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…]



A variety of Chinese and not-so-Chinese ingredients create a flavorful marinade for oven-baked pork ribs that aren’t ribs at all. Recipe below.

Chinese Oven-baked Pork Ribs

Call it clever butchering, call it genius marketing, call it both. In the 1960s, Clifford G. Bowes took a section of pork that was hard to sell, cut it into meaty/fatty riblike slabs and dubbed it country-style ribs. Bowes, “one of the country’s top meat men and a meat consultant from Chicago,” according to a Chicago Tribune article from 1978, had hit a meat home run. Soon, butchers were using pork shoulder and the blade just behind the shoulder to keep up with the demand for country-style “ribs”—which are actually not ribs at all. [click to continue…]



Appreciating an icon: Pimento Cheese

by Marion on May 24, 2017

Pimento cheese, a versatile, easy-to-make appetizer/spread/sandwich filling/burger topping/etcetera, is rightly enjoying a moment. One taste and you’ll see why. Recipe below.

Pimento Cheese

People talk about pimento cheese like it’s always been around—as if it’s been a fixture of Southern life since time immemorial. Not so. The “caviar of the South” actually originated in New York state around 1910. [click to continue…]



Savory, crunchy and often spicy, kimchi—fermented vegetables (most often Napa cabbage)—is the Korean national dish. Here are four recipes for cooking with it.

Kimchi Soup with Pork Belly and Tofu

Last week’s recipe for Dak Kalbi, Korean barbecued chicken, has had us thinking about kimchi all week. Sadly, we don’t have any in the fridge right now. But when we do, here are some ways we cook with it. [click to continue…]


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Dak Kalbi: Korean for Barbecued Chicken

by Terry B on May 10, 2017

Chicken thighs are marinated with soy sauce, mirin, fresh ginger, garlic, kiwi and other flavorings, then pan roasted for this take on Dak Kalbi, Korean barbecued chicken. recipe below.

Pan Roasted Kalbi Chicken Thighs

Tacos just always seem to lead to good things. This weekend, we had an uncharacteristically lazy Sunday, running a few errands and doing some shopping along Michigan Avenue. When we finished, I remarked that we were close to Del Seoul, the Korean taco joint in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Well, three miles as the Camry flies, close enough. As always, we had a wonderful lunch there. And I found the inspiration for this week’s recipe. [click to continue…]



The classic whiskey sour cocktail has many variations. This one includes an egg white for a frothy head and a velvety mouthfeel. Recipe below.

Whisky Sour with an Egg White

For a couple of wine lovers, Marion and I have been totally smitten by the craft cocktail scene that, happily, just doesn’t seem to quit. In countless bars and restaurants, we’ve puzzled over cryptic descriptions of inventively named drinks with housemade bitters, small batch spirits and surprising botanicals; challenged willing bartenders to create something using a particular liquor and hitting vaguely described flavor notes; and enjoyed the theatrics of the process—at Curio in Columbus, Ohio, a bartender flexed an orange peel and ignited the oil spraying from the skin. But old school drinks persist for a reason: sometimes you just want a drink. Not a shot and a beer, but something classic without being overthought—something a good bartender makes from muscle memory. [click to continue…]



Slender, fresh asparagus teams up with lemon, bacon and Parmesan for a bold pasta dish that tastes like spring. Recipe below.


I always love when those first bunches of tender, slender asparagus show up in markets and grocery stores. For me, this first asparagus tastes like spring. I always overbuy and overindulge, because I know all too soon, the brawnier, cigar-thick, woody stalks will take its place. I overbought last weekend at Detroit’s Eastern Market, getting two big, beautiful bunches. Also overbought on lemons, from the same enterprising vendor. From there, this recipe practically wrote itself. [click to continue…]



Lamb is versatile, delicious and easy to cook. These six recipes showcase that versatility.

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Lemon Caper Sage Butter

According to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Ours turns to thoughts of lamb. To be fair, Marion and I pretty much fancy lamb year-round, but spring tends to be when many others think about cooking and eating this most delectable of red meats. If your thoughts are turning to lamb, here are some ideas for traditional and unexpected ways to cook it. [click to continue…]