Bok Choy With Raisins (A Winning Side Dish Is Born)
Mar 12th, 2015 by

The sweet blends perfectly with the sour in this tasty side dish.

The sweet blends perfectly with the sour in this tasty side dish.

This side dish is a definite keeper. I made it up yesterday, while trying to come up with a good green side dish to go with baked stuffed shrimp.

At first I was thinking of an arugula salad, but didn’t feel like driving three or four miles to a farm stand where I can get it at a good price: less than $2 for a good-size bag. And I wasn’t going to spend $6 or $7 for arugula at the Stop & Shop, just a few blocks from my home. So, I set my sites on the Asian supermarket, which is about a 1/4 mile from my house.

Super 88 doesn’t sell arugula, but they have an amazing selection of bok choy. And it’s cheap.

I thought about stir-frying it with some scallions and then a crazy idea hit me on how to offset the subtle bitterness of the greens with something sweet. Raisins! And just to keep things real, I decided to finish it off with a vinaigrette, a balsamic vinegar being a perfect match to bring out the flavor of the raisins.

Here’s the recipe:


  • Bok Choy. I used about 15 pieces of the baby bok choy and it was enough for three people. Washed and chopped into 2-inch pieces.
  • Scallions, about 6. Cut off with about 2-inches of green showing and then sliced into small wheels.
  • Peanut oil, about 1 tablespoon.
  • Garlic, one clove, crushed.
  • Raisins, about 1/2 cup. I used regular raisins, but I think golden raisins may work even better.
  • A balsamic vinaigrette, about 2 tablespoons. You could also use Italian dressing.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


Heat the peanut oil in a wok, spreading it around to coat the sides.

Add the scallions and cook until translucent.

Add the garlic and the bok choy and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the raisins. Stir everything occasionally and cook until greens are wilted but the white parts of the bok choy remain crisp.

Add the vinaigrette and stir to coat. Put lid on wok and cook on low heat for a minute. Then turn heat off.

Serve with your favorite protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, even eggs).

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A Classic Vinaigrette
Mar 12th, 2015 by

This salad dressing recipe is so easy and delicious, I stopped using store-bought dressings years ago. It takes less than five minutes to make. Here’s the recipe:


  • Olive oil. Here’s where you use extra-virgin olive oil if you have it. About half a cup.
  • Vinegar. Balsamic or red wine vinegar can be used depending on what you feel like. A little more than an ounce. (Remember: a good ratio for vinaigrettes is about 3 parts oil to one part vinegar. Adjust to your liking.)
  • Garlic, one large clove.
  • Salt, preferably Kosher salt. About 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
  • Dijon mustard, about 1/2 teaspoon.


Put garlic in a bowl with the salt. Take a heavy fork and mash it good until it becomes a paste.

Add the olive oil and then the vinegar.

Add the mustard and whisk.

Pour it on your favorite salad and mix it up.

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Forget the Snow, It’s Stew-A-Palooza - 2015
Jan 27th, 2015 by

(This is one of my favorite recipes from the weekly Dorm Room Chef series I produced during 2014. It’s steak pizzaiola made in a slow cooker: easy and delicious. Watch the video above, or read the recipe here or read the recipe below.)

Here’s a collection of stews I compiled from good restaurants and cookbooks. I’ve made them all and enjoyed eating them more. Hopefully, you’ll have some of these ingredients on hand so you can make one of these dishes. But if not, watch the video and look at the pretty photos. It will warm you up more than looking at snow photos on Facebook.

The governor of Massachusetts declared a snow emergency and I’m declaring it stew-a-palooza — 2015!


  1. Geneva’s Quick Chicken And Shrimp Gumbo
  2. Shrimp Saute
  3. Easy Beef Bourguignon
  4. Coq Au Vin Blanc (The same as Easy Beef Bourguignon, only with chicken)
  5. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
  6. Blanquette De Veau (French Veal Stew)
  7. Lobster Stew
  8. Steak Pizzaiola

This is one of my favorite Dorm Room Chef recipes. It’s easy — you just throw everything into a slow cooker and wait — and it’s delicious. Lots of flavors here — tart from the capers; sweet from the peppers; and hot from the red pepper flakes — with none of them overpowering the other. And it makes enough for four hungry college students.

Here’s the recipe from Chef Dante de Magistris of Restaurant dante and Il Casale:

Steak Pizzaiola

-2 lbs sirloin flap beef, (steak tips) sliced thin against the grain (about ¼ inch thick)

-1 tablespoon salt

-½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, (or more if you like it hot)

-½ teaspoon dry oregano

-¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

-2 cloves garlic

-2 tablespoons capers, plus some of it’s juice

-1 can 12 oz can crushed tomatoes

-½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino cheese

-1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves

-1 red or green pepper, sliced up

-1 medium size zucchini, sliced in half moons


1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, mix it up, put the lid on, turn to high heat, set timer for 3 hours. Serve hot

Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Rollups
Feb 2nd, 2014 by

Here a blueberry and mango combination was used.

Here a blueberry and mango combination was used.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and I’m making chili, chicken wings and pub kettle chips but to make myself feel better about those indulgences I searched online for something healthier.

You have to let the rollups sit in the freezer for 2 hours before you can eat them.

You have to let the rollups sit in the freezer for 2 hours before you can eat them.

I found this recipe for frozen fruit rollups: a perfect dish to make with kids. And lucky me I had kids on hand to help out as my great niece and two great nephews spent the night with us. With a little guidance, they were able to make their own rollups and had fun choosing which frozen fruit to use.

I bought bags of frozen blueberries, strawberries, mangos, and a bag that had a combination of bananas and strawberries. And I used vanilla-flavored greek yogurt.

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This one had strawberries and bananas.

This one had strawberries and bananas.

Appetizer Eureka! It’s Pub Kettle Chips!
Dec 17th, 2013 by

These would go good while watching football or just watching the snow fall.

These would go great with watching a football game or just watching the snow fall.

It isn’t often that I strike gold while dining out but I did on a recent visit to Providence, Rhode Island.

By striking gold, I mean tasting something so incredibly delicious and yet so simple to cook it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that?” This happened on a visit to Union Station Brewery in downtown Providence. The dish? Pub Kettle Chips.

For a mere $7.99 you get a large platter of homemade kettle potato chips with melted cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream.

I recreated them at home by doing the following:

Spread a layer of Utz Mystic Gourmet Dark Russet Potato Chips on a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with extra-sharp cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and chips are hot.

Cook bacon and crumble it or cut it into small pieces and then sprinkle on top of chips.

Sprinkle with chopped green onion. And put a couple of large dollops of sour cream on top.

Mmmm! Goes well with beer (but then again, what doesn’t?)

Chicken in Milk: Strange, but True
Oct 15th, 2013 by

After browning the chicken I poured the grease into a baking dish and roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips and apples for a side dish.

After browning the chicken I poured the grease into a baking dish and roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips and apples for a side dish.

This was a pretty simple recipe, albeit an odd one. You basically put a chicken in a pot, brown it on all sides, remove the grease and then add milk, lemon zest and a cinnamon stick. The result is a tender, juicy and sweet, chicken with some unexpected flavors. I’d definitely make it again.

The recipe came from Jamie Oliver. I followed that recipe but took the advice of another cook who recommended cooking it covered for the first hour. Get the recipe here.

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