With just five ingredients—strawberry-infused vodka, fresh basil, simple syrup, lemon juice and club soda—this cocktail is as cool and easy as summer itself. Recipe below.

Strawberry Vodka Cooler with Basil

So suddenly, kids are back in school. And I’m getting frantic emails about recipes to try and beaches to check out before summer’s over. How did that happen? Thanks to overly hectic schedules and unseasonably cool temperatures (which we love, don’t get me wrong), summer seems to have slipped out the back door on us. [click to continue…]



A marinade with red wine vinegar and lemon juice quickly tenderizes flavorful lamb shoulder chops. Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion and lemon zest add even more flavor. Recipe below.

Lamb Chops with Feta and Olives

For me, grabbing lamb when I see it in the store is almost automatic. Ground lamb for weeknight-quick burgers, cooked rare, a leg of lamb for a special holiday feast or maybe lamb rib chops when I’m feeling extravagant. Or, most often, lamb shoulder chops—cheap, flavorful and with a chewiness that can be easily tamed with a trick or two. [click to continue…]



Road trips and dining at the bar

by Terry B on August 12, 2015

New York Turnpike

For the second time in as many weeks, we did a weekend road trip to upstate New York. About 1,500 miles in three days, part two of the daughter move. And while it was tiring—besides the driving, there was the loading and unloading of boxes and bags, a bookcase, a bike and countless things not starting with B—just looking at the photo above has me ready to get in the car again. [click to continue…]



Quickly browned, then braised with onions and garlic, Brussels sprouts are tossed with feta, bacon and sage and served over pasta. Recipe below.

Linguine with Brussels Sprouts, Feta and Bacon

At my office, the creative department recently did a workshop on presentation skills. Each of us had five minutes to speak on the topic of “What I have learned.” One colleague spoke enthusiastically (to be fair, that’s her default mode of speaking) on learning to love Brussels sprouts. [click to continue…]



Too cool: seven cold soups for summer

by Terry B on July 29, 2015

Soup doesn’t have to be relegated to cold weather. Here are seven chilled soups from the Blue Kitchen archives.

Sweet Potato Vichyssoise

We took a quick road trip to upstate New York last weekend. There was a practical reason for the trip, helping one of our daughters move, but there was also plenty of pleasure, much of it food-based. (I know you’re surprised.) And even though we’re in the thick of summer, soups were part of that pleasure. [click to continue…]



Soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and aromatics dial up the umami in this sautéed tofu main course. Recipe below.

Sautéed Tofu with Ginger and Garlic

Our friend Carolyn recently shared a meme on Facebook about preparing tofu. It said this: Step 1: Throw it in the Trash. Step 2: Grill some Meat. Not that long ago, I would have laughed even harder than I did. [click to continue…]



Garlic scapes replace green onions in this potato salad, adding a mild garlicky kick. Bacon and lemon juice also play key roles. Recipe below.

Potato Salad with Garlic Scapes and Bacon

For being such a great food town, Chicago comes up short in the farmers market department. Yes, we’ve got neighborhood farmers markets that pop up in parks and plazas every weekend from mid-May to late October, full of organic, locally sourced produce, eggs, meats and more. But as exciting as these are, there’s still something missing. [click to continue…]



Tarragon, shallots, herbes de Provence and panko breadcrumbs give Meatballs in Tomato Sauce a nicely complex finish. Recipe below.

Meatballs in Tomato and Spinach Sauce

I did not grow up in a meatball-eating household. We ate plenty of ground meat, of course—in countless meatloafs, in burgers cooked until my mom or grandma were sure they were dead, in giant pots of chili or spaghetti sauce (the word pasta was never used in our house). But never as meatballs. [click to continue…]



Shishito peppers, sautéed until blistered in spots and tossed with lemon juice and salt, are a popular Japanese bar food. Recipe below.

Shishito Peppers

Once again, I am late to the culinary party. Last week, I happened across an article about a 27-year-old becoming the shishito pepper baron of New York. My immediate question was “what’s a shishito pepper?” The short answer is they’re apparently a thing—and have been for a few years now. [click to continue…]



What $10 can buy—and what it can give

by Marion on June 24, 2015

Ten bucks can buy any number of little indulgences. In the hands of Feeding America, it can also feed 100 hungry people.


It was recently announced that, by 2020, a woman’s face will grace our ten-dollar bills. That got me thinking about what a Hamilton (or Tubman or Roosevelt or…?) will get you these days. [click to continue…]