Five burgers, no beef

by Terry B on August 9, 2017

Lamb and turkey stand in for ground beef in these five burger recipes.

Lamb Burger

I’ve been thinking about burgers lately. Big, juicy, beefy burgers. So imagine my surprise when I dug through the Blue Kitchen archives and didn’t find a single beef hamburger. But I did find these lamb and turkey burgers, and I remember every one of them fondly. [click to continue…]



Arroz verde peruano: Peruvian Green Rice

by Terry B on August 2, 2017

A traditional Peruvian dish, green rice gets its green from cilantro and its plentiful flavor from onions, carrots, peas, garlic, cumin and chicken stock. Recipe below.

Peruvian Green Rice

Since moving into our new old house a little over a year ago, we often talk here about how much we love our neighborhood, Pilsen. And we do. But Marion and I also both fell hard for our first Chicago neighborhood, now called Lakeview, but back then, New Town (and less officially but more permanently, Boystown). So we’re always up for an excuse to visit our old nabe. This time, our excuse was a new fast casual Peruvian chicken restaurant, Chopo Chicken. [click to continue…]



Our take on a traditional dim sum favorite, eggplant stuffed with a shrimp/pork mixture, sautéed and steamed. Recipe below.

Dim Sum Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp

For quite a few years, one of our most beloved dim sum dishes was the eggplant stuffed with shrimp prepared at Hong Minh on Cermak in Chicago’s Chinatown. It was light and luscious and suave, and we were crazy about it. [click to continue…]



Leave it to the French to tame the sharp bite of vinegar with lots of butter, shallots, garlic and tarragon in this classic Lyonnaise dish. Recipe below.

Braised Chicken with Vinger and Shallots

Chicken. In vinegar sauce. After me somehow never hearing of this ever, suddenly it was everywhere. Within the span of the past two weeks, three very different recipes popped up on my radar from three very different sources. A little digging turned up more. And despite my ignorance of it, chicken in a vinegar sauce wasn’t some new chef-driven trend. It was rooted firmly in “my grandmother used to make this” and “based on a traditional Lyonnaise dish” territory. [click to continue…]



Five ingredients—gin, fresh sage, simple syrup, and grapefruit and lemon juices—create an herbaceous, summery cocktail. Recipe below.

Gin Sage Cocktail

We’ve lived in our new old house for a little more than a year now. The biggest transformation since we’ve moved in has been the garden. During the gut rehab of the house, the backyard was buried under demolition rubble three separate times. Even though our contractor’s team ostensibly cleaned up after the project, the first step of creating a garden involved removing a stunning amount of glass shards, broken bricks, nails, gravel and other debris—at least partly done by digging away the top several inches of the yard and throwing it out. [click to continue…]



Classic American Potato Salad

With summer in full swing, potato salads are showing up at picnics, family barbecues—anywhere people get together and eat. Here are six potato salad recipes to get you through the season, from the traditional classic to the decidedly non-traditional. [click to continue…]



Changing up chicken: Tomatillo-braised Thighs

by Terry B on June 28, 2017

A make-ahead tomatillo sauce with cilantro, garlic, jalapeño peppers and lime juice livens up this weeknight-quick chicken dish. Recipe below.

Tomatillo-braised Chicken Thighs

We’re big fans of chicken, especially thighs. They’re flavorful, juicy and relatively inexpensive. But it’s easy to fall into comfortable cooking ruts with them. “Shall I do my chicken and wine again tonight?” “Should we just roast them?” Or now, with summer here, “How about I fire up the grill?” All good choices, to be sure, but sometimes you need a change. And that’s where this tomatillo sauce with black beans and corn comes in. [click to continue…]


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Garnet and Smoke: a mezcal hibiscus cocktail

by Terry B on June 21, 2017

Smoky mezcal and tea brewed from dried hibiscus blossoms star in this refreshing, herbaceous cocktail, which also features cilantro, lime juice, simple syrup and club soda. Recipe below.

Mezcal Hibiscus Cocktail

In our ongoing, varied adventures in cocktail-land, we sometimes play bartender challenge. In the right bar, on a slow night, we’ll specify a particular spirit, describe a flavor profile—citrusy, summery, fresh, for instance—and ask the bartender to create something. Almost always, he or she rises happily to the occasion and we end up with something wonderful, full of layers and subtleties. [click to continue…]



Six pasta recipes and a bonus

by Terry B on June 14, 2017

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts, Sausage and Olives

We love pasta. A lot. Just check the pasta section of the Blue Kitchen archives, and you’ll find pages and pages of listings. That’s what we did to compile this varied list of six pasta recipes—and a bonus seventh post at the end. [click to continue…]



Made with ground turkey, feta and dried herbs, these pan-cooked burgers are so flavorful, they don’t need condiments. Recipe below.

Turkey Feta Burgers

I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago in the middle of a complicated family project that had me working very long hours with not much time to do things like eat. It was exhausting. Then one day I was in the grocery store and saw some ground turkey, of all things, and thought animal protein, and then it had somehow leaped into my cart and the must eat animal protein trance was falling over me and then I was home, rummaging around in the fridge, hunting for saute pans in a frenzy, and next thing I knew, I was putting these burgers on plates, and thinking how handsome they looked and, in the moments before they vanished, how good they smelled. The whole thing was amazing. [click to continue…]