This hearty pasta dinner layers flavors of Italian sausage, onion, fennel bulb, crushed red pepper, tomato and Parmesan deliciously. Adapted from Lidia’s Favorite Recipes. And we’re giving away a copy of the book here. Recipe and details below.
When does Lidia Matticchio Bastianich sleep? The star of PBS’s popular Lidia’s Italy, she is also chef/owner of restaurants in New York, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. She’s a partner (with son Joe, Mario Batali and Oscar Farinetti) in New York’s wildly successful Eataly. She and son Joe have a winery in Italy. Lidia and her daughter Tanya design a line of cookware (they’ve also launched a line of pastas and sauces). Oh. And in her spare time, she writes cookbooks.
Her most recent is Lidia’s Favorite Recipes: 100 Foolproof Italian Dishes, from Basic Sauces to Irresistible Entrees, published just last month. She calls it her “most accessible cookbook to date, a gathering of recipes that have become her go-to meals for her very own family.” These are not the deconstructed or re-imagined recipes you’ll find in some chefs’ cookbooks (not that there’s anything wrong with that approach). The recipes here reflect yet another of Lidia’s roles, one she takes great pride in—that of Italian grandmother or nonna. [click to continue…]
Adapted from a recipe in Todd-Michael St. Pierre’s Taste of Tremé, this dish combines seafood, peppers and Creole seasonings on a bed of creamy grits—comfort food with a kick, quintessentially New Orleans. 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.
It’s been too long since we’ve been back to New Orleans. Fortunately, Taste of Tremé: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’ Famous Neighborhood of Jazz, delivers. Published just last month, it is stuffed with doable recipes, from breakfast right on through to dinner, dessert and cocktails. [click to continue…]
Japanese miso paste adds a satisfying umami note to chunky pieces of pork and carrots braised with garlic, fresh ginger and onion. 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. [click to continue…]
Eggs baked with cream, tarragon and a compote of tomatoes, spinach and garlic are a simple vegetarian dish that feels luxurious and is infinitely tweakable. Recipe below.
Columbus, Ohio is a city that invites walking, from German Village up through downtown, Victorian Village, Short North, the University District and beyond. Which is fortunate, because it also encourages overindulgence at just about every turn. Inspired food options abound, from locavore breakfast spots to taco truck tours and the best small batch ice cream I’ve ever eaten.
I visited Columbus for the first time last fall on a press tour (you’ll find that story here), a guest of Experience Columbus, a non-profit organization that promotes the city as a travel destination. The tour was orchestrated by Weirick Communications, a Columbus-based tourism marketing firm. The city utterly charmed me, and not just because of the food. So a couple of weeks ago, Marion and I visited. It was her first time there, and she was as taken with the city as I was. [click to continue…]
Vosges Haut-Chocolat offers sophisticated spooky treats. And a couple of places to provide help to Hurricane Sandy victims—including pets and farm animals.
First, the sweet stuff. Halloween and Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations offer a perfect convergence of excuses for enjoying Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s trio of Skull Lollipops. The Barcelona Skull Lollipop features hickory smoked almonds, grey sea salt and 44% cacao deep milk chocolate. The Red Fire Skull Lollipop heats things up with Mexican ancho and chipotle chillies, Ceylon cinnamon and 55% cacao dark chocolate. The Leche Skull Lollipop combines pink Himalayan salt and 44% cacao deep milk chocolate. All are much too good to waste on kids. Find them at the Vosges Haut-Chocolat website. [click to continue…]
October is Fair Trade Month, reminding us that buying Fair Trade Certified foods improves the quality of life for farmers and their communities—and the quality of the imported foods we eat.
We were out of the kitchen last week on a food-focused road trip to Columbus, Ohio. Look for a new recipe next week—and a Columbus report soon.
Food is in an interesting place right now. Increasingly, we are urged to eat locally—and farmers markets, locavore chefs and even grocery stores are bringing us ways to do that. On the other hand, our palates have never been more global. Exotic spices, produce and pantry staples are transitioning from ethnic markets and gourmet shops to supermarket shelves. They’re doing so because we’re using them in our kitchens more and more. And then there are those staples so ingrained in our daily lives that we don’t often even think of them as imported—coffee, chocolate, bananas, tea… But how these foods are grown, harvested and processed has a major impact on lives around the world. And on the health of the planet. That’s where fair trade comes in. [click to continue…]
Ginger, garlic and chili paste flavor pork stir-fried with chestnuts and kale and served over gently fried soba noodles. Recipe below.
We’ve often talked about our love for Chinese food, which for us is the ultimate in comfort food. In the last year or so, our adventures have led us away from our friendly old favorites in the kitchen, but some recent enjoyable dinners in Chinatown, and a memory of past pleasures, put it front and center for us again.
This dish came together due to a fortuitous combination of impulse purchases, pantry staples and a memory of other Octobers. Please note that in this recipe, I am talking about true chestnuts, from chestnut trees—not water chestnuts, which are the corms of an aquatic sedge. Think walking down the rue de Rivoli, at just this time of year. It’s evening, there’s a bit of chill in the air, the street is thronged with people, and you are dawdling along in your light wool coat, glancing into the gleaming windows and the faces of strangers, holding a paper cone of hot, roasted chestnuts you just bought from a street vendor and wondering where you’ll go for dinner. [click to continue…]
New York City startup SideTour is all about trying something new and seeing the world through the eyes of others. And now it’s come to Chicago.
People are naturally curious creatures. Naturally social too. Put those two elements of human nature together and you’ve got the driving idea behind SideTour. Founded in New York in June 2011, SideTour is an online marketplace of “handpicked activities, tours and memorable things to do, all hosted by talented local people.”
Some of the events are food and drink related—creating a gluten-free meal with a holistic chef, dining with a banker-turned-monk in his East Village monastery and brewing your own pale ale with a craft beer expert, for instance. Others range from boxing with a world champ in a Brooklyn gym to visiting Hollywood’s secret (props) arms depot in SoHo and learning the art of disguise from a former CIA agent. [click to continue…]
Toasting uncooked pasta with olive oil in a skillet before adding liquid gives it a pleasingly nutty taste in this globe-trotting, Spanish-inspired dish with shrimp, red bell pepper and edamame. Recipe below.
One of the things I love about cooking is how recipes for the same essential dish can be so different. For fideos—short, thin noodles toasted and then cooked into Spanish (and Italian and Mexican) stews and soups, this is spectacularly so.
Fideos is actually the name of a specific type of thin noodle, most often short, slightly curved pieces. According to Joey Campanaro, chef/co-owner of The Little Owl in New York, fideos is the Catalan word for noodles, and many Spanish cooks use it instead of rice to make paella. Typically, English-language recipes call for using vermicelli, cappellini or spaghetti and breaking it into short pieces. [click to continue…]
Vosges Haut-Chocolat introduces three new flavors for fall. And Wine Enthusiast Magazine releases its Top 100 Best Buys for 2012.
Dessert with a capital D is only a sometime thing here at Blue Kitchen, but we do like to keep chocolate on hand. Just a square or two after dinner gives the meal a sweet finish without committing to a big, calorie-laden slice or scoop of anything. So when artisanal chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat invited us to join its VIP Blogger Program, we were more than happy to oblige.
A couple of perks of the program are preview announcements of new flavors and—more to the chocolate-loving point—occasional samples of those new flavors. Case in point are three new chocolate bars for fall. [click to continue…]