Six soups, stews and other fall comfort foods

by Terry B on October 1, 2014

Soupe Au Pistou

We’re big fans of wet food, especially when cool weather settles in for the season. Sauces and broths add warmth and comfort to any meal. Here are six soups, stews and other wet food favorites from the Blue Kitchen archives. [click to continue…]

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This hearty chowder, chock full of potatoes, corn, fish and bacon, gets a sweet note when corn stock stands in for fish stock. Recipes below.

Fish and Corn Chowder

In another life, I spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia, and various chowders were a happily regular part of my days. They would be based on whatever fish came in on the boats in the morning (often cod, hake or haddock) or whatever clams I dug, or even at particularly lavish moments, one or two lobsters. A fish stock made from the trimmings was usually the base. Everything would be completed with beautiful fresh local milk and butter. [click to continue…]

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Bacon, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, garlic and lemon juice and zest combine with chicken drumsticks and thighs in this big-flavored braise. Recipe below.

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

We turned on the heat for the first time this fall a few days ago. It’s been unseasonably cool lately in Chicago, and that has prompted complaints from some. Not from me. This is cooking weather for me—not just because it’s cooler in the kitchen, but because we can finally turn away from light summer fare and get back to the good stuff. Roasts. Stews. And robust braises like this one. [click to continue…]

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Peach Habanero Tarragon Butter adds a lively kick to toasts with goat cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, plain Greek yogurt and more. Recipe below.

Peach Habanero Tarragon Butter

I remember being suspicious of apple butter as a kid. We were mostly a margarine family, but I still wondered how you could call something butter if it had no butter in it. And yes, I ate peanut butter pretty much every day, but that was different. [click to continue…]

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Chicken is basted with butter, lemon juice and fresh sage, then cooked using both direct and indirect grilling. Recipe below.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Sage Butter

I often say I would be a lousy farmer. And by that, I specifically mean that if I had to grow my own food, I would starve to death. Not so, Marion. Over the years, she has grown many of the foods we’ve eaten—and the flowers that have dressed the dinner table—usually in the confines of a smallish backyard. This year, though, her efforts were limited to a number of herbs, several varieties of tomatoes and some habanero peppers. So when we sat down with our guests on Labor Day, we were surprised to see just how much of our dinner had come from our backyard. [click to continue…]

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Cauliflower is sautéed with pistachios, ham, sage and pears, then topped with a fried egg for dinner. Add or subtract various ingredients and you’ve got a side, a vegan meal or a pasta dish. Recipe below.

Cauliflower with Pears, Pistachios and Eggs

I’ve been kind of out of it for a bit now. Up until two hours ago, I hadn’t eaten anything for two days, and the only thing I’d had to drink was water and ginger ale. All in all I have been one pathetic feeble mess. Then an hour ago, our daughter Laurel came home and asked how I was feeling. “Actually,” I said, “I’m feeling hungry.” “Great!” she said. “I recommend a pear.” [click to continue…]

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Tomatoes and basil from the garden (or the farmers market) combine with ricotta cheese and linguine for a quick, creamy vegetarian dinner. Recipe below.

Linguine with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Basil

It’s August, and that can only mean one thing. Food websites and blogs everywhere are telling you how to use up all the tomatoes that are filling your garden, CSA box or farmers market. Sounds good to me. Here’s a quick, simple pasta dish that will also help you use up some of your excess fresh basil. [click to continue…]

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White-fleshed fish and okra are quickly stir-fried with garam masala, cumin seeds and other spices, then served over rice with coconut milk and cumin for a big-flavored, slightly spicy meal. Recipes below.

Garam Masala Tilapia and Okra

At the heart of Indian cuisine is a deft and exuberant use of spices. While some are used for heat, many simply supply huge, complex flavor. And at the heart of Indian spices is garam masala, a spice blend that sees almost daily use in Northern Indian kitchens—and in many South Asian kitchens as well. Typically, it is made fresh from family recipes for each day’s cooking. Though the mix varies regionally—and from kitchen to kitchen—it often includes some variation of peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seeds, nutmeg and cardamom. [click to continue…]

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Just say no to stemless wineglasses

by Terry B on August 10, 2014

An admittedly biased (and sometimes not so biased) rant on why to avoid stemless wineglasses.

shell-nfl-goblet-eBay

In the 1970s, Shell gas stations gave out NFL goblets with fill ups. My mom’s kitchen cabinet quickly became filled with them. They were free, after all, and their smoked tint—all the rage at the time—made them a step up from the Flintstone jelly glasses they pushed aside. Today when I see stemless wineglasses, I can’t help but see the ghost of those gas station goblets. [click to continue…]

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A compound butter made with miso paste, chives and lemon adds a savory umami quality to fish, vegetables, poultry… or a pan-grilled steak. Recipe below.

Grilled Steak with Miso Chive Butter

Well, of course the Japanese discovered the fifth taste sensation, umami. They’ve invented so many foods and ingredients that deliver it. Soy sauce is probably the best known example; more than mere saltiness, it adds what is aptly described as “a pleasant savory taste.” Another favorite of ours is miso paste. [click to continue…]

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