Everybody waxes on about the perfect summer tomato (us included!). But just gotta say, tomatoes really hit their red-ripe, sweet, juicy peak in September. Like, right about now. We had a collection of ripe heirloom tomatoes at the studio—some from our gardens, others from farm markets and road stands—that needed to be eaten before the weekend. So we did them the honor at lunch today: fall tomatoes peeled, thickly sliced, dressed with a sharp vinaigrette, Stilton cheese, and anchovy fillets, then seasoned with salt and pepper. We each had a plate for lunch. And for dessert, we had the sweet, salty juices left on our plates—one of us used a teaspoon to daintily spoon up all that deliciousness, while the other slurped the juices as she tipped the plate up to her mouth. She managed to catch every last drop. You guess who did what! Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

A simple lunch on this beautiful, warm first day of fall—fish and scales. We roasted a center-cut salmon filet seasoned with olive oil, and salt and pepper, then set “scales” of pommes Anna on top. Treat yourself to something delicious to welcome in the new season.

 

Early this morning we pulled some beets from our garden, which is overblown and spent, but there are still lots of potatoes and more beets hiding underground. Back in the studio kitchen we roasted the beets and seared two duck breasts, then married them along with all their juices—and a happy marriage it was. The beets tasted meatier than the duck! Isn’t it cool the way the season always tells you what to eat?

 

It’s a rainy Monday here today—the first real soaking we’ve had this summer since we left you high and dry. A perfect day to settle back into Canal House Cooks Lunch. We went down to the Trenton Farmers’ Market over the weekend and found beans—fat romanos, yellow wax, and sturdy green beans—and field peas. We love this time of year, when summer fades into fall and the kitchen calls you back. This morning we sat at the long table in the center of the studio and told each other our weekend stories while we shucked the peas and trimmed the beans. We panfried two duck legs seasoned with salt and pepper until all the fat rendered out and the skin turned mahogany and crisp. Then we made a succotash of sorts—beans and peas tossed with olive oil, preserved lemon, and crushed, dried red chiles. It felt good to fill our tums with duck and beans, it tasted just like fall. And fall, it seems, is in three days. Right around the corner. How is that possible?

 

We have been working, working, working so decided that we deserved a very luxe lunch—a blue (blood) plate special. We made a bright lemon risotto and served it with steamed and buttered lobster. Since we can’t get to the Amalfi Coast or to Maine right now, we can close our eyes as we eat and pretend we hear the water lapping at the shore (whichever shore that might be). Midsummer madness!

 

We hosted a pop-up Avocado-Toast-Happy-Hour last night in a beautiful meadow behind the Carversville General Store. The whole evening was reminiscent of Brigadoon—an idyllic setting, a gorgeous summer evening, even an impromptu jam session with a banjo, a mandolin, and a clarinet—it was a magical moment. We grilled Crossroads Bake Shop Heirloom Wheat Bread then topped the toast with smashed avocados anointed with olive oil. We kept with the theme for lunch today at the studio (not quite the dreamy meadow). We used leftover bread to make anchovy toast that we served with seared shishito peppers. Thank God we aren’t allergic to gluten ’cause these toasts are all we want to munch on. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Tune in today to The Canal House Kitchen Hour on WDVR, 4–5 PM, www.wdvrfm.org. We’ll be talking about tomatoes, with lots of great recipes; there will be great music including a big bonus—a live performance by Clover Stevie. To paraphrase Charles Osgood, “We’ll see you on the radio!”

Today’s lunch is a garden salad—this and that picked right out of our garden. We smeared a big spoonful of fresh ricotta on each of two plates, then grated lemon zest on top, added a good drizzle of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Then we piled on: blanched sliced tiny zucchini, quartered tomatoes, torn up basil and zucchini blossoms, finely diced salami, and a lemony vinaigrette spooned over all.

 

We found a bag of zucchini blossoms hanging on our door knob. Could we have a secret admirer? Who is our very kind, generous friend? So we made a white wine batter and fried up all the blossoms along with parsley and sage leaves from our garden. The soft herbaceous flowers and herbs were encrusted in a shatteringly crisp crust. We sat at a little table and ate right off the platter, sipping cold white wine as we crunched. It was a good way to end the week. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Lunch today is warm succotash—zucchini, green beans, bi-color corn (boiled and roasted), chopped parsley, lots of butter, and salt and pepper.  We have been corn mad since the beautiful fat cobs hit our local farm stands just this week. Tune in today to The Canal House Kitchen Hour on WDVR, 4–5 PM. We’ll interview our favorite local farmer, Trauger’s Myron Kressman; ice-cream genius Gabby Carbone of Princeton’s The Bent Spoon; great music; and of course everything we know about cooking corn. To paraphrase Charles Osgood, “We’ll see you on the radio!”

 

We don’t know about you, but when the corn comes in, it’s just about the only thing we want to eat. It gives us another excuse to eat two of our other favorite things: butter and salt. This morning, we drove up the river to Trauger’s Farm Market in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania—they always have the best corn. We are bi-color corn fans. We like the way the starchier yellow kernels balance the sweeter white kernels. Though they had our darling bi-color corn, we decided to live a little and grabbed a dozen ears of their all-yellow Honey Select. We boiled five ears of the corn, slathered them with butter then seasoned them with salt. Talk about perfection. Sweet, but not too, and bursting with delicious corniness. Tonight we’ll finish off the rest of the dozen ears for dinner. Can’t wait.

 

 

On the hottest, muggiest day of the summer so far, we heated up a skillet of oil and fried ourselves lunch. Beautiful pieces of salmon filet got jackets of crisp mixed flours, while the zucchini and green beans wore delicate dresses of a lacy tempura batter. Too hot to cook anything else today—we’ll eat salads for dinner.

 

So, about those zucchini. We plucked the smaller ones from yesterday’s haul for lunch today. Decided to make an open-face omelet so we could admire the squash’s beauty. First, a quick sautée in olive oil with a sliced onion and clove of fresh garlic. We added a big dollop of harissa, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper, then spooned the filling over our 6-egg omelet.

Hey, speaking of eggs, tune in today (and every Wednesday) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm to “Canal House Kitchen Hour”, our new radio program on WDVR, New Jersey Radio. You can listen on your device if you’re out of range. We’ll keep an eye (an ear) out for you.

 

 

Caught up in the holiday weekend, neither of us got a chance to stop by our garden patch to pick. And besides, nothing seemed close-to-ready when we were there on Friday. It must have been the scattered soaking rains that passed through because today, the garden was a jungle, the plants heavy with fruit and flowers. The green and wax beans, in particular, called to us to pick them for lunch today. Fat and meaty, we cooked them until tender and tossed them in a shallot-parsley vinaigrette. And to go with, we each had a dainty piece of cold fried chicken. Now we have to figure out what to do with the out-of-control huge zucchini hiding under the leaves—we fear, they are the first of many. Maybe we could start a Canal House baseball team that uses gigantic overgrown zucchini instead of baseball bats.

 

 

Stopped by our garden patch this morning and pulled six beautiful beets and three scallions out of the ground. Then we channeled our beloved Jeremy Lee, chef of famed London restaurant Quo Vadis, and made a version of his beet, egg, and horseradish salad. With none of that pungent root in the house, we added prepared grated horseradish (that we keep in the fridge) to the dressing. We’ll serve it with a few lettuce leaves and maybe a glass of rosé, why not?

 

Today is casual Friday—though we are usually pretty casual around here—so it was open-faced chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. We did dress things up a bit by using fennel instead of celery and adding lemon zest and juice to the salad, and we toasted the bread and slathered it with more mayonnaise. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

We needed something light for lunch today (one of us had a tricky tummy). So we put two cans of beef consommé in the freezer and while they were chilling, we boiled a couple of eggs. It took about 2 hours for the consommé to turn into an ice-crystal jelly. We spooned it into bowls then added chives, borage blossoms, and chopped eggs for garnish and flavor. While sometimes we add a splash of sherry to the consommé, today instead, we squeezed a little lemon juice on top. Though it looks like a ladies’ lunch item, it tasted cold, bold, and refreshing. And, good news, we are both feeling much better now.

 

We both showed up at our garden patch early today. In the cool of the morning we watered and weeded, then picked the first vegetables and the last of the lettuce. The bounty was tiny but thrilling, two 3-inch zucchini along with one big golden flower, 5 ripe Sungold cherry tomatoes, 11 fat pea pods, a few borage blossoms, and a few handfuls of tender lettuce leaves. Back in the studio we assembled a salad, adding a few crisp strips of bacon and some little croutons, then dressed it all with the simplest vinaigrette. It’s summertime and the eating is easy.

 

It’s three toasts each for two hungry gals today: Avocado mash with cayenne salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and s & p; asparagus (last of the season) on ham with a swipe of mayonnaise, and s & p; and caramelized onions, lemon zest, parsley, and s & p. Sad to see asparagus season ending, but you know what that means? Tomatoes all dressed up for summer toasts will be showing up soon. Bring ‘em on!

 

We were starving when we arrived at the studio. So we rummaged in the fridge and found two Italian sausages, a container of our tomato and pancetta sofrito, and a perfectly ripe avocado. Garnished with some basil leaves from our garden, it made a fine early lunch. Leftovers rule the day. Have a lovely weekend and cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

Deliciously cozy rainy day with rumbles of thunder. Perfect for the garden—ozone and rainwater. We had an indoor picnic with fried chicken, mayo “buttered” eggs, and dill pickles. It really doesn’t get better than this. Until tomorrow!

 

It’s such a pretty day today, wish we were out at a  ball game or doing something fun like that. Maybe having brats smothered in sauerkraut with Dijon mustard and watching a video of Bran Ferren’s TED Talk will be just as fun—maybe even more! Happy Monday, dear friends.

 

Strawberries are everywhere now. What else to do but make strawberry ice cream with strawberries on top. So that’s what we’re eating for lunch listening to Sly and the Family Stone rock “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”. It’s funky Friday and we’re just going to do what we want today. You do it too, dear friends. If not now, when?

 

Last night’s grilled fish is today’s lunch salad. Along with the fine cucumber, red onion, and dill salad a dear friend shared with us. A stop at the garden this morning to weed and water, rewarded us with the chive blossoms, parsley, and green onion we needed to season the grilled halibut salad, and borage flowers, with their cucumber-like flavor, to garnish the crunchy cuke salad. We are right in the middle of spring’s salad days.

 

This morning a package of “Love Beets”, organic cooked beets ready for anything were left outside our door. No note, no card, who could have left them? Some girls get roses but we much prefer beets.  They inspired our lunch today: a salad of Sea Island Red Peas, celery, and scallions in vinaigrette; the afore mentioned beets in olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper; boiled eggs with a smear of cold, thick sour cream; garden lettuce and a couple of slices of smoked salmon.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”—Julia Child

 

Back in the studio after the long weekend. The two of us stood in the kitchen for over an hour filling one another in on what we: planted, cooked, drank, listened to, watched. While we talked we slid a turkey breast into the oven to roast, peeled a few handfuls of asparagus, washed some lettuce leaves (picked just this morning), and stirred up a vinaigrette. After adding hard-boiled eggs, we had a fine lunch—a Canal House chef-ish salad. Though officially it’s still spring, it feels undeniably like summer.

 

 

We’ve been clipping salad greens from our garden all week long. Big bagfuls. To keep up with them, we’ve made a habit of washing the leaves as soon as we return to the studio. We plunge them into several changes of cold water, shake off the water, roll the leaves in either clean dish or paper towels, and store them in an open plastic bag in the fridge. That leaves us (no pun intended) with just a vinaigrette to make whenever we want salad. Like we did for lunch today. We made our classic Canal House vinaigrette to go with like this: we crushed a clove of garlic to a paste with some salt and pepper, stirred in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a splash of red wine vinegar, then drizzled in 3 to 4 tablespoons of really good extra-virgin olive oil, stirring all the while. (CH says we’ll be hungry in half an hour and will have to grab a cheeseburger down the street, but MH doesn’t believe her.)

 

We were all set to have a big leafy salad piled on top of a pork cutlet for lunch today. But a stop at our local garden nursery this morning to pick up some vegetable plants changed our plans. The nice owner, Li-fan Huang, cultivates big fat shiitake mushrooms, an even “more perfect” accompaniment to the pork. So we grabbed a bag, sautéed the fungi along with the cutlets, and served them together with a little soy pan sauce and some sliced chives. Mmmm—meat on meat.

 

We were away over the weekend, so we met at the garden first thing this morning to water and check on everything. The radishes have gone a little berserk. It’s not the tap roots that have—they’re in various swollen stages, some ready to pull (which we did). It’s the leafy green radish tops that are out of control (the soil’s too rich). Problem? No problem. We just thinned the rows, pulling out the more vigorous tops. At the studio, we trimmed off the radishes (to nibble), washed the greens in cool water, and sautéed them in olive oil with a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt. For lunch we served the incredibly green-tasting radish greens at room temperature with a poached chicken cutlet, and a mayonnaise doctored with lemon and chopped fresh herbs.

 

We stopped by our garden this morning to pick a few spinach leaves for lunch, and the bag practically filled itself. Nothing like having a garden. When it gives, it’s like living in the song “Big Rock Candy Mountain”… where the hens lay soft-boiled eggs. Oh, come to think of it, what a good idea. So for lunch today, it’s steamed spinach and poached eggs drizzled with really good extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with s & p.

 

We pulled the first few radishes from our garden yesterday afternoon. That felt like a mini triumph, not so much for us, but for the tiny seeds that grew into peppery scarlet beauties. We chomped them right then and there—after rinsing off the dirt with the garden hose. Then we cut lettuces and arugula for lunch today. This morning we dressed the greens in a garlicky vinaigrette and piled them on top of braised lamb (from yesterday’s shanks) and corn tortillas. We ate them with gusto (so messy, so good!). Maybe tomorrow we’ll be able to show you our radishes.