to eat their vegetables and enjoy the treat yourself.  Mostly, just enjoy the comfy goodness and dig in!

Creamy Dill Dip

There are countless tailgates and holidays in the coming months and there will undoubtedly be an equal number of veggie trays.  Despite my love of all things bacon-and-cheesy, I do enjoy and appreciate fresh vegetables and a really good dip.  Disappointing though are the prepared dips you find in the store.  They lack the right consistency and enough flavor to really keep your interest beyond ranch dressing.  My wife’s family has been making this creamy dill dip recipe for as long as she can remember and it is absolutely the favorite wherever we take it!




  • 16 Oz. Sour Cream
  • 16 Oz. Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Accent
  • 2 Tsp. Dried Minced Onion
  • 2 Tsp. Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tsp. Beau Monde Seasoning
  • 2 Tsp. Dried Dill
  • 4-6 Drops Hot Sauce


  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix sour cream and mayonnaise until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Chill at least 2 hours and serve.

There might be a lot of ingredients for just a dip, but you will definitely not be disappointed in the outcome!  Serve this with your favorite raw vegetables.  I also can’t get enough of pretzels and even chips dipped in the famous “dill dip”.  Either way, I can guarantee you’ll never buy store-made vegetable dip again.  Dig in and enjoy!!

Sweet Roasted Carrots

The carrot is an often uncelebrated vegetable that’s a staple of crudite platters and cream cheese frosting-covered cakes, but I don’t see them enough as sides at home or in restaurants.  With countless varieties there are flavors you can develop lending them to taste like parsnips or sweet potatoes.  I like to let them speak for themselves though and add just a few ingredients to bring out their natural flavor.  A hint of sugar helps to enhance their sweetness and depth of flavor.




  • 1 Large Bunch Organic Carrots (About 2 Lbs.)
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Sugar


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel carrots, trim ends and cut them on a bias into 2-inch chunks.
  • Place carrots on a large baking sheet with plenty of room – they should not be touching each other.
  • Drizzle carrots with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Toss in pan until thoroughly coated with all ingredients.
  • Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are slightly browned and fork-tender.

I think you’ll like how this recipe turns out because it’s simple, but has rich flavor.  I have substituted sugar in this recipe, roasted them with the other ingredients and then tossed the finished product with honey and grated fresh ginger.  There are tons of great fall flavors that you can also work into this recipe.  And don’t forget to try this roasting method with your other favorite veggies!  Dig in!

Quick Pickled Veggies

We wait and wait all year for our gardens to mature and the farmers markets to yield summer’s biggest bounty and then all of sudden – it’s time!!  It only lasts a little while in our part of the country and we have to take advantage of all the fresh produce while we can.  When you have a ton of veggies, try making quick pickles for a twist on grilled, baked, broiled, fried and sautéed garden treats!  There’s endless possibilities and a super easy process for you to start from.  Below are three of my favorites – the ingredients are slightly different for each, but the process is exactly the same for all three.




  • 1/2 Large Sweet Onion Sliced
  • 8 Radishes – 1/4 Inch Slices
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tsp Pickling Spices



  • 8 Small Cucumbers – 1/2 Inch Slices
  • 1 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 4 Large Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Slightly Crushed
  • 1 Small Bunch Fresh Dill
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes



  • 6 Banana Peppers – 1/2 Inch Slices
  • 8 Serrano Peppers – 1/2 Inch Slices
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pickling Spices

Instructions (For All 3 Varieties)

  • Place sliced vegetables into a wide-mouth quart-size canning jar or similar container.
  • In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Salt and sugar should be dissolved and you’ll smell the spices.
  • Allow mixture to cool slightly – about 10 minutes.  Then pour mixture over veggies in the jar.
  • If there is not enough liquid to cover veggies, add a few ice cubes to fill the rest of the space.  It will also help with the cooling process.
  • Allow jars to cool for 20 minutes.  Then screw on lids and place in the refridgerator for at least 24 hours.
  • Eat and enjoy for up to two weeks.


Again, this process is basic and easy to execute.  You can buy pickling spice in several markets, but I love the mixture from Penzey’s Spices.  Click on the link to check it out along with their huge selection.  Can’t find pickling spice?  Try using a combination of bay leaf, mustard seed, coriander seed, cinnamon, allspice, star anise, peppercorns, and cardamom.  As I said before, you can use all kinds of flavor combinations depending on your preference.  Some of you will probably want more salt in each of these recipes, but give it a try and let me know how it goes.

These recipes are great for veggies to top your salads, on sandwiches or as accompaniments to a great charcuterie and cheese plate.  Heck, just snack on them with a few cold beers – how could you go wrong??  Good luck, enjoy summer’s bounty and happy pickling!!

Deana’s Green Beans

Like a lot of people, I grew up eating frozen and canned green beans and never knew the unbelievable deliciousness that is fresh green beans cooked with fatty salt pork.  Fortunately, a distant cousin in the family introduced me to them almost 20 years ago and I’ve never looked back!  There’s a few key things to note.  First, only half-runners will do versus any other type of green bean.  The family has grown their own for more than 50 years and this is the tried-and-true variety for the best flavor and tenderness.  Next, there is a very methodical process to harvesting, stringing, breaking and canning.  It’s hard work, time-consuming, therapeutic and TOTALLY worth it!  I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to go through all of it this past weekend and am sharing the super-simple, but the best way to prepare these emerald gems.

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  • 12 Cups Fresh Green Beans
  • 12 Oz Salt Pork, Cubed
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water


  • In a colander, wash green beans thoroughly.  Drain well.
  • Place washed beans in a large pot or dutch oven.  Porcelain-coated cast iron works great here.
  • Add salt pork, salt, pepper and water and stir together.
  • Cook on medium-low, covered, for 6 hours stirring every 30 minutes.
  • Green beans will darken in color and soften completely.  Serve and enjoy!  (HINT:  if you don’t have fried chicken and cornbread, you’re probably eating them wrong!)


Yeah, it’s just that easy.  The key is to put very little water in the pot and allow the pork fat to coat the beans.  I was told by Deana herself that “you should never need a slotted spoon to serve your green beans”.  If these aren’t some of the best beans you’ve ever tasted, tell me how you like them.  I love a fresh bean just sautéed and eaten crisp, but it doesn’t remind me of the hard work done to grow, harvest, prep and can these.  Try these and taste the love!!