Cookina reusable, nonstick cooking sheets make grilling, cooking and cleanup simple.

Reusable Non-stick Grilling Sheet

Some things are just made for grilling. Chops, steaks, slabs of eggplant. In my experience, though, fish is not. No matter how carefully I scrub the grate on my charcoal kettle or how much I oil it (and the fish itself), the delicate flesh of even comparatively sturdy fish such as salmon often sticks. So I was delighted to be introduced to Cookina reusable nonstick cooking and grilling sheets at the International Home + Housewares Show this spring. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 5 comments }

Technical-Difficulties

No technical difficulties. Life is just being a little too interesting right now to put together a post. Everybody’s okay, but there is just way too much going on. I won’t bore you with details or excuses (and I think any litany of excuses should be required by law to end with “and the sun was in my eyes”). I’ll just say come back next week for a fresh recipe.

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 4 comments }

What we eat doesn’t just affect our health—it affects the health of the planet. Two recent articles highlight serious food production problems and possible solutions.

Albertus_Verhoesen_Chickens_and_park_vase

Want to help improve the planet’s health? Eat less beef and more chicken. That’s the assessment of James Hamblin’s most recent piece for The Atlantic, “Meats: A Health Hierarchy.” He backs it up with some powerful numbers, like the fact that farming cattle produces about four times as much greenhouse gas as does poultry or fish. To explain the impact of this much greenhouse gas, Hamblin quotes Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group: “If every American stopped eating beef tomorrow and started eating chicken instead—which I don’t expect—that would be the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road.” [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 2 comments }

Recipes for a delicious 4th of July

by Terry B on July 2, 2014

Looking for recipe ideas for your July 4th celebration? Here are a number of our favorites from the Blue Kitchen archives.

Grilled Asian Flank Steak

July 4th is at the apex of grilling season in the United States. It’s practically written into our constitution that every household shall cook out of doors on this day. So I’m going to start this post with ideas for the meal’s centerpiece. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 3 comments }

Peugeot Paris Pepper MillAn ingredient that appears in more recipes than not here at Blue Kitchen is freshly ground black pepper. Why freshly ground? Whole peppercorns ground in a pepper mill deliver much more flavor than the pre-ground stuff in tins. When I grind pepper over a pan of simmering food on the stove, the fragrance rises up to meet me, much the same effect of adding any spice to a pan.

Grinding your own pepper also allows you to control its coarseness or fineness, from crushed for steaks and chops to finely ground for delicate sauces. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 7 comments }

A new cookbook shows how easy it is to turn your grill into a pizza oven. Grilling gives this Pizza with Red Sauce, Sausage and Arugula a crunchy crust and a nice, slightly smoky flavor. Recipe below.

Grilled Pizza With Red Sauce, Sausage and Arugula

With our friends Melody and Jeremy, we are about to embark on a study of home pizza making, which has been hampered only by my dislike of turning the oven on when the weather is hot. So it was fortuitous that the other day in the mail we received a review copy of a new cookbook, Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza & Flatbreads on the Grill. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 5 comments }

The simple pleasures of dining at the bar

by Terry B on June 22, 2014

For attentive service with a side of good dinner conversation, try snagging a seat at the restaurant’s bar.

Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar, Chicago

Friday was our wedding anniversary. When our dinner plans suddenly fell through, we happened to be near Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar. We were offered a perfectly lovely table or seats at the bar. We chose the bar.

Just to clarify, I’m not talking about eating bar snacks in a bar. No wings, jalapeño poppers or clever little sliders. That’s a different experience, fun in its own right, but here I mean dining at the bar in a place that serves a chef-driven menu. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 7 comments }

Mushrooms roasted a day ahead team up with caramelized onions, a green bell pepper roasted directly over a stove burner and saffron pasta for a delicious weeknight quick meal. Recipe below.

Saffron Pasta with Roasted Mushrooms

The calendar says it’s summer. But until just the other day, the thermometer said it was October. The winter that wouldn’t end has come to a grudging close—the ice on the Great Lakes finally vanished, just a few days ago.

What this has meant for us in the Midwest is enduring autumnal weather—cool nights and, in the daytime, half-hearted jabs toward hot. To be honest, I love it. I hate when the temperature soars! But this perpetual sweater weather definitely has its down side. My tomato plants (which have not been in the ground very long) are looking, frankly, puzzled. The basil is not much bigger than when I put it in the ground. And of course the ongoing cool is not great for the farmers and the crops. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 9 comments }

The FDA gives cheesemakers a real food scare

by Terry B on June 15, 2014

cheese aging on wooden shelves, Jeanne Carpenter

It’s been a wild ride the last couple of weeks for cheese lovers and artisan cheese producers. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration appeared to signal that it would ban the aging of cheese on wooden boards in the United States. Doing so would effectively end most small batch (and even good-sized batch) independent production of artisan cheeses in America. By extension, it would also end the import of many European cheeses, most of which are aged on wood—including Parmigiano-Reggiano. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 7 comments }

Canned black beans cooked with onion, red bell pepper, garlic and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce make a smoky, spicy, show-stealing side for pork chops, chicken and fish—or a vegetarian meal with tofu. Recipe and variations below.

Pork Chop and Chipotle Black Beans

There is something almost primeval about combining food and smoke. Cooking with fire and its attendant smoke links us to our earliest ancestors. Indeed to all our ancestors before the invention of gas and, later, electric stoves. Smoke is why we love hot dogs charred on sticks over campfires. And why, when grilling season rolls around, some of us refuse to cook indoors again until the first snowfall.

But there are simple ways to add the taste of smoke to foods without firing up the grill, some as close as the supermarket shelves. One of our favorites is canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. [click to continue…]

PinterestFacebookTwitterShare

{ 8 comments }