Slender, fresh asparagus teams up with lemon, bacon and Parmesan for a bold pasta dish that tastes like spring. Recipe below.

pasta-asparagus-bacon-lemon

I always love when those first bunches of tender, slender asparagus show up in markets and grocery stores. For me, this first asparagus tastes like spring. I always overbuy and overindulge, because I know all too soon, the brawnier, cigar-thick, woody stalks will take its place. I overbought last weekend at Detroit’s Eastern Market, getting two big, beautiful bunches. Also overbought on lemons, from the same enterprising vendor. From there, this recipe practically wrote itself. [click to continue…]

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Lamb is versatile, delicious and easy to cook. These six recipes showcase that versatility.

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Lemon Caper Sage Butter

According to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Ours turns to thoughts of lamb. To be fair, Marion and I pretty much fancy lamb year-round, but spring tends to be when many others think about cooking and eating this most delectable of red meats. If your thoughts are turning to lamb, here are some ideas for traditional and unexpected ways to cook it. [click to continue…]

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Detroit’s Eastern Market: A visual feast

by Terry B on April 12, 2017

Detroit is internationally known for its street art. And a major center for it is the neighborhood surrounding its farmers market.

Detroit's Eastern Market

Eastern Market is bustling on Saturdays. Thousands of shoppers crowd the aisles of Detroit’s sprawling historic farmers market, jostling for fresh produce—much of it locally grown—as well as a dazzling array of, well, everything. Spices, jams, baked goods, eggs, cheeses, hot sauces, garden plants, topiaries, candles, T-shirts… even bundles of decorative sticks. Sundays are quieter. [click to continue…]

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Makeshift: Shrimp Scampi with Rice

by Terry B on April 5, 2017

Rice steps in for pasta in this otherwise reasonably classic Shrimp Scampi. Recipe below.

Shrimp Scampi with Rice

In a previous life, which is how Marion and I describe our lives before we met, I spent a month in England. My brother was living there, and when we weren’t wandering off up to Wales and Scotland or driving through France in a Brit car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, we spent much of our time at his house just outside a small village. Our grocery options were, shall we say, limited. [click to continue…]

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Perfect for Pesach: Maple Glazed Rack of Ribs

by Terry B on March 29, 2017

Just in time for Passover, a new cookbook offers recipes that are perfect for the holiday and all year long, like this Maple Glazed Rack of Ribs. Recipe below.

Perfect for Pesach Naomi Nachman

You know those meals and dishes that only come out for the holidays? The ones you wish you could eat all year long? That’s the idea behind Naomi Nachman’s debut cookbook, Perfect for Pesach: Passover Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year. While the recipes in it are focused on Passover, as the title says, they can be served and enjoyed all year long. [click to continue…]

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Notes, but no recipes, from the road

by Terry B on March 22, 2017

Dollar-Hamtramck

I’m out of town again, working long hours and away from my familiar kitchen. What little cooking I’m doing is on the perfunctory side, so no recipe this week. But because of where I am—Hamtramck, Michigan, a small, independent, working class municipality inside the city of Detroit—I’m thinking a lot about immigrants. [click to continue…]

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For the first time since 1871, Chicago had no measurable snowfall in January or February. So less than a week before the nominal beginning of spring, of course, we got seven inches. This was the view from my office window yesterday. You know, Tuesday. The day I’m often scrambling to create the post—and often produce the recipe—you find here on Wednesday. I had a recipe of sorts in mind, but the fierce snow and an admitted lack of willpower on my part stood between me and some necessary ingredients. So instead, I’m serving up a hearty lamb stew posted here several years ago, also during a Chicago March snowstorm. [click to continue…]

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Seven recipes from the Blue Kitchen archives celebrate the flavors immigrants have brought to our shores and tables.

Patatas Riojas

Need proof that America is a land of immigrants? Take a stroll through any supermarket worth the name. You’ll find pasta and pasta sauce makings. You’ll find cumin in the spice aisle; jalapeño peppers and fresh ginger in the produce department; sauerkraut, kielbasa (or certainly, brats). You’ll find miso paste. You’ll find hummus. These foods—once exotic, but now kitchen go-tos for most of us—didn’t get here on their own. [click to continue…]

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A simple pan-seared steak gets support from store-bought cheats for a solo dinner that got cooked quickly and lingered over. What passes for a recipe follows.

Pan-seared Steak

Various events have us all in different cities tonight, with me home in Chicago. Often in this situation, I’ll take the opportunity to work late, then grab some takeout on the way home. That was the plan tonight. Until a fire alarm went off in our building, sending the last three of us at work down thirteen flights of stairs to a lobby filled with firefighters. We didn’t smell any smoke (so I probably have an office to show up to tomorrow), but it was clear we weren’t going back upstairs tonight. [click to continue…]

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Big chunks of pork shoulder are braised in a slow cooker in a tangy, slightly spicy tomatillo-based salsa verde until fork tender. Recipe below.

Puerco en Salsa Verde

Every day, we get delicious reminders of the cultural richness immigrants bring to America. Our new old house is in Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican working class Chicago neighborhood. Walking to our el station in the morning on the way to work, we pass two or three street corner vendors selling homemade tamales and steaming bowls of pozole. Standing on the el platform, we are greeted by the fragrance of fresh tortillas being made in one of many neighborhood tortillerias. [click to continue…]

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