Category Archives: Cooking

BosGuy cooks: Spinach lasagna

Keeping with the theme of good Italian-American comfort food recipes that are great to make in the winter, this week I’m sharing a modified recipe I found on the web and made my own. I prefer to make this without meat because it is a little lighter, and I use a shortcut that would make adding meat more tedious.

There are three phases to this recipe. The first phase requires the food prep (chopping your veggies). The second phase requires making the filling and boiling the pasta (ever so briefly). And finally, the third phase involves assembly and baking. The ingredients you will need for this recipe include:

1 box of lasagna pasta
1 1/2 jar of good marinara sauce
8 oz of mushrooms (I use baby bella)
1 sweet onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2 bags of prewashed baby spinach
16 oz of Ricotta cheese
4 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz of grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg
Salt
Pepper
Italian parsley
Italian seasoning
Oregano

Phase 1: The Prep

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, lightly oil your baking pan and start to boil your water in a large pot for the lasagna. Roughly chop the mushrooms and parsley and mince the garlic and onion then set aside.

Phase 2: Making The Filling

Add olive oil to a pan on medium high heat and sauté the onions. As they start to soften turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and mushrooms. After they cook, remove and place in the refrigerator to cool. In the same pan, add a drop or two of olive oil, your spinach and a pinch or two of salt. Stir to prevent from sticking to the pan – this should wilt in 1-2 minutes – and take out to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the Ricotta cheese, half your grated Parmesean cheese, egg, sautéed veggies and spinach. The vegetables don’t need to be cold but you don’t want them to melt the cheese. Blend or mix these ingredients so they evenly combine. Then add a cup of roughly chopped parsley and a healthy amount of black pepper and dried seasonings (don’t be shy with this) and stir until combined then set aside for assembly.

Once the water is boiling and you’ve finished your mixture (see above) add your lasagna. My mother doesn’t bother with this step, but I boil the lasagna for about 5 minutes so it is easier to manage. If you don’t briefly cook the pasta it is more difficult to manipulate and trim to fit into your baking dish.

Phase 3: The Assembly & Bake

Drizzle a little oliver oil on the bottom of your baking pan and use a paper towel to spread evenly along the bottom and sides. Then place one layer of lasagna so it completely covers the bottom of the baking pan. This is where having a pliable pasta you can trim makes assembly so much easier.

Then take approximately 1/3 of the cheese fillling and spread it on top of the lasagna noodles. I use a good jarred marinara sauce and pour it over the cheese mixture, using my spatula to spread so it completely covers the cheese filling. Then add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Repeat this process two more times so you have three layers of pasta, cheese sauce, red sauce and mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the lasagna.

Cover the baking pan with foil to your preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. If you want extra red sauce with your lasagna, now is the time to make a quick sauce to serve on the side. I use the same jarred sauce and heat it up with some diced onions and parsley.

BosGuy cooks: Tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

I share this recipe each winter because it is great comfort food. I spend many of my Sunday afternoons in the winter months happily cooking my favorite meals and for many of those dinners a good homemade red sauce is required. While you can use your favorite jarred sauce with this recipe, I do think this tastes best with whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes.

Cooking time can vary and as a general rule cooking longer over lower heat is better than shorter over higher heat but the reality is you can pull together a decent red sauce in about 45 minutes (including prep time). However, this tastes best when cooked, allowed to cool on the stove top and then refrigerated overnight, which is why I often make a red sauce on the weekend with the intention to use it later that week.

As a general rule, I add to my sauce a minced onion, several cloves of roasted garlic (also minced), an Italian sausage (I tend to buy the sausage meat out of the casing) and a carrot and roasted red bell pepper (both of which I puree). For seasonings I use chopped parsley (the more the better), red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, bay leaves and dried Italian seasonings.

BosGuy cooks

Cooking Instructions: Start by adding a bit of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Make your sauce a little spicier by adding red pepper flakes with the oil before the pan is hot. Sautée a minced onion until they soften then reduce the heat to medium or medium low to avoid burning the food. Next, add Italian sausage (take it out of the casing or buy it that way) and minced garlic (I prefer to use roasted garlic). After these combine for 2-3 minutes, you can add the tomato sauce, a bit of tomato paste, a couple bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste and Italian seasonings.

Next puree the roasted red pepper and carrot and stir it into the sauce so everything combines. The roasted pepper will bring a lot of flavor to the sauce, while the carrot acts as a natural sweetner cutting the acidity. It can be substituted with a tablespoon of sugar.

Lastly, cover the sauce pan and lower the heat so the sauce will lightly simmer and let it cook for ~30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Add a cup of freshly chopped parsley in the final 4-5 minutes. If you add it too early the taste is muted but if added in the final minutes they soften and pack more flavor.

BosGuy cooking

Cooking Tips: If the sauce becomes too thick add chicken stock / or water. Add a dash of red wine and stir to deepen the coloring then drizzle olive oil and fresh ground black pepper atop the sauce. If you want to go all out add a table spoon or two of ricotta cheese when serving.

BosGuy cooks: Roasted eggplant

I originally shared a post on roasted eggplant in January 2012 and wanted to update and repost because this is an easy recipe anyone can follow and as a bonus requires very little in the way of clean up.

Roasted eggplant is extremely flavorful and a healthy snack that is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. I like to purée roasted eggplant and portobelo mushrooms to use as the base for my vegetarian red sauce. To roast eggplant you’ll need an eggplant (obviously) but you’ll also need garlic, about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil as well as basil, salt and thyme.

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Then cut the eggplant in half and score it with deep cuts, but don’t pierce the skin. Add 1 tbsp of salt into the cuts and let the eggplant rest for 20 minutes. The salt will cause the eggplant to sweat (as shown in photo above). Squeeze the eggplant to release the excess water to remove the bitter taste and help with roasting.

Combine 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil and a couple pinches of thyme for flavoring and brush the eggplant liberally; then brush the garlic cloves and embed them into the scoring marks (use as many as you like).

Flip the brushed eggplant face down on a tray lined with parchment paper. I like to also place a few basil leaves between the parchment and eggplant. Place this into the oven for 45 minutes then take out and let cool for 15 minutes.

BosGuy cooks: Pancakes

When I was younger and spent weekends at my grandparents house it was not uncommon for my grandmother to make pancakes for breakfast and my cousins who lived down the street would often join us for pancake eating contests.

My grandmother would thin out the recipe to make more pancakes for us by adding more milk to the batter and would often then sprinkle our pancakes with powdered sugar. Italian grandmothers put powdered sugar on everything sweet just to make it a little sweeter.

In the photo above, I’ve included chopped walnuts as well as sliced bananas in the batter then I added a few more banana slices atop the pancakes. When in season, blueberries and raspberries also work really well and add more flavor.

Making pancakes from scratch is really easy and tastes great. Just make sure you have real butter and maple syrup to add. You can also spread jam on these and roll them up if you want to eat them on the go.

Ingredients:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1-2 eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of margarine / butter
fresh fruit like blueberries, bananas or strawberries (optional)

Preparation: Pre heat your griddle or pan to 375-400⁰ (basically what I’m saying is this needs to be very hot). Then mix your ingredients together in a large bowl. If you use a mixer be careful that you don’t cover yourself in flour when you start mixing the ingredients. The batter should have a thin, silky consistency; no lumps. If you prefer pancakes to be heavier add less milk.

Because the batter comes together so quickly, don’t start to make the pancakes until you know the griddle is hot and you’re ready to go. These will only cook for a few minutes.

Cooking: Ladle the pancake batter on the griddle and flip when you see air bubbles forming in the batter. Depending on how hot your griddle is this will only take a couple of minutes.

Cooking tips: This batter can double for waffles. And as mentioned above, add fruit to your batter if you like. I try to set some of the fruit aside to also sprinkle atop the pancake stacks. It’s both visually appealing and tastes great.

BosGuy cooks: Cherry coffee cake

The title is misleading because I have not made my Mom’s cherry coffee cake, but for as long as I can remember my mother would make this Christmas morning. As a kid I loved the sweet cake for breakfast and as I got older, I appreciated it even more with a strong cup of coffee.

With Christmas now just days away, I thought I’d share this family recipe. If you enjoy baking, give this a try and let me know how it turns out.

Ingredients:

1 21oz can of cherry pie filling
1 and 1/4 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg
10 tbsp of butter (melted)
1 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

According to Mom, preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 9×9 baking pan.

Mix with a fork the flour, half of the total sugar (1/2 cup), baking powder, baking soda and salt (the salt will cut the sweetness so Mom often refrains from including it). Add 1/2 cup of melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla and spoon beat until all is well mixed and then pour it into your greased pan.

In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 heaping tablespoons of flour and the remaining melted butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then sprinkle half of this over the batter in the pan and stir 1 tsp of lemon juice into pie filling before sprinkling the remaining mixture over the cake.

Bake in the oven at 350⁰ for 1 hour – until top is golden brown then take it out and let it sit for about 30 minutes until it is cool enough to eat.

Thanks Mom.

BosGuy cooks: Beef Bourguignon

I’ve been making a modified version of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe each winter for a few years and it never disappoints. It’s best to prepare this over the weekend and always tastes better if you serve it a day or two later. Just be sure to clear out enough space in your refrigerator for the giant pot once it has cooked and cooled.

While this requires more ingredients and is a bit more work than my usual recipe, it is worth it. This recipe will feed 4-6 people. Ingredients include:

8-12 oz of cubed Pancetta
2 1/2 lbs cubed chuck beef
1 lbs of carrots thickly sliced
1 lbs of mushrooms (stems removed thickly sliced)
1 lbs of frozen pearl onions
2 sweet onions (I like Vidalia)
4 garlic cloves minced
4 tbsp of butter
1-2 tbsp of tomato paste
3 tbsp of flour
Sourdough Bread sliced and grilled

1 bottle of dry red wine
2 cups (8oz) beef broth
1/2 cup of Cognac
Drizzle of olive oil

1/2 cup of parsley chopped
Generous portion of dried thyme
Ground black pepper and salt

Step 1: The prep work takes about 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, pull out all the ingredients, chop your veggies and using a paper towel, pat dry the beef cubes and place them on a tray with a paper towel. If you skip this step they won’t sear correctly.

Step 2: Drizzle a little olive oil into a large pan that can hold all the ingredients above (remember you’re going to use an entire bottle of wine!) and can go into your oven. Once the oil is hot (I keep this on medium high heat), add the cubed Pancetta and stir for approximately 5-7 minutes then scoop onto a plate (try not to scoop out the liquid) and don’t worry about bits being stuck to pan.

Step 3: Lightly salt the beef on your tray and add these into the pan (a few at a time) and turn to sear on all sides. You only want the outside lightly browned (1-2 minutes) and you’ll need space to rotate the meat. Then remove and place on the same plate as the Pancetta and sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.

Step 4: Add carrots, sweet onions and a dash of salt. Let this cook in the oil and fat from the meat for about 5 minutes until they start to brown then throw in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Step 5: This is the fun part! Add the Cognac and light on fire to burn off the alcohol. After the flames are gone, add the Pancetta, beef, bottle of wine and beef broth. Make sure the liquid just covers the meat and vegetables. Also add the tomato paste and dried thyme, cover and bring to a simmer.

Step 6: Bring to a simmer then place it in the oven with a tight fitting lid for ~75-90 minutes.

Step 7: Make a quick roux just before you take the pan out of the oven. This is an easy and important step to thicken the stew. Combine 2 tbsp of butter and flour. First, add the butter in a pan over low heat and once melted stir in the flour (you can whisk it with your fork). Then pour it into the pot along with the 1lb bag of frozen pearl onions, cover the pot and place it on the stove for ~15 on medium low heat. When done, the meat should be soft enough to cut with a fork.

This may sound like a lot of work but it’s delicious and after making it once, it is pretty easy to follow. There is a lot of food so you’ll likely have plenty of leftovers (and the leftovers always taste better).

One other note: I like to use Ina’s suggestion of getting thick slices of sourdough bread toasted in the oven to serve as the base for this stew. It is a lighter and easier option than making mashed potatoes but Sergio loves mashed potatoes so that is what I’ve shown at the top of the post.

Bon Appétit

BosGuy cooks: Nana’s chicken

In our family recipe book this is called “Easy Bake Chicken”. Even a novice in the kitchen can make this dinner and the good news is it has virtually no clean up and is always delicious. The ingredients you will need include:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs (skinned)
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of Sherry wine
  • Seasoned bread crumbs and Italian herbs
  • Sprinkle of olive oil
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes (optional)
  • 4-8 oz of thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms (optional)
  • Dash of salt and pepper

With regards to the chicken, you can use breast meat if you prefer. I sometimes mix the cuts using both light and dark meat.

Start by preheating your oven to 350⁰ and begin your prep work which includes adding about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to your baking pan (I use a 9″ x 13″ pyrex for the oven). Make sure the oil coats the pan because it will help prevent the meat from sticking.

Thinly slice your onions, mince your two garlic cloves and give a rough chop to the parsely (about 1/2 a cups worth) and set all that aside.

Roll your chicken in the oil coating the pan. This will help the seasonings stick. Then season with a few pinches of Italian dried herbs, a dash of salt and pepper and the minced garlic on both sides. Finally, sprinkle just enough breadcrumbs to lightly cover the top of the chicken and add 1/2 a cup of sherry in the pan. Next place your sliced onions on top of the lightly breaded chicken followed by the chopped parsley. I also add sundried tomatoes (not part of Nana’s recipe and optional to include). Your pan should look something like the photo above.

Cover the pan with foil and poke a few holes in the foil with a fork then put it into the oven for 35 minutes. Then take off the foil and bake for another 35 minutes, adding the sliced mushrooms with ~10 minutes remaining (again, optional). Finally, give it a good broil for about 2 minutes.

The one pan meal is easy to clean up and always delicious. Serve it with a salad or with steamed broccoli (cooked in the microwave for easy clean up). It is also delicious with pasta. You can use your extra sherry to make a sherry, shallot and butter sauce for the pasta, but I’ll share that recipe in a future post.

BosGuy cooks: Meatballs

The weather in New England can be cool and rainy in the spring, hot and humid in the summer, dry and comfortable in the fall and downright chilly in the winter. Those changes in the weather influence what I eat and as it gets colder in New England, I’m eating less salads and looking for comfort food like my family recipe for meatballs.

This is very much a “hands on” meal to make so your hands will get messy. As a general rule, I make these one or two days ahead of time because they always taste better the next day. The recipe below should yield you approximately 12 good sized meatballs.

Ingredients include:

1.5 lbs meat (lean ground beef / ground veal / ground pork)
1 cup of sweet onion (chopped)
1 egg
1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 cup of Italian parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup baby portobello mushrooms (chopped) (optional ingredient)
1/4 cup of water
1 tsp of salt, pepper and Italian seasonings

I substitute the ground veal and buy a third of a pound of 93% lean ground beef and a third of a pound of 80% lean ground beef. You can also purchase either spicy or sweet italian sausage for the pork – just remove the casing.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350⁰

The directions to make meatballs may be messy but they are easy to follow.

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350⁰
  2. Place ground beef into large mixing container
  3. Add the other ingredients (I start with the dry ingredients first)
  4. Kneed all the ingredients so everything is thoroughly combined
  5. Let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes
  6. Hand roll individual meatballs (approx 1.5″ in diameter)
  7. Coat a frying pan with olive oil and when it is hot turn the heat down to medium / medium low (you don’t want hot oil splattering)
  8. Add a few meatballs at a time and roll around for 1-2 minutes to lightly cook – add to a plate with papertowels to absorb excess oil
  9. Add undercooked meatballs to a baking dish that has a light coating of tomato sauce (this helps prevent the meatballs from sticking)
  10. Top the meatballs with a little sauce and cover with aluminum foil
  11. Put into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes
  12. Turn off the oven and take out the meatballs, then sprinkle cheese and more choppped parsley
  13. Put back into the oven (which should be off) uncovered for 5 minutes

These meatballs are great with pasta but also make for a delicious meatball sandwich the next day and can easily be warmed up in the microwave.

BosGuy cooks: Butternut squash

The Thanksgiving holiday is later this week and millions of Americans will be serving some variety of squash as a side dish. This fruit comes in many varieties but my favorite is butternut squash. To enhance the flavor, I like to cook this with real maple syrup and smoked paprika.

Ingredients include:
12-16 oz of Butternut Squash
1 shallot
2-3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup real maple syrup (amount will vary based on preference)
2-3 pinches of smoked paprika
2-3 pinches of salt and pepper

The color will get more intense after a few minutes of cooking

Cooking instructions:
Start by placing a tablespoon of butter in your pan over medium heat. Add a minced shallot and a pinch of salt and stir. Let the shallot cook for a minute or two before adding the squash. Because it is easier (faster and less clean up) I buy the butternut squash pre-cut but if you purchase it whole, peel it and cut into small, even sized pieces (smaller pieces cook faster).

After adding the squash to the pan, stir to coat it with butter, add another tablespoon of butter and drizzle 1/4 cup of maple syrup. The butter and syrup will really enhance the flavor. Include two pinches of smoked paprika, stir everything together, cover and turn down the heat slightly. Let this cook for 7-10 minutes so the squash will soften enough to mash. If it isn’t soft enough, let it cook for a few minutes longer. The amount of time will vary based on the size of the pieces of squash.

After mashing the squash and add more salt and pepper to taste and add some chopped walnuts for added taste and texture (optional). Squash can be bland but the syrup, butter, smoked paprika, salt and pepper will enhance the flavor. This is easy to clean up and can be made ahead of time. I make this in the fall as a healthy snack because it is filling and has lots of potasium, Vitamin C and E and even a bit of calcium, iron and niacin.

If you purchase the pre-cut squash the total time to prep and make this is less than 20 minutes and only requires one pan for clean up.

BosGuy cooks: Vegetable curry

This is an easy, affordable and versatile dish that takes about 15 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook. You can add a protein like chicken if you want, but the ingredients can vary to suit whatever is in your refrigerator. Just be mindful to start with the ingredients that take the longest to cook.

Step 1: Pull out whatever you would like to include in this vegetable mélange and chop into bite size pieces. You will also need: 1 tablespoon of butter, some vegetable or chicken broth (water or even a lager or ale works too), salt and pepper and of course a curry. I use Spur Tree Jamaican curry.

Step 2: Over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt. Add 1 chopped onion and 2 healthy tablespoons of curry. Let this cook for a couple of minutes then add the thicker vegetables (see below) I used 1 cauliflower, 2 carrots, a half cup of walnuts and 4-6 small, whole garlic cloves. Add salt and cover for approximately 15 minutes (stirring occassionally).

Step 3: Add 1/3 of a cup of broth and stir to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan then add the lighter vegetables. I used a red and green bell pepper, 8-10 baby bella mushrooms, and 2 celery stalks. Add fresh ground pepper and cover for another 5-10 minutes. If you want to increase the curry flavoring also add a final tablespoon at this point and stir.

Step 4: Turn off heat and leave uncovered for 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Cooking tip: This is great on its own, but I like to serve this over rice. This meal makes for excellent leftovers, tasting even better the next day.

BosGuy cooks: Roasted brussels sprout salad

cookingI really like Brussels sprouts when they’ve been roasted to the point of being crispy on the outside, but lately I’ve been shredding the roasted veggie and turning it into a salad. It never fails to please and I like how versatile the salad is.

Lately, I have been adding shredded Parmesan cheese and prosciutto to this salad, but the recipe below includes pomegranate, almond slivers and goat cheese. These items are all optional – you could use cranberries in lieu of pomegranate for example. The entire process takes about 1 hour because you have to let the vegetables cool after roasting them.

cooking

lay the brussels sprouts face down and drizzle a little extra olive oil

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 medium to large sized brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil & balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & thyme
  • Goat cheese (optional)
  • Pomegranate (optional)
  • Almond slivers (optional)

After roasting, put them in the refrigerator to cool before shredding

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
– Prep and clean the vegetables by cutting the stem, removing any old or bad outer leaves, cutting the sprout in half and place in bowl with cold water.
– Drain the water and add enough olive oil to coat the sprouts along with 2-3 healthy pinches of salt and thyme; mix with your hands until the sprouts are thoroughly coated.
– Place on a baking sheet faced down and drizzle a little extra oil and leave in the oven for 20 minutes
– Remove the baking sheet out and flip the sprouts over (they should be cooked on both sides) drizzle a little balsamic over each vegetable, turn off the oven and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to let the balsamic marinade in the heat.
– Let the vegetables cool. I put them in a bowl and into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes then once cooled, take them out and shred them with a knife and add to the salad bowl.
– Add your optional items (I like adding something with color to make the plate pop) and then toss together. Taste the salad to see if it needs more salt.

Serving tip: Just prior to serving I drizzle more olive oil and balsamic over the top of the salad.

BosGuy cooks: Caramelized shallots

BosGuy cooksWhen served as a side to an otherwise healthy dinner this can be the difference between an okay meal and something really delicious. The recipe comes from Ina Garten and while I never seem to be able to follow recipes, this one is really easy. The total prep time is ~5 minutes and the cooking time is ~25 to 35 minutes.

This is one of those dishes that everyone likes. The recipe below is for two people so double this (or more) if you are cooking for a dinner party. I can guarantee you every last shallot will be devoured. When it is cooked, the smell is mouth watering and you can cut them with your fork.

BosGuy cooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of whole, peeled shallots
  • 3 tablespoon of butter
  • 1+ tablespoonsof sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (as much or little as you like)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

Cooking tip: save yourself time and buy shallots that have already been pealed.
– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
– Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat then add the shallots and sugar. Be sure to coat the shallots with the butter and sugar and stir them until they start to brown (5-10 minutes).
– Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly then put the pan (uncovered) in the oven until tender and caramelized; about 20-30 minutes.
– Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Cleaning tip: The most difficult thing about making this is cleaning the pan after. I suggest that after you cook the shallots and plate them, add some water to the pan with a little dish soap and leave it on low heat on your stove. Just remember to use your oven mitts when you grab the pan to clean it!

BosGuy makes baked salmon with dijon dill sauce

bosguy cooks

Baked Salmon with a cucumber & tomato salad, served with mustard dill sauce and rice

It has been too long since I last shared a recipe so in lieu of sharing another restaurant review I wanted to share a slightly modified recipe I picked up from epicurious.com, that was really excellent.

Sergio does not care for salmon and earlier this month he was away so I used the opportunity to make baked salmon with a mustard dill sauce. I served it alongside a cucumber and tomato salad and brown rice. The recipe has two steps; first making the mustard dill sauce followed by baking the salmon. Despite the two step approach, this healthy dinner was easy to make.  The recipe shared below will serve 3-4 people.

Step 1: Making the mustard dill sauce:BosGuy cooks

To make the sauce you will need approximately one half of a small to medium sized vidalia onion, 8 ounces of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of fresh dill finely chopped.

The first step is to mince approximately half of a medium sized vidalia onion and add it into a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients: 8 ounces of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill along with salt and ground pepper to taste. Whisk the entire mixture and let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes – 1 hour. The point is to let the ingredients combine and ensure it is applied to the salmon at room temperature.

Full disclosure: I added slightly more mustard and dill, but if you taste as you mix the sauce you can ensure it is precisely to your liking.

Step 2: Baking the salmon:BosGuy cooks

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and once the oven is ready place your salmon (1 lb – 1.25 lbs filet) skin side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Add salt and pepper and one minced garlic clove (the garlic is optional but I can’t imagine cooking without using garlic) to the top of the salmon filet.

Take approximately 1/3 of a cup of the sauce and liberally cover the entire filet. I also covered the sides of the salmon. Place the salmon in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check to see if the filet is cooked to your liking. I turned off my oven, slightly opened its door and let the salmon sit for another two minutes before I took it out to plate it.BosGuy cooks

While I was making the sauce, I also was cooking brown rice, but since there are different cooking times depending on the rice you use, follow those directions to ensure you have a well cooked grain to accompany the salmon.

While the salmon was in the oven, I peeled and sliced a cucumber and chopped a tomato. I used the extra mustard dill sauce to add to both the salad and the the salmon after I plated it. I will definitely make this again when Sergio is out of town. Although he may not care for salmon, this is one of the best meals I have cooked in a long time. The fact that it is was so easy to make, clean up and fairly healthy is an added bonus.bosguy cooks

Ingredients
1 – 1.25 lbs salmon
8 ounces of sour cream
2 tablespoons of mustard (I used dijon)
2 tablespoons of fresh dill
1/2 medium sized vidalia onion
1 garlic clove
1 tomato
1/2 of a cucumber
salt and pepper for seasoning

SoWa Farmer’s Market: Valicenti Pasta Farm

Realm health and fitness tips from KyleIt seems like each year the SoWa Farmer’s Market gets better. The variety and quality of vendors is excellent and although it can definitely add up (no bargains at this market) it is my favorite place to shop for groceries.

Although the market is open both Saturday and Sunday (the market expanded to Saturdays for the first time this year), one of my favorite vendors, Valicenti Pasta Farm in Hollis, NH is only at the market on Sundays so I generally shop then to pick up one or two (and sometimes three) packages of their homemade pasta. SoWa Open Market, SoWa Farmer's MarketIf you’ve never splurged to purchase fresh made pasta (and I don’t mean fresh made pasta that has been sitting in a grocery store chain freezer for a week), then you are really missing out. The way these pastas absorb the flavors of the sauce puts dry pasta to shame. If you live in the area and have never ventured over to the SoWa Farmer’s Market, make it a point to check it out. All the vendors come from area farms and the selection is really excellent.

SoWa Farmer’s Market is open Saturday & Sunday from 10AM-4PM through October 2017, but note that Valicenti Pasta Farm is only there on Sundays.

Boston JerkFest & Rum Tasting this weekend

The Boston JerkFest is an outdoor/indoor family-friendly Caribbean style foodie festival that features Jamaican jerk spiced food and all things spicy and hot on Saturday, June, 24, 2017 at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in the South End with two sessions: 11am-3pm and 4-8pm.

Click here for a GroupOn

The Rum & Brew Tasting @ Boston JerkFest will take place on Friday, June 23, 2017 , 6:30-9:30pm (6pm for VIP) at the same location.  This 21+ event  features live music and unlimited tastings of rum, local craft beer and a variety of Caribbean themed libations.

For more information visit the event website, bostonjerkfest.com.