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.

 

 

On Saturday, we were sporting flip flops. On Sunday, we were caught off guard. It was freezing and we should have donned our thermal socks and gloves. Today, though, we got it just right. We’re wearing vests under cardigans while lunching on oven-broasted baby lamb shanks and onions with buttery braised spring onions. Now we’re off to the garden to plant our six-inch tall tomato plants. By the time the fruits will be ready to pick, we’ll be complaining about the heat and bugs. Go figure.

Not to toot our own horns, but we had a lovely mention in the Weekend WSJ. In an interview for her new book, Bittersweet (Knopf, 2016),  Stephanie Danler says, “The books I cook from over and over again are: the series of Canal House books Christopher Hirsheimer does with Melissa Hamilton. If I’m going somewhere for the summer, I bring their summer volume with me. When I’m traveling for the holidays, I bring the holiday one. They did the cookbook “Canal House Cooks Every Day,” too.”

For the whole interview http://on.wsj.com/1TUbC2W. Thank you so much, Stephanie. Can’t wait to read your book. It sounds delicious.

 

Pulled out a container of last summer’s pesto from the freezer, along with some big sheets of pasta tucked away for just such a moment. Stirred some softened butter, chopped mint, minced scallions, and salt and pepper into fresh ricotta. The pesto’s lively green color didn’t survive the deep freeze, but its pungent flavor did. So today’s lunch is a harbinger of summer. Time to plant our basil. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Today’s lunch is a deconstructed BLT salad with avocado and asparagus, dressed with an emulsion of grated Pecorino Romano and really good olive oil—we gilded the lily!

 

We had all the makings for gazpacho—a big tin of plum tomatoes, a few fat red peppers, spring Vidalia onions. So that was on the menu for today’s Canal House lunch. However, one of us (she who shall remain nameless) got a little heavy handed with the raw onions and by the time each of us had polished off half bowls of the soup, the tummies protested. Now we are eating buttered Ryvita with Bobolink’s cave-ripened cheddar and trying to figure out what to do with the pot of soup that is left. Any ideas, dear friends?

 

Often one of us gets a taste for something and of course the other couldn’t be happier than to go along for the ride. This morning the market offered some very good-looking cod fillets and the freezer section had a nice “fresh” load of frozen crinkle cut French fries. No one has ever turned their nose up at fish n’ chips, at least not around here. But the pièce de résistance was to serve them with tonnato sauce (a tuna and caper seasoned mayonnaise)—fish on fish. We’re hooked!