The classic Russian dish of beef, mushrooms and sour cream gets a delicious upgrade, with chanterelles. Recipe below.
Food has never been more interesting. Chefs are going global and hyperlocal, often at the same time. Molecular gastronomy is turning restaurant kitchens into science labs. The best restaurant in the world serves lichen, moss and other foraged goods. And home cooks are getting right in there with them, tapping into ingredients both worldly and local and fearlessly exploring new techniques.
In all the excitement over the next new thing, though, some classic recipes are being left behind. Beef stroganoff, for instance. Even when I was a teenager and just starting to explore dining out without my parents, beef stroganoff was outdated. Its appearance on a menu indicated a restaurant of a certain age—and perhaps aspirations to “fine dining” unattained. [click to continue…]
Chanterelle mushrooms, shallots, thyme, half & half, sherry and plenty of butter create a rich, creamy, earthy soup. Recipe (and mushroom substitutions) below.
A couple of times on our recent trip to Seattle, I wondered about the city’s name and its origin. More germane to our visit, however, is the fact that the word ‘eat’ is right in the middle of the name. In our short time there, it seemed we were constantly eating something delicious, talking about some delicious thing we’d just eaten or contemplating what delicious thing we would be putting in our mouths next. Fortunately for us, downtown Seattle is one giant StairMaster. We didn’t burn off all the glorious calories we consumed, but we at least made a tiny, doughy dent.
After an extravagantly delayed flight, cutting-edge inefficiency at the car rental pickup and our GPS device’s refusal to accept that we were not still in Chicago (and the attendant instructions on how to make the 29-hour drive from Chicago to Seattle), we finally checked into our hotel in the late afternoon. Then we headed straight out for oysters. [click to continue…]
The season’s newcomers, apples and pears, take turns in six recipes that are all over the map, from sweet to savory, breakfast to dessert. Recipes below.
Fall is officially here. So are apples and pears, in abundant variety. And while both are delicious to eat out of hand, they’re even more fun to cook with. Here are half a dozen Blue Kitchen recipes to help you make the most of the new arrivals at the farmers markets and produce departments.
1. Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Pears
Beaten egg whites give Marion’s ricotta pancakes pictured above a light, creamy finish. Here, they’re topped with quickly sautéed fresh pears, making a lovely weekend breakfast. You’ll find the recipe, along with other topping suggestions, here. [click to continue…]
Chicken, potatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and capers create a hearty, rustic Italian stew. The recipe is adapted from Hedgebrook Cookbook: Celebrating Radical Hospitality. You could win your own copy of this cookbook. Recipe and contest details below.
One of the pleasures of writing Blue Kitchen is the opportunities we get to review cookbooks. We love food and we love the written word. Cookbooks give us both. The latest volume to come across our desk celebrates a place that has helped support the written word for 25 years now.
Hedgebrook is a writing retreat on Whidbey Island in Washington state, 48 acres with a farmhouse and six cabins. Since 1988, those cabins have been home to an impressive list of women writers, including Eve Ensler, Jane Hamilton, Carolyn Forché and Gloria Steinem, all enjoying what Hedgebrook calls “radical hospitality.” [click to continue…]
The last peaches and blueberries of summer combine with shaved fennel bulb, just hitting its seasonal stride. The resulting salad is crunchy, sweet and tart, with a refreshing hint of licorice. Recipe below.
The changing seasons are pulling us in different directions. Marion is looking forward to cooking with the apples and pears beginning to appear in growing varieties in the market. I, on the other hand, am thinking wistfully of the summer berries and stone fruits that will soon be gone.
This salad bridges seasons, combining the last of summer fruit with fennel bulbs, just coming into their autumnal own. Usually, fennel is braised or sautéed, often as part of an Italian dish—such as our current go-to weeknight pasta dinner. Here, it’s sliced thin and served raw, making the most of its sweet crunchiness. [click to continue…]
Lamb shoulder chops are pan seared, then quickly braised with San Marzano tomatoes, olives, shallots, garlic, sage and red wine. Recipe below—plus your chance to win a Calphalon Williams-Sonoma Elite Nonstick fry pan.
I love kitchen stuff. If left to my own devices in a department store, I don’t wander over to the big screen TVs. You’ll find me in the cookware department, checking out the newest pots and pans and gadgets. Our kitchen cabinets (okay, and various attic shelves) are crammed with assorted skillets, sauce pans, Dutch ovens, stock pots… So when I was asked to review some new Calphalon pans, I of course said yes. [click to continue…]
Blueberries, buttermilk, thyme and lemon zest combine to create a delicious cake—and memories of childhood summers in Michigan. Recipe below.
Most of this summer, the blueberries have been terrible—tiny, sour and disgruntled. But suddenly, they have become gorgeous—Michigan blueberries big as marbles, sweet, full of flavor and the most beautiful dusty blue. We’ve been having them on cereal, tossing them in salads (making a vinaigrette using the very pretty blueberry vinegar from Canter-Berry Farms in Washington state) and just plain eating them out of hand.
Ordinarily, I don’t bake in the summer. Even this year, which here in the Midwest has been mild and delightful, I just don’t hold with turning on the oven in July and August. But yesterday—which, natch, was the first really miserably hot day in quite a while—I got the craving. Blueberry cake—we had to have it. [click to continue…]
Pasta turns a classic Italian salad into a quick vegetarian meal, Pasta alla Caprese. Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are the key ingredients. Recipe below.
The thing about growing tomatoes is this. You plant them as soon as there’s no chance of frost, and then you wait. For a long time, there are no tomatoes. No tomatoes. No tomatoes. Still no tomatoes. And then one day, there are TOMATOES!!! Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, TOMATOES!!! So you find yourself looking for lots of things to do with TOMATOES!!!
Right next to our tomato plants is our BASIL!!! The multiple plants have been doing quite well for a while now. You probably see where this is going. I didn’t right away. It took seeing an article on things to do with mozzarella. One recipe was a pasta dish with Italian sausage and small balls of mozzarella, bambini brocconcini. I mentally jettisoned the sausage and added our plentiful tomatoes and basil. A meal was born. [click to continue…]
Pork chops are dry brined to keep them juicy and tender, then pan seared with rosemary. They’re topped with peaches and frisée quickly cooked in the same pan. Recipe below.
Forensic anthropologists would have a field day with my right hip pocket. It’s home to an ever shifting collection of folded scraps of paper, most covered with scribbled food notes. Some are shopping lists, folded and refolded to accommodate new lists. Looking at old lists, I can often reconstruct the meals I cooked based on the ingredients acquired.
Others are terse, cryptic notes to myself—reminders of food ideas to spark a recipe. Like this one written on a Saveur magazine subscription card: “wilted frisée.” Those two words had been inspired by three words I’d just seen, probably in an article in the Saveur from which the card had come: “charred bitter greens.” I don’t even remember the article or the context now, but I do remember making the immediate leap from those three words to the idea of pork chops pan seared with rosemary and topped with peaches and frisée quickly cooked in the still hot pan. And I could immediately taste it. The salt, rosemary and juicy, fatty meat of the chops mingling with the mildly bitter greens and sweet peach bites. [click to continue…]
Adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, this red eye gravy gets its umami-rich, sausage-like flavor and texture from mushrooms, herbs and spices. Paired with easy-to-make drop biscuits, it creates an iconic Southern breakfast. Recipes below.
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.”
That said, we are trying to eat less meat these days. So when I was offered a review copy of The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table, I said yes, please. Traditional Southern cuisine relies heavily on meat—bacon, ham hocks, ribs… Even pie crusts are made better and flakier with lard. I was curious to see how classic recipes would work without meat. Based on this one, the answer is deliciously. [click to continue…]