This Mexican street food-inspired dish packs big flavor, but not too much heat. Two recipes from the archives—and a wedding story—below.

Roasted Chili Cumin Chicken with Pickled Red Onions

At some point, I’m not sure when, Mexican restaurant food became relegated to comfort food status for us. Something we could count on to be reliably good, filling and cheap, but no longer something we got a hankering for. It wasn’t always this way. At one point, Marion and I ate at a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood at least once a week for a year or more. In fact, we went there on our wedding night, before going barhopping with my mom and my brand new sister-in-law. [read more here…]

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Thanksgiving was a smashing success (or close enough). Now delight your weekend house guests with Marion’s light, creamy pancakes topped with sautéed fruit. Recipe from the Blue Kitchen archives below.

Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Pears

Thanksgiving is arguably the most important food holiday. Sure, food matters with other holidays, but for Thanksgiving, food is the holiday. For food magazines, the Thanksgiving issue is the September issue of Vogue, and the cover girl is invariably the turkey.

At Blue Kitchen, we prefer to focus on the periphery, providing interesting side dishes that liven up the holiday table. Sweet Potato Vichyssoise for a surprising, elegant first course, Kasha, a non-traditional traditional side in our house that gravy loves every bit as much as mashed potatoes, Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Root Vegetables, a tofu-free vegetarian main course or side… [read more here…]

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Another trip into the Blue Kitchen archives as our needed break continues. If you’re looking for an unexpected Thanksgiving dessert, consider Marion’s whoopie pies with pumpkin cookies and two different cream cheese fillings—lemon and maple syrup.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

When I told my friends that for this week’s post I would be making whoopie pies, no one said, “Making what?”

Pretty much everybody in the United States these days knows what a whoopie pie is. A cookie sandwich with an icing filling, it’s simpler than cake, a happy intermediate between a cupcake and a sweet bread. Whoopie pies emanated from the American Northeast—Maine (where it is the “official state treat”), Pennsylvania and Boston all vow they invented it. Wikipedia reports that the world’s largest whoopie pie was made in South Portland, Maine in 2011. It weighed 1,062 pounds. This is a real thing, that happened. [Read more here…]

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While Blue Kitchen is enjoying a short break, we’re sharing favorite recipes from the archives. This week, it’s actually two recipes—Pan-grilled Lamb Chops and Couscous with Raisins and Onions—plus some thoughts on the pleasures of cooking for one.

Lamb Chops Couscous with Onions and Raisins

Shortly after I’d moved to Chicago the first time, I bought a half ham. Trying to figure out what to do with it, I consulted Joy of Cooking, where I was greeted by these cheery words: “Someone defined eternity as a ham and two people.” Standing there alone in the galley kitchen of my tiny studio apartment, I did the math—my half ham and I were in for a long haul. [Read more here…]

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While Blue Kitchen continues a brief break, we’re sharing some of our favorite dishes from the archives. This week, it’s Drop Biscuits and Vegetarian Red Eye Gravy, so umami-rich it might even fool a meat lover. (Also, with this post, we celebrate Blue Kitchen’s ninth anniversary.)

biscuits and vegetarian red eye gravy

At dinner with friends the other night, one of the diners at our table exclaimed over a vegetarian entrée on the menu. I realized at that moment that I will never willingly become a vegetarian. If there are meat or seafood options on a menu, I can’t get excited about vegetarian choices. Or as I put it to our companions, “It would take a death threat from my doctor to make me turn vegetarian.” [Read more here…]

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Blue Kitchen is going on a short break for the next few weeks. We are crazy busy with a major project that, no, isn’t a cookbook—or anything even specifically food-related. All is good—we’ll fill you in soon. In the meantime, we’ll be posting recipes from the archives that we especially like. This week, it’s a traditional Provençal pot roast that is toothsome and ridiculously easy. Don’t let the anchovies scare you—they disappear into the dish, leaving only dialed-up umami behind.

Layered Pot Roast with Anchovies, Capers and Garlic

A couple of weeks ago, I admitted to being a major Francophile when I wrote about roasting chicken on a bed of lentils. I guess that makes Karin over at Second Act in Altadena an enabler. After reading that post, she told me about three different French cookbooks. Already having more cookbooks than we have shelf space for, I immediately headed for the library website and ordered them. Of course, all three showed up within days of each other. [Read more here…]

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Six recipes featuring seasonal, versatile pears

by Terry B on October 21, 2015

Pears from the American Northwest are in delicious, abundant supply right now. Here are six different ways to make the most of them.

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Pears and Onions

It’s that season. You know, apple season. Time for piling the family in the car and heading off to an orchard to pick more apples than you can possibly eat. Legions of apples taking over the produce department in the market. I like apples well enough, but I love also-in-season pears. Here are some ways we’ve cooked with them. [click to continue…]

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Pork chops and fennel bulb are oven braised with apple cider, tea leaves and aromatics for a quietly rewarding fall meal. Recipe below.

Braised Pork Chops with Fennel

We sometimes cook with big flavors here. Kimchi. Brussels sprouts. Bacon. Flavors that swagger in and own the dish. More often, though, we choose ingredients that have plenty of personality, but are content to blend in—supporting characters in an ensemble cast happy to add to a delightful performance without upstaging anyone else. This is one of those dishes. [click to continue…]

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Mild, beautiful Savoy cabbage is the base for this simple, comforting, creamy soup. Recipe below.

Savoy Cabbage Potato Soup

A little while ago I was visiting one of our daughters, who was a bit under the weather, and when I asked her if there was anything I could fix for her, she handed me a recipe for a savoy cabbage potato soup. I don’t know where she got it—there are a lot of recipes kind of like this floating around online—but it looked so easy and direct that I was happy to give it a try. [click to continue…]

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When the weather turns cool, warm things up by firing up the oven and roasting or braising. Here are six recipes from the Blue Kitchen archives.

Lancashire Hotpot

Last week, autumnal weather inspired me to roast some chicken with grapes, mushrooms and shallots. The cool weather continues, and so does the desire to cook meaty dishes in the oven. We’ll start with some lamb. [click to continue…]

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