Category Archives: Cook

Beer Braised Pulled Chicken Sandwiches – Kale Slaw

It’s playoffs time.  The time of the year when champions are made, when we separate the men from the boys. So bro, get off the phone with Little Caesar’s, and bring these bad boys to your next tailgate.

Pulled chicken is super easy to make. Here’s everything you need (sans one Spanish onion):


Note: Normally I would do this with a pork shoulder but we had just had a slow roasted pork shoulder over New Year’s so we were all porked out. A lot of recipes will tell you to use just breasts, but thighs are fattier and, let’s face it, better tasting. I figure putting both breasts and thighs will make it a little more balanced. Slice up the onion, throw it on the bottom of your slow cooker, pile on the chicken, season, and toss in a bottle of beer.  Here I’m using a bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale to be more festive.


Cover that bad boy, set it on low, and 6-8 hours later you should get fork-tender, juicy, delicious chicken. Two forks is all you need to shred those babies up. I like mine chunky. You can make yours stringy if you like. You’re not gonna hurt my feelings.

There will probably be a lot of liquid in the slow cooker once the chicken is done so get rid of as much as you can before shredding. You can save it for a tasty broth later on.


So good.  You could eat it just like that, or add some sauce like I’m about to do. Oh yeah, Stubb’s BBQ sauce is legit.




Let it cook a little while longer in the slow cooker to let the sauce thicken up. Now, onto the slaw. This recipe I got from





Now put it all together and…


Game Time.


Pulled Chicken:

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium Spanish onion
1 bottle light beer, in this case Sierra Nevada Celebration
1.5 tsp garlic salt
1.5 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 bottle of BBQ sauce (I recommend Stubb’s)

Slice the onion, place along the bottom of a slow cooker, place chicken on top, season with garlic salt and pepper. Pour the bottle of beer into the slow cooker, then set on low. Go to work, or the gym, or something that will take a few hours. After about 6 hours, check on the chicken. It should be fully cooked and fork tender. There will probably be a lot of liquid so ladle out as much as you can, then shred the chicken with 2 forks.

Add about 3/4 bottle of BBQ sauce into the chicken, mix, then let cook for another hour or so to let the sauce thicken, and that’s it!

Kale Apple Slaw with Poppy Seed Dressing (adapted from

2 tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

1 pound kale (1.5 bunches)
2 medium size Fuji apples
2/3 cup of small diced red onion (about 1/2 medium onion)

Dressing: Place the vinegar, honey, mustard, poppy seeds, and salt in a mixing bowl, season with pepper, and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle the oil in until all of it is incorporated.
Slaw: Wash and dry the kale. Cut out and discard the thick, tough stems. Arrange the leaves into stacks, slice crosswise into 1/4-inch ribbons, and add to the bowl with the dressing. Core the apples, cut them into 1-1/2-inch-long matchsticks, and add to the bowl. Add the onions and toss to combine. Let the coleslaw sit for at least 15 minutes at room temperature and up to 1 day in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld.
Sandwich Assembly: Butter both sides of a hamburger bun and grill on a skillet, place meat on the bottom and top with slaw. Put it all together, crack open a cold one, and enjoy the games this weekend!
Note: GO NINERS!!!
goodwilltasting beer pairing recommendation: Anchor Steam Celebration Ale
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The Best Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Listen to me. These are the best mashed potatoes you might ever make in your entire life.  I really don’t have anything else to say so here’s the recipe:


Start with the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is great just on its own. Seriously. It becomes soft and spreadable like little garlicky pats of butter. But it’s a vegetable so it’s healthy. Right? Sometimes I’ll pop a couple cloves into my mouth before throwing them into the mashed. It’s also great on grilled slices of baguette, thrown into an omelette, blended into hummus or mayonnaise, etc, etc, etc. So here’s how to do it: Chop off just the top of the bulb, exposing the tops of the raw cloves underneath.  Sorry for the old garlic picture, but I assure you it’s still just as tasty.



Drizzle some olive oil on the top of the bulb, season with salt and pepper, throw in some herbs if you got em (I threw in a couple rosemary leaves), and then wrap it up in a loosely folded pouch.  It needs to be sealed but make sure it’s easy to open up so you can check to make sure it’s done. The cloves should be shiny and golden brown when done. Then all you have to do is squeeze the bulb like a toothpaste tube and peel back the garlic paper to get all that goodness out. Check it:




I like to use a ricer when I make mashed potatoes. If you like yours chunky, feel free to go old school and use a masher or even a big fork.

20140110-230100.jpg  20140110-235621.jpg




3 lbs yellow or white potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (1.5″ cubes)
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 whole small bulb garlic
5 oz parmesan cheese, grated
Chicken broth
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 deg
While heating cut the top off the whole garlic bulb, exposing the tops of each clove, drizzle olive oil over it, and season with salt and pepper. Place the bulb in a foil pouch, close it and roast for 45 min. If you have any fresh herbs you can throw it in the pouch as well. Roast until it’s soft and golden brown, then when it’s cool squeeze out the garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork.

While garlic is roasting, cook potatoes in salted boiling water for 10 min or until you can stick a fork in it easily to cut it in half. Mash the potatoes well or use a ricer if you have it. Add the cream, sour cream, and salt/pepper to the potatoes and stir to combine. The initial consistency should be relatively thin, almost like a thick soup, so add more cream or chicken broth to thin it out. Don’t worry it will thicken again as you mix it around. Mash the garlic cloves into a paste with a fork, and add that and the Parmesan to the potatoes and mix. Add a few pats of butter at the end if you wanna make it even more rich, or serve as is.


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Whole Roasted Porgy (Scup) with Root Vegetables

So I recently went on a fishing trip out in Buzzards Bay, RI. I wasn’t super successful… after 8 hours of fishing I only had 2 porgy (aka scup) and a little baby bluefish to show for it. I also caught a couple sea bass but they were too small to keep. Boo. Oh well. Let’s cook!


Most of the work for this recipe is in the prep.  After I cleaned and scaled the fish (tutorial to come, hopefully), all you really need to do is season and prep the fish for roasting. Here are my babies cleaned, fins cut off, and scaled:


When you “score” a fish that means you cut into the flesh of the fish in the thickest parts of the meat to allow for even cooking. Fish will overcook and dry out like you wouldn’t believe so this is important to get nice, tender fish throughout, rather than fish jerky on the sides and sashimi in the middle. Cut at an angle towards the head, kind of like cutting another gill into the flesh. Try not to get all the way to the bone. Depending on how big the fish is, you may need 2 or 3 scores.


(Adapted from Cookstr)
2 12-in porgies, cleaned, scaled, and scored
1 lb fingerling potatoes
3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large Spanish onion, cut into large 1-inch chunks
1 lemon, sliced thin
6-7 sprigs thyme
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
olive oil
salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place potatoes, carrots, onions, 4 sprigs of thyme and garlic into a roasting pan and coat liberally with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and pop the whole thing into the oven for 30 minutes. The vegetables take a lot longer to cook than the fish, so they need a head start.

While the veggies cook, drizzle olive oil all over the fish and season with salt and pepper, both sides, inside the cavity and in the scored flesh. Break apart the remaining sprigs of thyme and tuck them into the scored flesh and into the cavity. Place a couple slices of lemon into the cavity as well.  After 30 minutes, take the veggies out of the oven.

Increase the oven heat to 425 degrees.

Arrange the fish on top of the veggies so they aren’t touching each other. Place a few more lemon slices on top of the fish and pop the whole thing back in the oven. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the flesh is completely opaque when cut with a knife. Cooking time will vary based on the size of the fish. Generally a 1-2 pound fish will take 20-30 min to cook.

Serve with fresh pesto and olive tapenade if you’re fancy pants.


goodwilltasting beer pairing suggestion: Stone Saison Du Buff

Note: you may be wondering what happened to the little baby bluefish. I dredged that little guy in flour, seasoned with plenty of S&P, and fried it up in a good amount of oil. He was small but delicious!

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Basil-Arugula Almond Pesto

Sauces and condiments can make almost any dish go from ordinary to delicious. Think about it. What’s a Thanksgiving dinner without turkey gravy? Or Eggs Benedict without hollandaise? Or a Shake Shack burger without Shack Sauce?  Yeah I don’t know either.

Let me say something else: fellas, do yourself a favor and get yourself a decent food processor.  If you hate prep work like I do, then this is a must have appliance for your kitchen. Cuts your chopping, slicing, grating, and mixing time by like 80%. Real talk. I have a 9-cup Cuisinart.

Here’s all you need to make this pesto:


(Not Pictured: Fresh Arugula)

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

1/2 cup dry roasted sliced almonds
9-10 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 cups fresh arugula leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good-quality olive oil
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Food Processor
Fit the food processor with a steel blade and process the almonds and garlic for 15 seconds, or until it looks like this:
Add the basil, arugula, salt, and pepper. Important: Make sure the basil and arugula are washed and dried before placing in the processor. You don’t want watery pesto. While the processor is running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Final product:


Notes: Pesto becomes brown and dried out as it is exposed to air. For storing, pack it in containers with a thin film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

I had some olives so I also made a simple tapenade after I made the pesto, with a handful of olives, a couple basil leaves, the juice of half a lemon, and a 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped.  Again, add olive oil while processing until you get the desired consistency. You don’t even need to clean the bowl!


One more thing: do you know how much pesto costs at specialty markets? It’s like $10 for a little 6 oz tub! Get outta my face with that stuff! I made this with basil I had growing in my backyard and I had enough to fill a 32 oz jar. It was basically free. Enjoy!

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