We are back from warm, sunny Los Angeles where we’ve been for the past two weeks shooting with Nancy Silverton and her dream team for her forthcoming cookbook Mozza at Home (Penguin, Spring 2016). We are easing our way back into the swing of things here at Canal House so it’s a late lunch of mussels and fennel salad and avocado with escarole and toast. Happy to be home.

 

It’s a springish lunch of potatoes and fresh peas (God knows where they are from!) with good Irish butter and chives snipped from the window box. Things keep getting better and better.

 

Busy day, rainy day, perfect day for a pimentón-rubbed roast chicken. Didn’t wait to cook carrots and mash a few potatoes to round out the meal, we each just chose our favorite piece and tucked in. One prefers a leg and thigh, the other goes for the breast—we have a perfect partnership.

 

More chickpeas for lunch today—hummus two ways. One is simple with minced preserved lemon and Aleppo pepper, the other topped with cauliflower in turmeric parsley sauce. We’ll wipe the dishes clean with warm pita. If you haven’t seen it already, take a peek at a bit of Roger Sherman’s  The Search for Israeli Cuisine  http://kck.st/1E5RqmP. It inspired our lunch today.


 

The day just slipped away from us. By 4:00 pm, we were starving to death, and realized we hadn’t eaten lunch. So we quickly stewed some chickpeas in a chunky tomato sauce, added a few glugs of really good extra-virgin olive oil, and a hard-boiled egg. What do you call a late lunch, linner?

 

We made a vat of Bolognese sauce to make several pans of lasagna for a beloved neighbor’s farewell dinner tomorrow night. Everyone is watching the weather; snow is expected so the guests may have to ski in! For today’s lunch we swirled long spirals of  fusilli col buco into a few stolen spoonfuls of the lusty sauce. Fat green beans in olive oil provided our daily dose of vitamins. This week Johann Sebastian Bach “is” three hundred and thirty years old and he is serenading us as we slurp.

 

 

It is a vegetarian-ish lunch today, a soup of potatoes and escarole cooked in yesterday’s flavorful corned-beef broth. Well, suppose that’s our version of vegetarian!

 

We cooked two corned-beef briskets today. One is for our traditional Saint Paddy’s Day dinner later this evening. The other one is for lunch—our favorite hash topped with a poached egg and lots of chives. The green beer is chilling on ice. Erin go bragh!

 

 

The weekend rains washed away much of the snow. We discovered that chives in our gardens are pushing their way up through the wet, muddy earth. There is hope that warm weather is just around the corner. But it is still raw outside. So lunch today is a big, meaty smoked ham hock and a mess of collards with really good olive oil and pepper—hopefully, the season of eating sturdy greens is coming to an end.

 

 

TGIF, as everyone says. We, on the other hand, are always a little sad to see our week end. We love our unconventional work—time just flies. We took a break around noon to have a lunch of roasted tomatoes and skirt steak. Think we’ll indulge in a couple of end-of-the-day sidecars at our favorite bar down the alley—why not? Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

All the ice, snow, and frozen ground is thawing. We splash through pools of water as we drive up and down the river roads. But there are still patches of ice that send the car sliding and remind us that we aren’t out of winter’s grasp just yet. But spring is in the air. And though the temperature doesn’t warrant a salad quite yet, we both ate every morsel of our quasi-Salades Niçoise.

 

 

Thank you San Francisco friends for the bag of  Iacopi Farms’ gigantes beans grown on the foggy coast south of the city in Half Moon Bay. We simmered the big (actually giant, as their name suggests) beauties until they were soft and creamy, then served them with braised broccoli rabe and sliced shallots. Olive oil seasoned with anchovies, garlic, and crushed red peppers flakes anointed our simple, satisfying lunch. Who needs meat.

 

It’s 50° today, so soon those first shoots of green will push through the thawing earth. But in the meantime, we’ll satisfy our taste with a salad of chopped crisp celery, salty anchovies, preserved lemons, and really good olive oil.

 

A package arrived from California this morning; guess what was in it? Our generous friends, Peggy Knickerbocker and Robert Fisher, filled a box with these grassy green spears of asparagus and shipped it to us. The West took pity on the East. We peeled them (not that they really needed it), plunged them into boiling water, anointed them with butter, then seasoned them with good salt and cracked black pepper. We are bending the seasonal eating rules today, after all, it’s spring somewhere!

 

We went hunting for some green vegetables at the market today, knowing full well it would be slim pickings. We’re so over the winter cabbages and root veggies by now. But lo and behold, we found a bin full of beautiful bright green, marble-sized Brussels sprouts that we just had to have. We roasted them alongside a plump chicken breast and with a little pan sauce and a handful of celery leaves to add a little more green to the plate, it was a pretty and most delicious lunch.

 

 

 

March is cooperating—behaving like the proverbial lion (we are hoping/praying that the lamb will follow suit). Snow and sleet the day before last. More of the same coming this afternoon. We’re craving the green of spring—isn’t everyone? We hear from the west that Californians are feasting on spring asparagus, lucky dogs. But we easterners must keep our spirits up with nourishing lunches like this cod and potato chowder with crisp cubes of pancetta and lots of fresh chives. Eat well, be happy!

 

Today’s lunch is a seared smoked pork chop on cabbage and raisins braised in dry vermouth—we’ll share.

 

The other day we made a big batch of Pork Stewed in Guajillo Chile Mole (Canal House Cooks Every Day, page 198). It has been sitting outside in the cold on the balcony. As with most long-cooked complex dishes, it just keeps getting better—richer and deeper as the days go by. Today, we fried yellow corn tortillas, then filled and folded them around rice, pork in mole, avocados, and cilantro leaves. Lime added bright flavor to this luxurious lunch. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

We simmered 2 pieces of beef shank in some homemade chicken stock along with 1 parsnip, 1 carrot, 1 shallot, some parsley stems, and 3 star anise. The resulting broth was lip-smackingly sticky and rich with favor. We added a tangle of udon—Japanese wheat noodles—and slurped our way through this most satisfying of lunches.

 

The contents of our vegetable drawer—1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1 handful of green beans, and 3 collard leaves—plus 2 scoops of sticky rice and 3 cups of really good homemade chicken stock added up to two big bowls of delicious, fortifying vegetable soup. We are ready to take on the world.

 

CH’s husband is not a cook. But he has come up with a darn good salad. Now we are a trifle snobby when it comes to salads. We like them simple, not too many ingredients, just tender leaves lightly dressed with very good olive oil and our own red wine vinegar. Well Mr. H’s salad is anything but that. It is really of the “everything but the kitchen sink” school—sturdy romaine leaves, salad olives, scallions, croutons, a cherry tomato or two hiding under a leaf, served with spoonfuls of caesar dressing. It satisfies the crunchy, salty, tangy, and slightly sweet that we must be craving. What is your favorite “special” salad of the moment? Don’t hold back, reveal all.

 

It’s a mite chilly here in the northeast. This morning started out at -1°, and many cups of hot coffee later it has only inched up to 14° (though it still feels like -1°). We decided we wanted/needed a hearty meal after hauling armloads of firewood up the stairs to the studio—the old Franklin stove is doing its best to keep us toasty.  So it is a braise of cabbage and collards with chicken and spicy sausages for lunch. Bundle up and keep warm; and cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Remember Hamburger Helper? We defrosted a package of ground beef this morning, not quite knowing what we’d make with it. We poked around the studio and the fridge and found an onion, some garlic, a couple of carrots, and two russet potatoes. Just the “helpers” we needed to make this satisfying shepherd’s pie.

 

Pan-seared turkey cutlets, steamed hedgehog mushrooms, sticky white rice—got teriyaki sauce, got lunch.

 

Seems that these days we’ve been digging in frozen places for things that give us warmth. This morning, for instance, it was the wood pile and the freezer. It took til noon before our fireplace was really throwing out some good heat. And by then, the frozen blocks from the freezer had all defrosted so we could make lunch—big loose sheets of pasta folded over a sweet/savory squash filling, with crisp bacon, and a shower of parmigiano. Now we’re finally warm, inside and out, dozing in our chairs when we should be writing. Oh well, it’s Friday. Be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

CH brought a chicken to the studio today. And a package of lentils. MH rummaged in the fridge and found a fat carrot in the vegetable drawer and a barely preserved lemon from the batch we recently made. While the lentils and carrot simmered on top of the stove,  the now spatchcocked chicken, rubbed with olive oil and red-chile salt, roasted in a hot oven. We served them together, with torn fresh mint leaves, so all their flavors could mingle.

 

 

Feels like January thaw here today. Snow is sliding off the roof and landing with a crescendo onto the towpath below. We run to the windows each time praying no one was hit by the “avalanche”. While we were on snow patrol, a falcon landed on a branch of the mimosa tree across the canal. Inside, we sat by the fire and ate bowls of chicken and rice with collard greens. Bundle up, get out there, and be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Early this morning there was a quiet knock on the door; then in walked neighbor Tama Matsuoka, Meadows + More, with a big box of black trumpet mushrooms, craterellus cornucopioides, straight off a plane from California. What an extravagant gift! We could hardly wait for lunch—mushrooms on toast, to understate the glory of it. We ain’t got a barrel of money, but with generous friends like Tama, we are eating like kings.

 

We braved the storm to get back to the studio from Washington, DC where we poured 650 Maker’s Mark sidecars and cooked a dinner for 26. After that, we weren’t a’scared of no puny blizzard! But so good to be home with a fire crackling away in the wood stove, Teddy Thompson on the air waves, and a delicious lunch of broccoli rabe, chipolatas and orecchiette on the table. Join us in spirit and eat something wonderful today for lunch.

 

 

Lamb chops with lemon and muhammara (spicy roasted red peppers and ground walnuts) for lunch today. Served with no napkins, so we can lick our fingers clean. Off to Sips & Suppers in Washington, DC for the rest of the week. We’ll send word from there.