This braised chicken dish combines prunes, onions, sage, bay leaf, garlic, apple juice and a little sherry vinegar for a delicious weeknight-quick meal. Recipe below.
Summer’s bounty has disappeared from produce shelves. Berries, apricots, peaches and plums have been supplanted by a sea of apples, pears and more apples. But in another section of the store, you’ll find many of your summer favorites in a long-lasting, shelf stable form: dried. When dried, apricots, grapes, plums and more provide chewy, flavor-intense snacks to be enjoyed as is. Add them to a savory braise, though, and they achieve a whole new level. They plump up and soften. Flavors mellow and blend. [click to continue…]
This simple Banana Pecan Bread is perfect for baking—and sharing—on a chilly fall weekend. Recipe below.
This bread wasn’t meant to be featured here. We just had some bananas on their way to becoming a science experiment. I’d planned to make my Mango Banana Bread, but balked at spending $1.99 for a mango at the supermarket. At the Mexican produce market in our neighborhood, where we usually find better prices, they’re currently $2.49! So I decided a simple banana bread with pecans would be good. And that got me thinking how good is somehow not good enough these days. [click to continue…]
One-pan simple and weeknight-quick, pork chops are browned, then finished in a braise of mushrooms, spinach, onion, tarragon, garlic and lemon juice. Recipe below.
We’ve been eating a lot of spinach lately. Sometimes in salads, but mostly quickly sautéed until just wilted with butter, olive oil, garlic and salt. Maybe a grind of pepper, if we remember. Eating spinach this way makes me sad that I spent my whole childhood hating it. So when I found myself with spinach, mushrooms and pork chops the other day, I thought they needed to get cooked together. [click to continue…]
We’re big fans of wet food, especially when cool weather settles in for the season. Sauces and broths add warmth and comfort to any meal. Here are six soups, stews and other wet food favorites from the Blue Kitchen archives. [click to continue…]
This hearty chowder, chock full of potatoes, corn, fish and bacon, gets a sweet note when corn stock stands in for fish stock. Recipes below.
In another life, I spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia, and various chowders were a happily regular part of my days. They would be based on whatever fish came in on the boats in the morning (often cod, hake or haddock) or whatever clams I dug, or even at particularly lavish moments, one or two lobsters. A fish stock made from the trimmings was usually the base. Everything would be completed with beautiful fresh local milk and butter. [click to continue…]
Bacon, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, garlic and lemon juice and zest combine with chicken drumsticks and thighs in this big-flavored braise. Recipe below.
We turned on the heat for the first time this fall a few days ago. It’s been unseasonably cool lately in Chicago, and that has prompted complaints from some. Not from me. This is cooking weather for me—not just because it’s cooler in the kitchen, but because we can finally turn away from light summer fare and get back to the good stuff. Roasts. Stews. And robust braises like this one. [click to continue…]
Peach Habanero Tarragon Butter adds a lively kick to toasts with goat cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, plain Greek yogurt and more. Recipe below.
I remember being suspicious of apple butter as a kid. We were mostly a margarine family, but I still wondered how you could call something butter if it had no butter in it. And yes, I ate peanut butter pretty much every day, but that was different. [click to continue…]
Chicken is basted with butter, lemon juice and fresh sage, then cooked using both direct and indirect grilling. Recipe below.
I often say I would be a lousy farmer. And by that, I specifically mean that if I had to grow my own food, I would starve to death. Not so, Marion. Over the years, she has grown many of the foods we’ve eaten—and the flowers that have dressed the dinner table—usually in the confines of a smallish backyard. This year, though, her efforts were limited to a number of herbs, several varieties of tomatoes and some habanero peppers. So when we sat down with our guests on Labor Day, we were surprised to see just how much of our dinner had come from our backyard. [click to continue…]
Cauliflower is sautéed with pistachios, ham, sage and pears, then topped with a fried egg for dinner. Add or subtract various ingredients and you’ve got a side, a vegan meal or a pasta dish. Recipe below.
I’ve been kind of out of it for a bit now. Up until two hours ago, I hadn’t eaten anything for two days, and the only thing I’d had to drink was water and ginger ale. All in all I have been one pathetic feeble mess. Then an hour ago, our daughter Laurel came home and asked how I was feeling. “Actually,” I said, “I’m feeling hungry.” “Great!” she said. “I recommend a pear.” [click to continue…]
Tomatoes and basil from the garden (or the farmers market) combine with ricotta cheese and linguine for a quick, creamy vegetarian dinner. Recipe below.
It’s August, and that can only mean one thing. Food websites and blogs everywhere are telling you how to use up all the tomatoes that are filling your garden, CSA box or farmers market. Sounds good to me. Here’s a quick, simple pasta dish that will also help you use up some of your excess fresh basil. [click to continue…]