With only four ingredients—spaghetti, Pecorino Romano, salt and black pepper—this rustic Roman favorite is enjoying a moment. Recipe below.
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…]
Oscar Wilde said, “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” We agree.
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…]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…]
Inspired by the “fowl-mouthed” celebrity chef, this lively, weeknight-quick dish from the Blue Kitchen archives first appeared in February 2009. Recipe below.
When children are very young, their first experiences of playing with other children are actually playing next to other children. They don’t truly interact with one another, but for them, playing side-by-side is the beginning of their social lives. There’s a school of thought in cooking that mirrors this experience, the idea that putting ingredients next to one another actually achieves some meaningful interaction among them.
You know what I mean—recipes that include instructions like “lay sprigs of rosemary around the roast” or “place a whole peeled apple in the chicken cavity”… Or my favorite, recipes that instruct you to rub lamb chops, steaks, slices of baguette or anything with a cut clove of garlic. In my experience, this technique is a perfect way to waste a clove of garlic and five or so minutes of your life. It adds nothing to the flavor of anything, so far as I can tell. Ingredients have to fully commit to a dish and mix it up with the others to have an impact on the final taste.[Read more here…]
This six-ingredient egg drop soup is as impressively restaurant-authentic as it is quick and easy to make. Recipe below.
The line between home cooking and restaurant cooking can get blurry at times. There’s a whole subset of restaurants that tries to serve—or at least convince us they’re serving—homestyle cooking. And in kitchens around the world, home cooks obsess over recreating chef-driven restaurant meals. But there’s another style of restaurant cooking that’s often overlooked at home, not complex or seasonal or locally sourced. Just humble fare, but soul-satisfyingly comforting. This is one of those recipes. [click to continue…]
Seasonably frigid temperatures inspired Marion to remake this delicious, hearty pasta dish from the Blue Kitchen archives. It originally appeared in unseasonably cold May 2011.
It is flat-out refusing to stay warm here. We have these occasional days that are, frankly, just hot, where after days of unseasonable cold it suddenly, spitefully, turns 85 for like one day. The warm weather comes on too abruptly to be any fun at all. We are inevitably at the office wearing too much, too thick clothing. We get home and the apartment is stuffy and hot. The cats stagger around, collapsing randomly here and there and glaring at us: I can go no farther—you did this to me. Then within a few hours huge storms wash through and the weather turns crazy cold again and just. stays. that. way. Tomato planting? Forget it.[Read more here…]