Feta cheese, black olives, red onion, dill, and lemon juice and zest do their predictably wonderful thing when mixed together and heaped on pan-seared pork chops. Recipe below.

Pork Chops with Feta Olive Salsa

Leave it to me to appropriate a vegetarian dish for a meaty use. We were at a housewarming last weekend thrown by the adult daughter of a friend from our St. Louis days. She and her roommate have a lovely new Humboldt Park apartment, and it was filled with a lively crowd—including an impressive contingency of fairly newly minted babies. We seem to be going through a period right now where many of our friends, old and new, are young. [click to continue…]

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Storied Asian condiment Spicy Chili Crisp adds complex flavors and a little kick to this improvised dish of fried potatoes, pork, garlic and scallions. Recipe below.

“Old Godmother” Spicy Potatoes and Pork

Like a lot of people we know, we have a battery of hot sauces in our pantry. We don’t have, oh, 100 different hot sauces, but we have a few, from the familiar (Tabasco, Cholula) to the popular (Sriracha) to the hyper-local (Dia de los Tamales Tree Sauce, made a few blocks from our house). Our collection includes a healthy number of Asian greats: hot oil, gochujang, Szechwan chili paste, Szechwan hot bean sauce. Who could have guessed we needed another? Turns out we did. [click to continue…]

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Heavy cream, sweet condensed milk, fresh fruits or other flavorings of your choice and not much else create a luxuriously creamy, no churn ice cream. Recipe and variations below.

No Churn Strawberry Nectarine Ice Cream

This whole thing started when our friend Laura Perry, one of the great home cooks we know, posted on Facebook about her success with a recipe for no churn salted caramel ice cream. I thought: huh? But sure enough, all of a sudden, I started noticing recipes for no churn ice cream all over the Internet. I was super skeptical of this whole thing—no churn?  No… churn? But I have to say, as Laura notes, it is ridiculously easy and ridiculously luxurious. It just takes a bit of advance planning. [click to continue…]

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Potatoes stand in for pasta as the only cooked ingredient in this dish, warming the Italian tuna, artichoke hearts, capers, red onion, lemon and parsley. Recipe below.

Tuna Artichoke Potato Salad

This was going to be a salsa cruda pasta, one I make several times every summer. A salsa cruda (uncooked sauce) is perfect for warm weather cooking, because all that gets cooked is the pasta. It warms the other ingredients, causing their fragrances and flavors to blossom. The other ingredients, in turn, cool the pasta a bit. Your meal is warm, but not hot—perfect for warm weather dining. And your kitchen doesn’t overheat either, since you’re only cooking the pasta. [click to continue…]

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Hoisin sauce brings a barbecue sauce-like flavor to this chicken dish equally at home on the grill or in the oven. Ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar add their own flavor notes.

Grilled Hoisin Chicken

The kitchen in our new old house is still very much a work in progress. As is the rest of the house. But we entertained our first non-family member on Memorial Day. It being the traditional kickoff weekend for grilling, we had bought a new charcoal grill the previous weekend. What we didn’t do in the ensuing week was assemble it. So instead of a cookout, we had a cook-in. And the in-progress kitchen performed beautifully. [click to continue…]

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Dandelion greens add a pleasant bitter bite—and loads of nutrients—to this weeknight-quick pasta. Recipe below.

Capellini with Dandelion Greens, Prosciutto and Chicken

Last week, we cooked with ramps acquired at a supermarket, of all places. That same trip yielded fresh dandelion greens. While long a staple of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurant menus, their recentish appearance in mainstream grocery store produce departments surprises me a little. It also impresses me. Supermarkets are increasingly getting the way we eat—or at least aspire to. [click to continue…]

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Garlicky, oniony ramps—”wild leeks”—star in this simple, seasonal pasta dish. Recipe below.

Linguine with Ramps and Shrimp

Farmers markets seem to be leaking into supermarkets. Or at least influencing the better ones. There is more emphasis on seasonal and locally grown in the produce section—like at farmers markets. The most recent example for us was this past weekend at our neighborhood Mariano’s. They had ramps. Hyper-seasonal, local, often foraged ramps. [click to continue…]

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Steamed cauliflower and kale are tossed with a béchamel sauce and two cheeses, topped with panko and baked into a rich, tangy gratin. Recipe below.

Cauliflower Kale Gratin

This is what comes of reading a cookbook while riding around town hungry. On Saturday, we had an errand-filled day, hunting hither and yon for everything from geraniums to major appliances. On the way out the door, I grabbed the wonderful cookbook Off the Menu, which we’ve already written about here. Maybe reading cookbooks while hungry is not the brightest decision on the planet, and maybe it made me kind of hangry, but it also inspired this recipe. Like so many things on Blue Kitchen, it’s a mashup—in this case, a collision of two dishes from this fun, welcoming book. [click to continue…]

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Barely sautéed fresh peas bring the taste of spring to Fettuccine with Peas and Prosciutto, with fresh cream and Parmesan adding a subtle richness. Recipe below.

Fettuccine with Peas and Prosciutto

Fresh peas are just starting to show up in the produce section. I know this because there are some fresh sugar snap peas in our fridge right now that were expecting to become this week’s post. Next week, I promise, you will see those peas here in a new recipe. This week, their delicious brethren English peas appear in a quick, delicious pasta dish that tastes like spring. [Read more here…]

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This rustic French dish with a base of coarsely puréed scallions and potatoes is perfect for when April isn’t playing nice—as it wasn’t in April 2009, when we first shared this recipe.

Braised Chicken with Scallion Purée

The kitchen in our new old house is still half-assembled, but functional. The meals we’re cooking are still mostly functional as well—good, filling, but not necessarily post-worthy. So while we’re still getting things under control, culinarily and otherwise, please enjoy this recipe inspired by a lovely Amanda Hesser cookbook we haven’t managed to unpack yet. [Read more here…]

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