Pesto is a quintessential summer meal maker—garden fresh, versatile and requiring little or no cooking. Here are five pesto recipes, from the traditional basil to creative takes using sage, cilantro and even kale.

Fettuccine with Pecan Pesto

A sudden abundance of basil in our garden has us enjoying quick weeknight—and lazy weekend—dinners of simply prepared pesto with pasta. But it doesn’t always have to team up with pasta. It can be tossed with cooked potatoes and green beans, spooned over grilled meats and fishes—even smeared on crusty bread as a snack or appetizer. And it doesn’t always require basil, as some of these recipes demonstrate. [click to continue…]

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Chicken breasts are briefly marinated in olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and fresh sage, then roasted. The mustard quietly blends in, taking on a subtle role. Recipe below.

Chicken Breasts with Mustard and Sage

Mustard is pretty much our favorite condiment. At any given moment, we have five or six varieties in our fridge. We give each other mustards as stocking stuffers. We love its brash, tangy brightness when slathered on things and all the ways it can be transformed by various makers—a current favorite is Edmond Fallot’s Walnut Dijon Mustard. But a curious thing happens when you cook with mustard. It disappears. [click to continue…]

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We’ve got the plates, just no recipe

by Terry B on August 10, 2016

spinning-plates

This kind of sums up our lives right now. So no recipe. But we’ll be back with a fresh one next week. Please ignore all the crashing crockery sounds.

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Elegantly shaped campanelle pasta scoops up peas, cream, bits of bacon and even mushroom slices in this weeknight-quick meal. Recipe below.

Campanelle with Mushrooms and Peas

In moving into our new old house and trying to organize our large, messy pantry—still very much an ongoing project—we discovered one thing. We buy a lot of pasta. Long pastas, from slender capellini to spaghetti to linguine and fettuccine. And a dazzling array of short tubes and twists, from prosaic penne rigate to exotics like Vesuvio and trofi to in-betweens. Like the campanelle in this recipe. [click to continue…]

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A quick marinade of fresh basil, garlic and olive oil gives pan-grilled pork chops classic Italian flavor. Recipe below.

Pork Chops with Basil and Garlic

I like basil. Scratch that. I love it. Basil and rosemary are my two favorite fresh herbs. So when Marion recently announced that one of our basil plants was finally ready for harvesting, I was ready too. [click to continue…]

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This classic New Orleans cocktail includes gin, orange flower water, half-and-half, an egg white, citrus juices and a whole lot of shaking. Recipe below.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Years ago, when I was  fairly new to this drinking thing, one of the first cocktails I ever tried was a Ramos Gin Fizz. The identity of the date who suggested it has vanished from my memory bank—what a fate, to be remembered only for a long-ago beverage—but I do remember how much I liked the drink. Frothy, light, citrusy, it tastes like frivolity and—being mostly gin—can pack quite a wallop. [click to continue…]

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Grilled Sriracha Apricot Chicken

We’re not cooking much this summer—well, not cooking much in the way of new shareable recipes. So I raided the archives to see what we’ve cooked in past Julys. Some good stuff, it turns out. [click to continue…]

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kitchen-counter-july4

We are a nation of immigrants. Appropriately enough, our eating on the 4th of July holiday weekend, a time that celebrates our nation’s birth, illustrates why this is a good thing. We started Friday night at Lao Beijing. [click to continue…]

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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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