Lunch today is two bun-less burgers with slabs of beefsteak tomato slathered with “doctored-up” mayo (preserved lemon and olive oil). We added chopped basil, chives, and parsley for flavor and vitamins. Have a lovely weekend and remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
We fell off the wagon today big time—two lunches in one day. After our toasts, we had a huge platter of spaghetti with pesto. How could that be that wrong? Gather ye basil while ye may.
We could live on toast if the bread was always as good as NYC’s Sullivan Street Bakery’s. We’re making our way through a big loaf of their addictive truccione saré—two slices at a time—for breakfast with salted butter and our new batch of peach jam. And for lunch today with fresh ricotta and cherry tomatoes with lots of olive oil, parsley, mint, and salt and pepper spooned on top, and for dinner tonight…not sure just yet, we’ll see what we are peckish for after the sun is over the yardarm. But it will probably involve toast.
Here’s what we have been doing all morning. It’s peach-time. We headed up to Manoff’s Orchard and bought a big box of peaches for jam. Now the windows are open, fresh air is blowing through the screens, Big Joe Williams is lamenting so beautifully on the “radio”, jam is bubbling on the stove, and we are cruising through the rest of this Friday afternoon. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
The kids are starting to peel off for the summer and head back to school. Today we had a farewell lunch for MH’s daughter—cold steamed lobster, hot french fries, and mayonnaise doctored with preserved lemon for dipping both. It was lovely. We sat at the table lingering over lunch, exchanging presents, stories, hopes, and dreams. If you make delicious food, the kids will always return to join you at the table. From our lips to God’s ear.
We are avoiding the hot sun and ants today by laying out our picnic lunch of cold fried chicken and succotash salad (green beans, corn, potatoes, and red onion tossed with olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper) on the long table by the air conditioner in the corner of the studio. Try to catch a breeze and stay cool!
Tomatoes have hit their stride—each one sweeter and juicier than the next. So today’s lunch was a handsome heirloom “big red” sliced over a plate to catch all the juices, as we peeled and sliced them. A spoonful of vinaigrette, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a plop of good mayonnaise is all we needed. (The avocados and basil were like earrings and a necklace on a beautiful woman, nice but not necessary.) Savor the summer, dear friends.
We cooked a pot of Maureen Abood Market’s peeled chickpeas last night to serve with a piece of cod for lunch today. But when we went to grab the fish from the fridge this morning, we discovered it had, inadvertently, been stashed in the freezer. No matter, we switched gears and served the delicious legumes with other “treasures” from the fridge–the last of the vegetables and aïoli from our lunch earlier this week. We’ll have the fish tonight with the leftover chickpeas, best surf and turf around. Be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
A bag of pretty peppers were languishing in our crisper drawer, so we decided to give them their due and make them today’s lunch.
Seventeen years ago, we met over a grand aïoli, not in the south of France where it is a classic summertime feast, but, oddly enough, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (don’t ask). It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Today’s lunch is inspired by that memorable meal, all the vegetables gathered from local markets just across the Delaware River in Bucks County. We cooked the potatoes, zucchini, green and yellow wax beans, limas (not traditional), and eggs in salted boiling water and made a big bowl of aïoli to go with. A bowl of sugared blackberries for dessert made it in the photograph, but, alas, again, the platter of sliced tomatoes didn’t.
Today’s cool rainy weather made it feel like the first day of fall. Instead of panicking, we made soup. A warm cauliflower and chicken broth purée. We floated a piece of soft Gorgonzola piccante and cracked black pepper on each serving. It was a delicious first taste of autumn. But not so fast, please—warm sunny summer days return tomorrow.
It must be the height of summer—we’ve lost our taste for meat, just want vegetables, and the occasional piece of fish. Every meal these days involves corn and tomatoes. And now that the green and yellow wax beans in the garden are producing like mad, it’s succotash time. Thanks to a dear friend who stopped by with his sister and a lovely piece of fish, today’s lunch is the perfect summer meal: pan-seared pomfret, and a corn and bean succotash seasoned with chopped parsley, celery leaves, dill flowers, salt, pepper, good olive oil, and lemon. A platter of tomatoes showed up after we took the photo.
With one boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into 4 scallopine, we had enough to make lunch for four, but instead, it fed just us chicks. We seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, sautéed them with slices of lemon in olive oil over medium-high heat until just cooked through, and seasoned the pan juices with a splash of dry vermouth. We made a salad of parsley, mint, and arugula from the garden and tossed the leaves in a raw tomato vinaigrette. We ate every morsel, even licked the plates clean. Guess we better go for a vigorous walk later this afternoon.
When summer presents the perfect fruit, you just have to drop everything you’re doing and honor it. So we did, by peeling and slicing it, anointing it with buttery extra-virgin olive oil, adding salt & pepper, and a couple of anchovies (because we love them, too).
We couldn’t get the flavor of yesterday’s summer pasta out of our minds, particularly the just-cooked tomatoes, so sweet and meaty. Walking into the studio today, we knew just what to fix for lunch today: We warmed 1/4 cup of good olive oil in a big skillet over medium heat, added 2 thickly sliced peeled tomatoes, and salt and pepper. When the tomatoes began to soften and warm (less than a minute), we slid them onto a serving platter, added a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes and chopped mint and parsley. Then we sautéed quartered fennel similarly, but longer, until it was tender and golden brown. We dressed the fennel in olive oil with a good squeeze of lemon. A slab of French feta married the fennel and tomatoes, and was something rich to sop up the delicious juices.
Here in the northeast gardens and farm stands are at their peaks—meaty tomatoes, plump string beans, juicy red onions, aromatic basil. We just stare at the vegetables and they tell us what to do. Here’s how we made today’s summer pasta lunch: Sauté a sliced red onion and a minced clove of garlic in good olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add a big handful of blanched, trimmed string beans and a chopped, peeled big ripe tomato (we scoop out the seeds, but you don’t have to). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is just hot, about 5 minutes. Add about 2 cups of cooked pasta (we used campanelle). Toss everything together and a little more olive oil wouldn’t hurt. Transfer to a platter and add some torn fresh basil leaves.
As if it wasn’t hot enough, then we got a hankering for fried fish and fritters. It must be 100°F here in the studio, even with the air conditioner cranking. But it is worth it—the cod is crisp and tender and the corn and zucchini fritters are delicate and delicious. We are very happy that we followed our bliss, even if we are bit dewy. Do yourselves a favor and do the same.
We’ve been away. No, not on vacation though it certainly was fun. We were in Kentucky throwing a Fiesta at Maker’s Mark Distillery for Rick Bayless. The Mariachi band played for four hours straight (with a little Bluegrass thrown in), hand cut Papel Picado (paper flags) strung between the trees fluttered, 650 guests drank Mark-aritas and ate tamales, tacos, grilled corn, ceviche, guacamole, and The Bent Spoon mango & tamarind paletas (that we drove down in car freezers!).
Back in the studio today and made a summer lunch of corn and zucchini with cumin spiced chèvre and lots of really good olive oil. We added a splash of good balsamic vinegar and some torn basil leaves, then tucked into it. It’s always good to be home.
It’s Day 4 of a week of cold summer soups. If not now, in the heart/heat of mid-summer, when would be a better time for a classic vichyssoise with a plop of sour cream and lots of chopped chives? Just sauté 2 chopped, well-washed leeks in 2 tablespoons of good butter, and add 2 quartered peeled russet potatoes and 2 cups chicken stock. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft. Purée in a blender, adding cold milk, half & half, or cream to thin. We like this velvety, smooth soup highly seasoned so we are liberal with the salt and white pepper—chilled foods require a little extra sodium to liven up their flavor. The poor old pomme de terre (along with a lot of carbs) has gotten a bad rap recently, but we stand by it. It has always stood by us, lifting any small slump in our spirits.
It’s day three of a week of cold summer soups. Today’s cold borscht, with roasted beets, cukes, yellow onion, a spoonful of Dijon, a splash of vinegar, some heavy cream, salt & black pepper, and a handful of ice cubes, came together in the blender lickety-split. Easy to make, easy to eat! Whirl up a batch for yourselves.
For day two of a week of cold summer soups, it’s chilled corn bisque for lunch today. Usually a bisque involves seafood, lobster specifically, and there is only corn, onion, and potato here. But if a lobster claw should happen to fall into our bowls, we wouldn’t kick it out! Happy Bastille Day!
Stopped by Tinicum CSA farmstand at Schneiderwind Farm & Nursery on the way to the studio today. It’s burgeoning offerings are piled high on makeshift tables—bi-color and white corn, frilly lettuces still wet from the field, ripe tomatoes, fat green beans, curly kale, blueberries, even foraged chanterelle and chicken of the woods mushrooms and much, much more. A bushel of sugar plums caught our attention. Of course we had to buy them. By the time we arrived at the studio and carried our vegetal bounty up the long steep stairs we had decided to make this the week of cold summer soups. And so we start it off with cold tomato & sugar plum soup garnished with olive oil and green onions. A little sweet. A little tart. A lot delicious.
Out early this morning shopping for the weekend. Landed on a holiday menu of cold lobster, potato salad, zucchini and feta salad, and bicolor corn, to be washed down with bone-cold rosé. While waiting for the lobsters, we grabbed two nets full of littleneck clams for today’s lunch. So we are starting off the weekend with linguine and clam sauce. Happy Fourth of July. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
We are getting our Independence Day on. Today’s lunch—D’Artagnan’s duck hot dogs (yes, we said duck) slathered with Dijon mustard. A bit fancy, a little too French, but downright delicious. We’ll go all-American starting tomorrow. We are trying to decide our Fourth of July menus: fried chicken or spareribs or burgers and dogs? One thing is for certain, there will be potato salad and deviled eggs. Stars and stripes forever!
We made Chorizo-Stuffed Ancho Chiles with Sweet and Sour Escabeche from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen (Scribner, 1996) for lunch today. Then we found corn at our farm market, the first of the season and sweet as candy. Mid corn-chomping we noticed that MH eats her corn typewriter style, while CH goes round and round. It made us laugh right out loud. But either way, we got the delicious job done.
Todays lunch is slow-cooked pork and kale coleslaw with preserved lemon piled on potato rolls. We highly recommend this as way to start the week.
Today’s lunch is cold cauliflower soup with dollops of soft whipped cream and snipped chives and tarragon. An elegant way to end the week. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
Last night’s paella is today’s lunch. Cooked over an open fire on the gravel driveway, this all-but-the-kitchen-sink paella—chicken, chorizo, mussels, and peppers—yielded smokey rice that was full of rich delicious flavors. As is often true, it tasted even better the next day.
A nearly-bare fridge never stops us from eating well, especially if there are any eggs in there. Thank goodness we had a carton of “farm-fresh” beauties on hand. So today’s lunch, reductive but delicious, is soft-boiled eggs with lots of snipped parsley and tarragon from the garden, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
First day back in the studio after a week away. We found a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, a lemon in the crisper, and we always have a jar of mayonnaise in the fridge. So, it was fried shrimp and tartar sauce for lunch today. Felt kind of beachy and fun, and it tasted like summertime as we crunched through the crisp crust into the soft sweet flesh. But we are really in our studio with the air conditioner cranking on this hot June day. Stay cool.
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