It’s meatball Tuesday around here for lunch today. We made them tender, with ground lamb and beef, basmati rice, cream, grated onion, toasted ground cumin, and served them in a delicate tomato sauce. Our “spaghetti” to serve with, was blanched ribbons of zucchini tossed with olive oil s & p.

 

Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Monkey. We stir-fried up a little holiday lunch for ourselves: chicken with mustard greens and Malabar spinach, eggplant with scallions and long beans, and of course, rice. It seemed like the auspicious thing to do. As they are saying in Hong Kong today, Gung Hay Fat Choy, dear friends.

 

We can’t understand when people turn their delicate noses up at leftovers. Today lunch is pequillo peppers filled with roasted tomato risotto—a marriage (made in heaven) of the remnants of two separate dinners. It was meant to be, and now we’ll make it again. Do you have a favorite recipe that started off as the remains of another meal? Then please share it, dear friends.

 

We bought a big chuck roast, divided one half of it between the two of us to make simple steak-and-potatoes dinners for our families, the other half we used to make beef stew for today’s lunch. Browned cubes of chuck, sautéed onions and garlic, red wine, and beef broth slowly simmered in a covered Le Creuset pot in a 325° oven until the meat was tender. We enriched the sauce with flour and butter to give it body and shine, and yes, more flavor. Lacking carrots, peas, or egg noodles, we boiled a couple of potatoes to serve with the stew. So it was back-to-back beef-and-potatoes, but the meals couldn’t have tasted more different. And we love the economy of one steak feeds four one night and two for lunch the next day.

 

A Canal House friend had half a leg o’ lamb left over from a special dinner that he cooked. Nothing else to do, he thought, but make a shepherd’s pie. Out came his trusty meat grinder. He ground up the garlic and rosemary-studded lamb, stirred in sautéed onions and carrots, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper, then spooned it into a baking dish. Next, he whipped up a pot of mashed potatoes enriched with butter and an egg yolk that he smoothed over the meat. Into the oven it went until it was golden. Lucky us, he shared his delicious leftovers for lunch today. Being/knowing a shepherd has its perks.

 

 

To weather this weekend’s weather, we made a big pot of chili with pork and beef, and dried currants to add a little depth and sweetness. And we also made a pot of pink beans. Outside we’d all go, to shovel and shovel, inside we’d come and inhale another bowl of this fiery stew. We finished the last bowls today at the studio for lunch, stretching it with scoops of white rice which softened the chili’s heat. Winter has arrived.

 

So here we sit in our cozy studio, our Washington, D.C. plans postponed until next weekend (God willing). Being weather obsessed, we keep checking our Dark Sky weather apps to see if there are any new snow updates. But when we weren’t doing that, we made a big pot of carrot soup—carrots, onions, a potato, lemon zest, chicken stock, and salt and pepper—for lunch and to take home for the weekend. This thick, slightly sweet, lemony soup with a plop of cold sour cream, lots of chopped scallions, and a little more lemon zest was the perfect meal for the day. Now we are off with Henry the studio dog for a walk on the towpath. Stay warm and remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

Jamison Farm—whose lamb is served in all the very best places—sent us some of their delicious Eliza’s lamb merguez sausages for our Washington, D.C.  Sips and Suppers benefit dinner. We roasted a beautiful coil along with half a russet potato, then finished it with eggs basted in the pan juices.

 

Three chopped leeks sautéed in olive oil were the “sauce” for today’s lunch of chicken paillards, beluga lentils, and basmati rice. Even though we used three pans, everything cooked in about 20 minutes. We’ve been trying to follow the old adage: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Today we achieved our goal and feel mighty princely.

 

It’s stone soup for lunch today. Between the two of us we brought a chicken thigh, a few little sausages, and a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves (all leftovers from our weekend cooking) to the studio. We found a can of chickpeas hiding on the top shelf of our pantry and a quart of rich meat broth in the back of the freezer. So it was decided—hot soup for a cold day. It really hit the spot and turned out greater than the sum of its parts.

 

After a week of eating with abandon, today we are restricting ourselves to bubbly water. Let’s see how long this lasts! Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

We like to cook our paellas in a huge pan outside over an open fire using hardwood lump charcoal, and, when our woodpile is abundant, some fruit wood. Together, they give the paella an irresistible smoky flavor. But, it’s far too freezing cold outside for that whole rigamarole, so we made one for lunch today in one of our smaller pans on top of the stove. And there’s nothing not to like about this “diminutive” paella: duck confit, turnips, fire roasted red peppers, soffrito and saffron (of course),  garnished with chopped parsley and lemon zest. Right after lunch it will be time for our siestas.

 

We didn’t feel guilty one bit this morning when we cranked up the oven temperature to 500° for today’s lunch—it took the chill out of the air faster than our temperamental studio thermostat. By noon we were feasting on braised escarole and sliced garlic pizza with prosciutto, burrata, crushed red pepper flakes, and good olive oil. We practiced our broom skills after lunch (we once wrote that we would sweep Thomas Keller’s floor anytime). Perhaps we’ll apply for positions at Per Se, seems like they could use a little help.

 

It’s a warm Spanish potato omelette for lunch today on this chilly January day. Olé!

 

We are cooking a benefit dinner on January 24th for Sips & Suppers (along with 75 chefs cooking other dinners) in Washington DC, so we are testing out some dishes we want to serve. It just so happened that a dear friend came by today and dropped off a New Year’s present for us—a Blending Station Advance On-Counter Vita Mix. Phew! We don’t even have a microwave. So we whirled (and we mean whirled and twirled) up some hummus. MH manned the machine and when she hit a button the whole thing sounded like Apollo 12 and almost took off. CH, scaredy-cat, ran across the room to a far corner. But after 30 seconds the hummus was as smooth as silk. We topped it with ground lamb and onions perfumed with cinnamon, and pine nuts, then drizzled on some olive oil. We thank our friend for this newfangled contraption. It works real good.

 

We have somehow managed to stay in the good graces of the Orr family, long-distance friends from California who have kept us on their “avocado dividend” receiving list for the past year and a half. Amazingly, a USPS box will arrive, unannounced, filled with Hass avocados picked from their own small grove (that’s California living!). Our most recent “dividend” arrived shortly before Christmas. We’ve been judiciously enjoying them ever since. Today, sigh, we ate the very last one. So perfectly ripe and rich, it mashed on our homemade sourdough toast like thick soft butter. We drizzled a little California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil on top (to gild the lily), and added s & p. We are grateful for such a delicious pleasure.

 

On New Year’s Day, just before the mercury plunged to the low teens, our forager pal Tama Matsuoka gifted us a box full of local wild oyster mushrooms she had collected that afternoon. We held off eating them until today, our first day together back in the studio in this shiny new year. We cooked them dead simple—sautéed  in olive oil and seasoned with course salt and pepper—then ate them with rustic homemade sourdough toast. Earthy and earthy, add up to divine. Happy New Year, dear friends.

 

 

Life is a magical mystery. Walk forward down the path out of this year into the next. Happiest of holidays to all of you, dear friends.

 

Niloufer’s Kheema (with the addition of potato cubes and garbanzo beans) for dinner last night. Can’t get enough of those flavors. This morning we found little jewel yams in the market. After roasting, we split the yams open, filled them with the warmed spicy leftovers, and scattered some cilantro leaves for color and flavor.

Do as we are doing, learn from Niloufer Ichaporia King’s My Bombay Kitchen: Modern and Traditional Parsi Cooking (University of California Press, 2007).  And don’t forget Canal House Cooking, Volumes N°s 1–8. All great holiday presents!

 

 

Good ideas are always right in front of your nose, and in this case a very fine one really was. We had decided to give our Yorkshire pudding a little run through since we are both planning on serving it with big bodacious prime ribs of beef for the upcoming holidays. We cooked some thick-cut bacon in our big roasting pan for the required “drippings”, removed the crisp strips, then poured the batter into the hot pan. The pudding rose and fell beautifully, and turned a golden brown. As we cut it into 8 generous pieces, the bacon’s heavenly aroma wafted over our way. Aha! So we wrapped the warm crisp-soft slices around strips of meaty bacon. Best things we have eaten since yesterday’s latkes.

 

 

Latkes with sour cream for lunch today to celebrate day two of the festival of lights, Hanukkah. Like the title of  the 1965 comedy album of Bob Booker & George Foster, ”You Don’t have To Be Jewish” to love these crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-tender-on-the-inside potato pancakes. Happy Hanukkah—Mzl Hanukka!

 

We had a little smoked whitefish left from a lunch earlier in the week. So prudence prevailed and we made a smoky fish and potato chowder. We took our bowls outside and sat on a stone wall in the mild air and warm sun. Nothing to complain about, everything to be grateful for. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

The other day we cooked a pot of cannellini beans from Iacopi Farms in Half Moon Bay, CA. and have been enjoying every spoonful. Our neighbor dropped off a bag of sprightly arugula that is still growing in his garden (and we rustled up some chives). It wasn’t hard to know what to do: warm the beans, wash the greens, drizzle with good olive, and season with salt and pepper. This is our kind of health food.

 

We went shopping last night to restock the fridge and came upon this big beauty–a whole smoked white fish. It should last us a good little while. So for today’s lunch, we’re having it on buttered toast with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon and cracked black pepper (no salt necessary, the fish is salty enough). Maybe tomorrow we’ll make a simple chowder with some of it.

 

Pants won’t button, blouses straining at the seams, it’s time to push away from the table. Right after our lunch— temperate bowls of rich turkey broth with cannellini beans garnished with dill and chives. Maybe the broth is so darn good because we threw a lamb bone into the pot. We have eaten the turkey beak to tail feather, everything save the gobble.

 

We hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving. We feasted on turkey sandwiches all weekend long. Heaven. The turkey carcasses gave up everything they had left to make good rich stock and now quarts of it are stacked in the freezer. The mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce? All gone. We stashed away the end of a slab of gravlax for today’s lunch. (We’ll make more in December—it’s just the thing to have on hand for easy entertaining as the holiday season ramps up.) So we’re feasting on the last of it, thinly sliced and draped on Ryvita crackers slathered with a mustard butter and garnished with chopped fresh chives and dill. Hot boiled new potatoes and a salad of tender Bibb lettuce round out our light meal. Enough already with the turkey—for now.

 

Early this morning we picked up our turkeys from the local farm market and finished our Thanksgiving grocery shopping. Tonight we’ll brine our birds and make our pie doughs—we’ll be halfway there. We have been on a jag cooking through Niloufer Ichaporia King’s My Bombay Kitchen (UC Press, 2007). She is “teaching” us about spices. So even though we are about to face never-ending turkey time, we roasted a chicken rubbed with Parsi garam masala and ate it with a little Fresh Turmeric and Ginger Pickle, all thanks to our muse Niloufer.

If you still need a few Thanksgiving menu ideas, click on our link: Life At Canal House

 

 

We started shopping for Thanksgiving today—got lots of celery for making turkey stock and stuffing, Picking up our turkeys tomorrow. We grabbed a little ribeye steak for lunch and chopped-up some of that celery, a few anchovies, a clove of garlic, and a generous slab of blue cheese into a crunchy big-flavored salad. In the spirit of the holiday we’d like to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you. Click this link Life At Canal House if you still need a few menu ideas. P.S. The persimmons are still not quite ripe! Maybe a persimmon pudding on Thursday.

 

The market had thick-cut Berkshire pork chops with a snow white layer of fat surrounding the rosy meat. We couldn’t resist, so we bought one—more than enough for the three of us (counting Henry, the studio dog). There already were some Brussels sprouts in our fridge’s vegetable crisper, big ones, so we plucked off the outer leaves and halved the tight interiors. It was a one skillet lunch—the chop browned, as the confetti of Brussels sprouts, sliced garlic, a handful of currants, and some crushed red pepper flakes sautéed in its rendered fat. It was a perfect combination of flavors and sensations: pork, fat, sweet, heat, and salt. Check back with us next week when we’ll be sharing all our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. And remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

On our morning forage, our little supermarket offered up a good looking bunch of bok choy and some shiitakes, so it was a stir-fry for lunch today. We sliced a half chicken breast, half a smoked pork chop, some scallions, the stems and leaves of the bok choy, and the mushrooms. We made a pot of rice and stir-fried everything, adding a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of Shaoxing wine at the end. We scattered fresh cilantro leaves on top and pulled out the old chopsticks. The persimmons are too beautiful to eat, so we feast on them with our orbs.