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Purple Haze Kraut
Here is a twist on my infamous Purple Haze hot sauce!
This will make your dog or veggie dog scream! It's great wherever you need some combustible food fun!
1 16 oz jar or bag of good quality live sauerkraut
12 ounces pineapple juice
4-5 habanero chiles, or 6-7 scotch bonnets stemmed, seeds intact
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 teaspoons ginger, dry
1  teaspoons thyme, fresh, divided
4 ounces cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
Put the habaneros and onions in a food processor and pulse to chop everything very fine.
Put this mix in a non reactive pot with the pineapple juice, cabbage, vinegar, ginger, cornstarch, brown sugar, salt and the thyme. Bring to a boil then simmer 5-10 minutes to concentrate the flavors. This is the Purple Haze sauce. Cool it, them mix with the kraut!
and jar it up. It will last, refrigerated for up to two months or more.

Enjoy with beer, a fruity cocktail or a glass of cold white wine like the Finger Lakes riesling in the picture. Don’t do red wine!!! It will make the peppers hotter and will also make the cabbage bitter 


Macaroni and Peas

Episode 2 Recipe

My affair with peas, fresh pea soup and mac and peas.

The first days of summer is around the corner and the local veggies are just starting to pop. It has been a slow start this year here in the Hud-Val. Though we have have a few hot days, the chilly weather has lingered a little longer than usual. But now, past mid june, the early pop of peas and strawberries are upon us. It’s time to get to work.


Peas are an interesting early crop. They can be so delicious when fresh, are bland and starchy if handled incorrectly. The trick with peas is to use them as soon as you can. As soon as they are picked from the plant, they begin the process of turning the natural sugars into starches. So if you get peas from the farmers market and you want them to be magically sweet, process them right away.


I have learned my lesson. Too often I would buy a big bag of fresh peas from the farm stand, bring them home and throw them in the fridge.  Two or three days later I would deal with them.. The results were always chalky and bland, So there is no time to waste. Pick em, shell em and cook em, or blanch them for one minute, shock them in ice water and then freeze them.


Oh yea, then you have frozen peas! Well, that ain’t so bad. Most frozen peas are always sweet because they are processed and frozen within 12 hours of picking. And--they are great in recipes, especially quick pastas and rice dishes.

So don’t DAWDLE. Eat em of freeze em the day you buy them!


My absolute FAVORITE dish when I was a kid was

Macaroni and Peas.

It was my mom’s go to dish to fill me up on a busy school night.

Elbow macaroni with sweet peas, butter, Parmigiana and black pepper. Nothing else. It is so simple and so perfect. In an Italian home, this was our version of mac’n’cheese. But better, way better.


Bring your salted water to a boil.

Serves 4

1 lb elbow macaroni

2 cups fresh shelled peas.

Half a stick unsalted butter (2 oz)

¼ cup grated Parmigiana cheese, or sardo, or Sonoma jack ( nothing processed please!)

Plus more on the table

Black pepper to taste, push it!


Drop the elbows in amply salted water to cook.  

When they are about almost ready add the peas. When the pasta is done, remove it from the pot with a spider to a large serving bowl.

Add about 2 oz of the pasta water and the butter.

Stir. Now add the cheese and about 6 twists of the peppermill.

Stir and serve hot.

Hit it with fresh grinds of black pepper and more cheese as you go.




Episode 1 Recipe


Zucchini Noodles with shrimp and ramp pesto.

My recipes are easy, BUT I want to impart the experience I have gathered into your cooking. Too many cooks make make tasty food but just miss on technique. Chin up, don't be daunted, my recipes are not just lists of ingredients but roadmaps to cooking more professionally at home. 

 Among other things this recipe with teach you to add the cheese to pesto AFTER it is out of the food processor so it doesn’t get gummy, AND to par sear your shrimp before assembling the dish so they don’t get cooked to rubber!

This dish is just as easy to make vegetarian, and to make it vegan, substitute nutritional yeast for the Romano cheese to taste


2 large zucchini OR 12 oz pre cooked spaghetti

12 large wild gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined

Olive oil and neutral oil like sunflower or safflower oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

A handful of cherry tomatoes , cut in half

¼ cup good quality olives, pitted and roughly chopped if they are real big

1 bunch of ramps, about 8

1 small bunch basil leaves

1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted golden brown, divided into two piles

¼ pecorino romano cheese

Juice of half as lemon


Zucchini noodles.

If you have a vegetable noodle cutter, break it cut and prep the zucchini noodles into spaghetti size strands. I have also seen vegetable noodles precut in local supermarkets recently as they are all the rage.

If you are doing spaghetti, put on some water and get it cooking; you know how.


Ramp Pesto.

Bring small pot of salted water to a boil.

Remove the roots from the ramps, then cut the stems right up to the beginning of the leaves into small pieces and reserve half..

Plunge the leaves and half of the stem pieces into the boiling water for 5 seconds and then remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and run cold water on them until they are cool. Leave the water at a simmer.

Use a towel and squeeze out and excess water from the ramps.

Roughly chop the leaves and put them in a food processor with the basil, parsley, half of the sunflower seeds and a generous pinch of salt.  Pulse the machine to chop up the mix.

Now add a few tablespoons of the neutral oil and a bit of water a few drops at a time while the machine is running to make a relatively smooth pesto.

Remove from the processor to a bowl and fold in the cheese.

Taste for salt and adjust to your taste.


The dish.

Use a large heavy skillet. Heat it with enough olive oil to coat the pan until shimmering. Add the shrimp to the pan, not overlapping,  and season with a little salt. Cook the shrimp on one side until they are golden, then turn them over. Cook just another 30 seconds and then remove them from the pan and reserve.

While the pan is still hot add the cherry tomatoes and the reserved chopped ramp stems and saute to soften.

Add the olives and return the shrimp to the pan.

Now stir in about three quarters of the pesto.

Top this with a big mound of zucchini noodles. They will reduce to about a third of their volume when they cook.

Add a 2 ounces of the salted blanching water the the pan.

Cover it with a lid and let it gently steam for about three minutes.

Remove the lid and toss to coat everything with the pesto.

Hit it with a squeeze of lemon.

Taste for seasoning.

Serve it garnished with the remaining sunflower seeds.

Serve the remaining pesto and more cheese on the side.