Moving, cheats and getting food on the table

by Terry B on April 20, 2016

Homemade Marina Sauce

Unlike many things, moving doesn’t get easier the more you do it. If anything, it gets harder. As much as we love waking up every day in our new old house, life is still makeshift on a daily basis. Besides living among not always well-labeled boxes here, we’re still vacating our apartment of nine years. We’re working around the contractor finishing up things. We’re dealing with disappearing cats when the contractor leaves doors open (the cat was found—in a closed vanity drawer, of course). And we’re getting up and going to work every day. So instead of a fresh recipe this week, you’ll be getting a confessional post of sorts. [click to continue…]



Yes, it’s Matzoh Crack season again

by Terry B on April 13, 2016

Marion’s addictive Passover dessert, made with white and semi-sweet chocolates, and spicy rose sugar, makes a delicious return. Recipe and variations below.

Marion's Matzoh Crack

We moved last Saturday, probably more of an evacuation than an actual move. We love our new old home, but both it and our lives are a little too chaotic right now to sensibly cook and post something new. With Passover a little more than a week away, sharing Marion’s popular Matzoh Crack seemed like the perfect idea. [Read more here…]



Fridge (and pantry) raid: Chicken Lentil Soup

by Terry B on April 6, 2016

Chicken, lentils and things you probably already have on hand turn into a quick, hearty, healthy soup. Recipe below.

Chicken Lentil Soup

So, we’re moving. Not to another city or anything, and we’ve certainly moved plenty of times in our lives. But what has turned this into a huge monster of a time- and life-consuming project is that we’re moving into a house that needed everything when we found it. Plumbing. Electric. HVAC. Walls built, moved or removed. And most important, perhaps, work to make sure the house will continue to stand as it has since probably the 1880s. [click to continue…]



With only four ingredients—spaghetti, Pecorino Romano, salt and black pepper—this rustic Roman favorite is enjoying a moment. Recipe below.

Cacio e Pepe

I rarely find myself ahead of the curve on anything. When I first shared my version of cacio e pepe—a popular favorite in Roman trattorias—five years ago today, it was adapted from a cookbook published back in 2002. So imagine my surprise when the humble four-ingredient pasta started lighting up the Internet a couple of months ago. [click to continue…]


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Again with no recipes

by Terry B on March 23, 2016

Oscar Wilde said, “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” We agree.

Mezcaleria Las Flores

We’re working too hard and eating more than our share of takeout food these days. The big mystery project that has been consuming our lives for far too long continues. Happily, in the next few weeks, it should reach some sort of semi-completion, and we will be posting new recipes again. In the meantime, some random blathering. [click to continue…]



Jim's Original Maxwell Street

Tuesday was the Illinois primary. Our polling place is in our neighborhood public school, which is predominantly Latino. School was starting as I cast my ballot, and over the PA system, two kindergartners from the bilingual program led the school in singing the national anthem. Then the assistant principal, Mrs. Trinidad Lopez, read the morning announcements. Friday is Pajama Day. Monday, the classroom with the best attendance for this week will be announced. I always feel very American when I vote. This time, I felt especially so. [click to continue…]



We’ve shared an impressive number of duck recipes here at Blue Kitchen. This one, a quick take on cassoulet inspired by a lovely meal at Clyde Commons in Portland, Oregon remains one of our favorites.

Duck Breasts with White Beans and Sausage

French cooking is usually thought of as elegant and refined. And indeed, it’s no accident that the term that defines high-end dining, haute cuisine, is French. But fancy isn’t all they do. When it comes to comfort food, few can outcomfort the French. Hanger steaks with frites, coq au vin, gratins filled with cream and covered in cheese… [Read more here…]



Lentils cook up faster than most other dried beans and pulses, usually in 30 minutes or so without soaking. No wonder they’re favored by so many cultures. Here are four flavorful ways to use them.

Turkish Style Red Lentil Soup with Chard

We’re quickly becoming regulars at the recently reopened Johnny’s Grill in our Logan Square neighborhood. Besides great cocktails and elevated takes on standard diner fare, Johnny’s new chef/owner Sarah Jordan offers delicious surprises like an excellent fish & chips and a fragrant red lentil dal. The latter, a staple of Indian subcontinent cuisine, inspired this post. [click to continue…]



Winter is getting ready to prove to Chicago—and the upper Midwest—that it isn’t done with us yet. This oven-braised Miso Pork Shoulder first appeared on Blue Kitchen in November 2012, and it’s the perfect antidote for the coming snowy cold. Recipe below.

Miso Braised Pork Shoulder

What’s the traditional sixth anniversary gift? If it’s a food blog anniversary, I’m going with pork. Yes, Blue Kitchen is six years old this month. A lot has changed for me foodwise in that time. For one thing, I feel like I know more about food than when I started—including how ungodly much I don’t know and will never know. But some things have remained the same, like my willingness to borrow ingredients from the global pantry and use them authentically or otherwise. This week, that ingredient is miso paste. [Read more here…]



A relentlessly busy schedule these days has us raiding the Blue Kitchen archives again, this time for New Orleans-style comfort food with a kick: Spicy Shrimp with Tomatoes and Cheddar Grits. Recipe below.

Spicy Shrimp with Tomatoes and Cheddar Grits

New Orleans is one of our favorite cities for food. Everything tastes of history, blended cultures and spices. Lots of spices. Some of them hot, of course, but more often just big flavored. And from the diviest dives to the fanciest white tablecloth spots, you have to work hard to find a bad meal.[Read more here…]