Category Archives: Cooking

BosGuy cooks brussel sprouts

bosguy cooksRoasted brussel sprouts seem to be very trendy at the moment. I love roasted veggies and brussel sprouts in particular are quite nutritious; rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so I thought I’d suggest this easy recipe.  The prep work is very easy and if you use tinfoil you needn’t even dirty a single pan – total prep and cooking time is 40 minutes.

bosguy cooks

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees then soak the sprouts in salted water for a few moments to help remove any dirt.  After, chop the stem and remove any discolored outer leaves. Aside from mincing a garlic clove, this is all the food prep required.

bosguy cooksOnce the brussel sprouts have been prepped you will need 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil (enough to thoroughly coat the sprouts), a minced clove of garlic, a few pinches of salt and a ziploc bag that you can use to incorporate the ingredients.

bosguy cooksOnce you’ve added everything in the ziploc bag – give it a thorough shaking. You want the salt, garlic and olive oil to cover / coat the sprouts to add flavor and prevent them from drying out or burning when you roast them in the oven.

Pour out the brussel sprouts, garlic and salt into a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil (to make the clean up easier) and insert the tray into the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Shake / stir the sprouts every 10 minutes to help the vegetables cook more evenly. They are delicious when you take them out of the oven, but beware – they are extremely hot. bosguy cooks

BosGuy’s chicken and pasta

BosGuy cooksI’m mindful of the fact that I’ve not posted much pertaining to cooking lately.  Part of that is because I tend to repeat a lot of meals that I really like, such as my Wicked Awesome Chicken and Peppers.

Last week I made this (a personal favorite) with extra dashes of crushed red pepper for additional heat since Sergio was away.  This is such an easy, affordable meal that it is one of my ‘go-to’ plates.  The secret ingredient for this meal is the pepperini.  I didn’t mention them when I first shared the recipe, because I don’t like the jarred variety sold in grocery chains, preferring the deli variety I have at my local grocer.

The plate I made last week with homemade spinach linguine was so good I actually had to talk to myself in the mirror to explain why I didn’t need a third plate.

Do you have a go to plate that you absolutely love? What is it?

BosGuy cooks cauliflower (part 2)

BosGuy cooksThis past February I wrote about cooking cauliflower in this post. This past weekend I picked up cauliflower and decided I’d experiment with trying to make a version of mashed potatoes but in lieu of using the spud, I’d swap it out with cauliflower. The ingredients I used included: one head of cauliflower, one clove of garlic, 7 oz of plain Greek yogurt, skim milk (sorry – I didn’t measure), 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted cauliflower and garlicThe first step included chopping the cauliflower and roasting it alongside a head of garlic in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 F. I let the cauliflower and garlic rest for about 10-15 minutes to cool then I added them along with the remainder of the ingredients in a blender.

BosGuy cooks cauliflowerIn hindsight I should have used my little Cuisinart because the blender was too deep but after a bit of cursing I was able to get everything to work and puree the ingredients.  It was at this point that I added the skim milk to try and help with the blending process.

BosGuy cooks cauliflowerWhile I’m relatively happy with this cooking experiment there are a few things I might do differently. My mother suggested that I steam the cauliflower because it will add moisture. I’m inclined to agree and will try that next time.  Do you have a recipe for something similar? Tell me about it by emailing me or leaving instructions in the comments section.

BosGuy cooks: Wicked awesome chicken and peppers

bosguy cooksThis easy to make dinner provides a lot of flavor and can be prepped and cooked in approximately 30 minutes. Ingredients include: 1 lb of chicken, 2 bell peppers, 6-8 small spicy peppers, 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, oregano and flour.

BosGuy cooks

Step 1: Dredge the chicken in flour and add to an already hot pan with olive oil and two crushed garlic cloves over medium heat. Cover the chicken once added and flip the pieces as they start to brown.  Add the dried herbs – crushed red pepper and oregano.

Step 2: Cut the bell peppers and smaller spicy pepperoncini and add to the pan then cover.  Continue to vigorously shake the pan to keep the chicken from sticking.  The peppers will create a lot of steam that the chicken will absorb so be sure to cover the pan once they are added.

Step 3: Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of white wine and cover.  Continue to vigorously shake the pan rather than taking the lid off to stir so the ingredients all mix. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the meat.

BosGuy cooksThe smell of this as it cooks (esp. once you’ve added the peppers and wine) is heady, keep it covered so the chicken will absorb those flavors. This dish is best served over a bed of pasta – my preference is linguine.  If possible add 1/4 of a cup (half a ladle) of the boiling water that cooked the pasta this will add more liquid and flavor. Toss the cooked pasta in the pan or use tongs to coat it with all the flavors from the chicken, peppers and wine.

BosGuy cooks shrimp scampi with linguine

Shrimp scampi is an easy and quick meal that anyone can make if you have two pans and the right ingredients – which fortunately are easy to buy and not expensive.  I served this dinner following an arugula salad with tomatoes, walnuts and cranberries that I paired with a delicious sauvignon  blanc (Petit Bourgeois that Brix sells for $12.99).

BosGuy cooks

Click on photograph to enlarge

Ingredients for the shrimp scampi include:  1/2 lb of linguine, 12 shrimp, 1/2 cup of white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc), 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 4 garlic cloves sliced thinly, a dash of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (for some heat – optional). Not shown is the olive oil I coated the pan with to start the cooking.

Start by boiling water for your pasta in one pan and adding oil in a frying pan and turning the heat to medium high. After a minute, add the sliced garlic and butter and stir to prevent the ingredients from burning.

Once you smell the garlic cooking and it slightly browns add seasonings: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and the shrimp then cover the pan. Give the pan a good shake and flip the shrimp after a minute or two. Once the shrimp is pink on both sides, add the parsley, turn off stove and remove from heat but keep covered.

When the pasta is done add it to the pan; coat the pasta with the wine and butter sauce so all the flavors are absorbed and will flavor the pasta.BosGuy cooksThen plate and serve. The longest part of this dinner is waiting for the water to boil for the pasta and assembling the ingredients. My total cooking time was about 20 minutes and the cost of this dinner (which by the way serves two) was approximately $7.00.

BosGuy cooks: Wicked awesome zucchini

BosGuy cooksThis is a good vegetarian option for the winter because it is so hearty.  It takes one hour to make because there are a few steps but it is worth the effort. Ingredients include:  4-5 zucchini, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella, 1 cup of panko w/ spinach (use bread crumbs if you prefer) 8-10 oz of spinach, 14-16 oz of red sauce, 4-6 roasted garlic cloves, one roasted red bell pepper, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 of a sweet onion.

First, make a red sauce.  I used a trusty jarred variety but I pureed and added 1/2 an onion, roasted red bell pepper and 4 roasted garlic cloves in a pan before adding the sauce for flavoring. The peppers will make the sauce sweet which is important.  Let the sauce simmer for ~15 mins then prep the zucchini for breading.BosGuy cooksThe first plate includes two egg yolks and some water whisked lightly followed by a container with 1 cup of spinach flavored panko crumbs and half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. After breading each zucchini strip place it on a foiled pan and put it in a preheated oven (at 350 degrees Farenheit) for 15 minutes.

While the breaded zucchini is in the oven, add the spinach with 2 crushed garlic cloves and a splash of white wine in a pan over medium heat and cover to wilt it. This will be layered onto the zucchini when you prep BosGuy’s Wicked Awesome Zucchini.

Add a ladle of red sauce to the bottom of a rectangular oven safe container. This will prevent the zucchini from sticking when you layer them (see below).  After you place the first layer of zucchini, add the wilted spinach (remove the crushed garlic cloves) and ladle more sauce, sprinkle some Mozzarella. BosGuy cooksBosGuy cooksAdd a final layer of zucchini and add enough sauce and cheese to cover the vegetables entirely.  Then cover with foil and place it in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes.  When you take out the zucchini give it 10 minutes to cool then enjoy.

BosGuy cooks

BosGuy cooks cauliflower

BosGuy cooksCauliflower is affordable to buy and very healthy, but people seem to rarely purchase it.  I have a quick, easy recipe that is great as a side dish or snack that takes 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients: head of Cauliflower, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, handful of grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt.

BosGuy cooksCut the cauliflower florets and put them in a pan with only a little olive oil over medium low heat. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and pepper then cover.

Let the vegetable cook for a few minutes to soften then put the cauliflower into a glass oven-safe container and sprinkle 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and roughly half that amount of grated Parmesan cheese.  Cover the cauliflower with foil so the moisture won’t escape and bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

BosGuy cooksI like to take out of the oven when they are slightly golden. Let them cool slightly and eat them like on would popcorn (you’ll need napkins) or serve them as a side dish for dinner.

Did you know? Cauliflower is exceptionally rich in Vitamin C and also has a significant amount of Vitamin B-6 and Potassium.

Best grilled cheese evah

BosGuy cooksIn the winter I really love to make grilled cheese sandwiches. They are so satisfying and easy to make; I can make this in 10-15 minutes without needing a single pan.  I layer my sandwiches with tomato, prosciutto, mozzarella and mustard but you can add whatever you like.

I start by spritzing each side of bread with olive oil and putting it on foil under the broiler.  Once the bread starts to toast on each side I take it out and slather on mustard, thinly sliced tomatoes, prosciutto and of course cheese.  Press the bread together and place it under the broiler for just a minute or two. Then turn off the broiler and leave the sandwich there for another minute or two.  Pull out the sandwich, cut it, plate it with chips and pour yourself a cold beer.  It is delicious every time. I promise.

Boston chocolate workshop

BosGuy's hand-rolled, delicious chocolate truffles

BosGuy’s hand-rolled, delicious chocolate truffles

This past October I wrote about attending the Boston Chocolate School’s chocolate workshop.  The winter months can be tough if you don’t like the cold (like me) and finding things to do can sometimes be a challenge so I thought I’d mention this class again. While I think this would be fun year round, certainly spending an afternoon learning about chocolate and making truffles to take home will help you forget that it is cold outside.

Take note that the classes fill in advance so if this is of interest (or may be of interest for someone you know) – make reservations in advance.

Boston Chocolate Workshop – Info and Reservations

BosGuy’s wicked awesome tomato sauce

Tomato SauceI regularly make a pot of tomato sauce that I use through out the week.  While one can buy jarred sauce, I prefer making my own because I believe it tastes much better and I also believe that it is far healthier.  The  total cost for making my red sauce costs approximately $9-$10 and will make 6-8 servings.  Total time prepping and making the sauce varies because you can let this simmer for hours if you like, but when in a pinch this can be done in 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Ingredients for BosGuy’s wicked awesome tomato sauce includes: 2 28oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes (I prefer the whole peeled or cubed variety), 1 Vidalia onion, 1 head of garlic (roasted), 1 bell pepper (roasted), 1 carrot, 1 spicy Italian sausage, 1 cup of red wine, curly parsley, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

BosGuy cooks

I start by pureeing the onion and carrot in my Cuisinart because they will cook more quickly then I add them to a hot pan with olive oil.  The carrot acts as a natural sweetener and will cut the acidity of the tomatoes when they are added.  This is a healthier option than sugar commonly found in jarred sauces.  

After the onions and carrots cook (it will only take a couple minutes) I combine the whole peeled tomatoes, roasted garlic and peppers and pulse them in my Cuisinart so there remains some chunks. Then I add it to the sauce pan and stir (repeatedly).  Next, I peel off the casing of the sausage and remove any large pieces of fat.  I add this along with the parsley and one cup of red wine into my blender to puree it until it looks like a paste (it looks gross but adds so much flavor). Add the contents to the sauce pan and stir (repeatedly).

Lastly, cover the sauce pan and lower the heat so the sauce will lightly simmer.  Let it cook for a minimum of 30 minutes (stir every 5-10 minutes).  If the sauce becomes too thick add another cup of red wine  / chicken stock / or water.BosGuy cookingIf you would prefer a meatless option I suggest substituting the sausage with a roasted eggplant.  Fortunately for you I have a past post that shows you how easy this is to do, BosGuy cooks: Roasted eggplant.

Other Tips: purchase San Marzano tomatoes – I know they can be a bit more money but they taste better.  The red wine will add both flavor and deepen the color of the sauce, making it more visually appealing.

BosGuy cooks: Roasting peppers and garlic

roasting garlic and red bell peppersNearly every week I roast a couple of red bell peppers and garlic heads. I do this because roasting these veggies brings out the natural sweetness and flavors making meals far more satisfying and flavorful; relying less on salt, sugars, etc and thereby making it easier to prepare a healthier meal.

Last month I included a recipe for eggplant rolls that were stuffed with a ricotta, roasted red bell pepper and garlic spread (you can read the recipe here). A reader asked how to roast veggies so I wanted to share how easy it is.

Total time to roast these veggies (I do this simultaneously) takes ~30 minutes and it is far cheaper than buying roasted veggies although that is always an option if in a pinch.

STEP 1: The Prep and Roasting Preheat the oven to 400 Farenheit / 200 Celsius. Peel as much of the garlic clove as you can and chop off the top of the cloves. Put them in ramekins (or in coffee cups like I did) then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some Italian seasoning on the top of the cloves. Wash the peppers and place them by the garlic on a tray with foil then put them in the oven. Every 9 minutes rotate the bell peppers (total cooking time 27 minutes).  If the garlic browns faster, pull them out.

CookingThe garlic are perfect once you take them out of the oven and can be used so many ways.  You know the garlic is perfectly roasted when it appears slightly browned (see above photo).  The smell will be absolutely heavenly.

cookingSTEP 2: Resting and Peeling The peppers will require one more step.  When you pull the peppers out of the oven, let them rest for 10-15 minutes because they are full of oil/liquid that is scalding. If properly roasted they will look like the photograph I’ve included and the skin will peel off very easily (see below). Peeling off the skin will leave a tender, sweet vegetable that you may use.  Be sure to also remove the stem and seeds on the inside. I immediately put the roasted peppers in a container with the oily liquid that can be used when cooking or to drizzle on salads.cooking

Eggplant with ricotta, roasted garlic and red bell pepper

CookingI know it has been a while since I last posted a recipe but I can assure you I continue to cook regularly, making mostly Italian inspired plates like my eggplant rolls filled with ricotta cheese, roasted garlic and red bell pepper.

This can serve as a very satisfying side served with a pasta or presented as a first course appetizer.  The ingredients are very affordable and the preparation and cooking time varies if you roast your own vegetables and make your own red sauce or purchase roasted veggies and use jarred sauce; for the record I like making my own sauce and roasting my veggies.

Ingredients for this meal include: Tomato / red sauce, Eggplant, Ricotta cheese, Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Roasted Garlic clove, Eggs, Bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Parsley, Olive oil, Italian seasoning, Salt and Pepper.

cooking eggplantThe first step is peeling and slicing eggplant length-wise and breading it for frying.  I use 2 egg yolks with a splash of water, a cup of bread crumbs (panko crumbs also work as a substitute), 1/3 cup of grated cheese, a bunch of chopped parsley with a dash of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  When I bread the thinly sliced eggplant I don’t use flour. I dip the eggplant in the egg and water then I place it into a plate of the combined dry ingredients before adding to a pan with olive oil in high heat.  I only fry the vegetable for a minute or two on each side – long enough to help the breading stick to the eggplant. Then I place it on a plate with paper towels to remove the excess oil.

BosGuy cookingAs the eggplant rests, I make the filling that includes a roasted red bell pepper and 4-6 cloves of roasted garlic that I’ve puréed. I stir that with a half cup of Ricotta cheese and black pepper until all the ingredients have combined. Then I take a Tablespoon (or more) of filling and spread it along the eggplant and roll it.

BosGuy cookingBosGuy cookingNext, place the eggplant into an oven-safe glass pyrex dish that has a ladle full of red sauce. The red sauce will help prevent the eggplant from sticking to the dish. When all the eggplant has been placed in the dish add more sauce over the vegetable to keep everything moist and to add flavor. Lastly, sprinkle more grated cheese and chopped parsley then cover with foil and add to a preheated oven set to 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

BosGuy cooking

Chef BosGuy

Taste of Boston BosGuy and Frenchie

I’m a fairly good cook thanks to my Mom who always encouraged me in the kitchen and I actually cook several homemade meals every week.  I know a lot of people think all I do is eat out, but I do enjoy cooking.  For example, this weekend I roasted a bunch of veggies, made a ridiculous amount of what turned out to be delicious red sauce, approximately 18 meatballs and one of my better eggplant Parmesan. 

Chef BosGuy

I make this sort of thing regularly through out the Fall and Winter. It is my comfort food. Do you cook?  What do you make regularly?

Boston Chocolate School a must try for chocoholics

Boston Chocolate SchoolThe third Saturday of every month The Boston Chocolate School (yes we even have a school for that here in Boston) hosts a 3 hour class that is the perfect gift for any chocoholic.

I attended September’s class with my good friend and fellow blogger, 40-Something Life, unsure of what to expect.  Our class was hosted by Chef Dorian (shown above with 40-something life blogger and yours truly). Dorian was the Season 2 winner of The Food Network show, Sweet Genius, and after taking his class, I can honestly say he’s also a comic genius.  His class is both entertaining and educational – this man is CRAZY about chocolate.

Boston Chocolate School making trufflesThe first half of the class, which takes place near Downtown Crossing in Boston, is spent learning about chocolate while sipping what might be some of the best hot chocolate in town. I learned things like the only 5 ingredients any chocolate should have:  cocoa liquor (ground cocoa beans), cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin and real vanilla. So simple really, but because some large recognizable brands like Hershey don’t use this and add other “stuff” they aren’t technically considered chocolate.

Boston Chocolate School box of trufflesWith the Fall in full swing and colder weather coming, this might make for the perfect Saturday activity if you have even a mild interest in chocolate. Certainly the entertainment value that Chef Dorian brings to the class cannot be stressed enough. Boston Chocolate School classes occur the 3rd Saturday of each month, with the next class on Saturday, October 19th.

More information about this can be found on their website, The Boston Chocolate School.

Fork Lift Food Fest starts Thursday

outside the box 2013Starting this Thursday and running through Sunday, July 21st is Boston’s Fork Lift Food Fest; hosted in conjunction with Boston’s music festival, Outside the Box.

Boston’s Fork Lift Food Fest – July 18 – 21

The Fork Lift Food Fest features local restaurants and celebrity chefs in City Hall Plaza. In addition to a lot of great food, check out the Wine & Beer Pavilion (for those 21 and over).

More information is here.