We met early this morning to gather up the rest of the spring vegetables to serve along with the spit-roasted lamb for Easter lunch. We hit all our favorite farm stands and shops. But, in fact, nothing is growing locally, spring hasn’t really arrived yet—no asparagus, artichokes or fava beans (oh, that’s right, these are never local!), no spring onions, English peas, morels, or even fiddlehead ferns. So, for Sunday, we’ll just have to go with deviled eggs, potatoes cooked in half-and-half and salted Irish butter, and a pavlova with whipped cream and exotic fruits. But for lunch today, we stuck with the reality of April in the Northeast and had poached eggs (the postmistress is our dealer), with salted butter and lots of chives snipped from pots in the backyard. Cook something delicious for yourself this holiday weekend, dear friends. Happy Easter. Hippity hop!

 

 

Even though it’s Saturday, and a beautiful, sunny warm spring one at that, we are happy to be in the studio. Not that we aren’t wishing we were outside, taking in the fresh air and working in our gardens. But while we worked away this morning, we had these big fat asparagus to look forward to for lunch today. We peeled the zaftig beauties, boiled them until tender, then dressed them with lots of salted Irish butter and thick shavings of aged parmiggiano-reggiano. One of us ate them with fork and knife. The other with her fingers. Both ways perfectly correct at our table. We’d sacrifice a day off anytime for a working lunch like this.

 

 

We bought a 14-pound corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day—the first and second cut. Then we cooked it long and slow in just-simmering water. We had a fine feast with carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions, and, of course, cabbage. There were two kinds of sauce: a horseradish whipped cream and a parsley cream sauce—which is what they serve with corned beef in Ireland. Then we divvied up the remaining second cut and made corned beef hash, which is the whole point of the exercise. We had the very last of it for lunch today, frying the hash until it was crisp and golden on both sides then topping it with poached eggs. We added a few crushed red pepper flakes because that’s the kick we are on right now. Sorry to see this eating experience end, until next year. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

We both used to ski a lot every winter. CH up in the Sierra, MH all over the northeast. The routine went like this: hit the slopes early in the morning, take a lunch break to refuel, then back out on the slopes for a couple more runs before the end of the day. President’s weekend meant a 3-day ski holiday. Times have changed. Neither of us has strapped on (oh, that’s right, no straps anymore), has stepped into a pair of skis in years. But, funnily enough, one thing hasn’t—the enjoyment of  a bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch. Enjoy the rest of the holiday, dear friends.

 

 

It’s one of our favorite winter salads for lunch today—chopped celery hearts and their tender leaves, radicchio, and escarole tossed in a lemony, garlicky, anchovy vinaigrette. Cold, crunchy, bitter, and sharp. It reflects the season, but now that the days are longer and there’s a sense of spring in the air, we can take it. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

We like to be fair, but today, one of us had a bowl of shrimp risotto flecked with diced prosciutto for lunch and the other only had a big handful of pistachios which she had to crack her way through. Sometimes, we aren’t in the studio together at lunch. And today, hunger trumped patience and fairness. The risotto was awfully good, but not as delicious as when we have lunch together. Excellent company (not hunger!) is the best seasoning.

 

 

It’s a soft misty day. It feels like early Spring, and, in the words of our friend Nash Anderson, it “smells like childhood”. We boiled new potatoes for lunch, then lightly crushed them, browned them in bacon fat and butter, and seasoned them with salt, crushed pepperoncini, sautéed scallions, bacon, and more scallions. Simple but nourishing fare.

 

 

Remember this childhood favorite? We were busy, didn’t want to go to the store, and we had all these staples on hand. So we toasted slices of dark earthy bread,  slathered them with good peanut butter (just peanuts and salt), then layered on slices of crisp thick bacon. This is a perfect combo, simple as can be. What a great way to start the week.

 

Our local butcher sells meaty, smoked pork chops. We prefer them to the unsmoked chops because they stay moist when heated through—as technically, they are already “fully cooked”. Our colleague, Julie Sproesser, shared her grandmother’s “Drunken Sauerkraut with Smoked Pork Chops” (the recipe can be found in our book, “Canal House Cooking, The Grocery Store, Volume N° 6). The chops bake, buried under fresh sauerkraut, juniper berries, salted butter, among other things, and here’s the most important part, a good drink of gin and dry vermouth.  We made a pot for lunch today, to warm us up on this cold, blustery day. Better to give the pot a mid-morning drink, than the cooks! Temperance in all things.

 

In honor of the Lunar New Year we have been eating dumplings, dumplings, dumplings. This weekend we cooked for a DC Sips & Suppers dinner benefiting Martha’s Table and DC Kitchen and that’s what we served. Saturday morning, before the dinner, a wonderful group of volunteers gathered around a kitchen table and helped us fill and wrap. What seemed to be a daunting task —600 plus dumplings—turned into a rare experience. All of us talked and shared stories as we filled and folded. This has been part of kitchen culture for eons. We were working in Joan Nathan’s kitchen and all day long people came and went but everyone of them commented how much they want to join our group. It was communal, intimate, enlightening, and so very rewarding. Sometimes you think that you are giving, but really you end up getting.

 

Sometimes the winter blues sink in, because daylight is so short, and the idea of hopping in the car after work to drive the dark country roads to shop for groceries seems so hard—so the fridge grows bare. When this cycle begins, you know, it’s time to snap out of it! Last night, one of us made the extra-long drive to a huge Asian market to stock up on things for the studio and our larders at home. There were vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetable. Tofu, salty and sweet preserved fish, meat, cabbage, what a turn on! Lunch today on this cold overcast day has brightened our spirits: warm silken tofu with fiery cabbage kimchi and seasoned dry shrimp. Make something delicious for yourselves today, dear friends.

 

 

 

It must be Christmas! A beautiful panettone arrived in the mail today from NYC’s Sullivan Street Bakery. What a lovely gift. Anything that comes from Jim Lahey’s bakery is top of the ticket and this is a holiday special. We went downstairs to Early Bird Express for hot milky coffee, sliced into the tall tender, bread and sipped, dunked, and savored every bite. We have to evenly split what’s left of the loaf and not fight over who got the larger half! Buttered toasted panettone in the morning will be a great way to start tomorrow. How to make it last? If you want to order some click here https://www.foodydirect.com/restaurants/sullivan-street-bakery/dishes they are shipping until Monday, December 19th. Let the festivities begin.

 

Starting off the week right—artichokes and cannellini. We have a ham bone in the fridge, so we’ll throw it in and have pork n’ beans for lunch.

 

We had some mole poblano from our friend Nacxi Gaxiola of xillinyc.com stashed in our freezer. Rich and complex, it’s the perfect thing to have on hand. It transforms the simple into the sublime, as it did for our lunch today. Pot-roasted chicken with mole poblano, black beans, and slices of avocado. We’ll have to replenish our stash of this “king” of sauces. It’s too good live without.

 

 

This weekend one of us made a vat of ragù—sauce or gravy as it is called in nearby New York or Philly—which is a very good use of kitchen time. Short ribs, country ribs, hot and sweet Italian sausages simmered for hours flavoring the rich tomato sauce before they were scooped from the pot, the bones removed, the meat finely chopped, then returned to the pot. A container came to the studio today to share for lunch. But the cupboard was empty-ish and the sauce called! So we used what we had and plunged half a package of linguine into a pot of boiling water to be followed three minutes later by a small handful of thinner spaghetti. A sin to any self respecting Italian or Italian-American. It wasn’t correct, but it sure tasted divine.

 

We had a dozen nice fresh eggs in the fridge, some corn tortillas, and a perfectly ripe, ready to eat Hass avocado. No trouble figuring out what we’d have for lunch today. We warmed the tortillas in a cast-iron skillet, scrambled six eggs, sliced the avocado, then served everything together, seasoned with salt and chile flakes. Lunch, breakfast, or dinner, we could eat this combo any time of day. Remember to make something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

We had a young gentleman caller today who arrived as we were fixing lunch—linguine with tinned tuna and green olives. So, of course, we set another place. We fell in to talk of food and wound up discussing our lunch. He is interested in learning how to cook, so when we listed the ingredients (which are practically the recipe) he queried quizzically, “I thought I tasted something else?” Then we remembered, we had added preserved lemon. The kid’s got a good palate.

 

Okay, so now you know what we did with our leftover turkey carcasses from Thanksgiving. And with the meat? Cold turkey sandwiches (mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, salt & pepper), of course. Best day-after sandwich there is. And with the very last bits, we made turkey pot pies for lunch today. The filling had sautéed onions, carrots, and leftover chestnuts-madeira stuffing, all bound together with a little white sauce seasoned with nutmeg. The pastry top—a regular pie crust dough using pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour—was tender and flaky. Oh, yes, one pie was for lunch, the other will be for dinner (we’ll toss a coin to see who gets to take it home to their family). Adiós Thanksgiving. Until next year.

 

We hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving. Between us, we roasted about 75 pounds of turkey this past Thursday. By Friday, we had three big carcasses to make stock. And stock we made. We now have about 5 gallons of rich broth, all but 2 quarts stashed in our freezers. That’s a great feeling—plenty of soups in store for us. But in the meantime, we filled our bellies today with some of the remaining broth—big bowls of it, piping hot, with some turkey, tofu, carrots, rice, scallions, and lots of fresh cilantro. Perfect lunch for a rainy day.

 

As happens every so often, and usually by surprise, a USPS flat-rate box filled with the most delicious Hass avocados shows up at our door—a gift from our generous California friends with an avocado grove in their back “yard”. Well, today was one of those days. What timing! We were just about to head out to the farm to pick up our pre-ordered 25-pound turkeys. Too busy to cook anything for lunch, and a little bit starving, we did some gentle pressing and found a perfectly ripe avocado in the lot. These West Coast beauties are rich enough to eat plain, but we like to guild the lily. So we split it, drizzled olive oil into the halves, added a couple squeezes of lemon juice, two pinches of red pepper flakes, and salt. As always, we are so grateful for our friends (and gifts like these!). Thank you John, Stephanie, and Nick!

 

 

This year, more than ever before, we can hardly wait for Thanksgiving. We’re counting on the pleasure of gathering around the table with family and friends. And the comforting holiday food will taste particularly delicious. Our twenty-five pound turkeys (one for CH; 2 for MH) have been ordered; good bread has been carefully torn into fine crumbs for stuffings, bagged, and stashed in the freezer; and we’ve already started making turkey stock for soup and gravy for the big day next Thursday. Now in the past, for us, roasting a whole turkey for lunch just a week before Thanksgiving would be jumping the gun—most definitely. But our cravings are so strong, that we just did it. We roasted a twelve pound bird this morning, and served it sliced, on toasted bread slathered with mayonnaise, and spooned the turkey jus on top. Just to make the point. It was wonderfully messy, and it sure hit the spot.

 

Carey Jonesauthor of Brooklyn Bartender, a modern guide to cocktails and spirits (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2016)—and John McCarthy, global mixologist extraordinaire, gave us a quart of rich, exotically-flavored chicken broth. Think cinnamon, lemon grass, ginger, then imagine the heavenly aroma. We added no more than a tangle of aptly-named angel hair pasta and some cilantro. It filled us up and soothed/calmed our restless spirits.

 

We know Ruth wrote Comfort Me with Apples, but for us pasta is more consoling. So today, as we nervously await the outcome of the election, we lunched on big bowls of spaghetti tossed with a meaty, long-simmered sauce. As we slurped up the tomato-coated strands, our anxiety melted away—felt better than Xanax. Cook something to comfort yourselves tonight, dear friends.

 

To take the chill off the day, we tucked into big bowls of warm chili con carne—fragrant with cinnamon and cumin—and rice, with sour cream, cilantro, onions, and grated Gouda.  This afternoon, we may just need to roll out our mats and take siestas. Good way to set the tone and start the week. God only knows what tomorrow may bring!

 

 

For lunch today, we slurped up the last of a big pot of ginger-chicken broth that we made earlier in the week. We added cooked arborio rice and scallions warmed in butter. Amazing how flavorful and satisfying a dish this simple can be. Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

Yesterday, dear friends gifted us with a bag of wide scallion rice noodles from NYC’s Chinatown. This morning, we put a large pot of chicken wings, onions, fresh ginger, and water on the stove to bubble into something beautiful. By lunchtime, we had a rich, flavorful broth for our noodles. To the strained simmering broth we added sliced hen-of-the-woods and a large handful of chopped scallions, then we slipped in the noodles.

If Frenchtown were big enough to have its own Chinatown, we might be slurping bowls of noodle soup like this every day, but until then, we’ll rely on the kindness of friends.

 

 

Stopped by the road side farm market on the way to the studio this morning and was surprised to find a whole table laid out with heirloom tomatoes. “The very last of the season”, the young woman said as she finished putting out bushy bunches of kale. So we grabbed a few of the largest and ripest Black Krims for lunch today. We thought we might make BLTs, but with no bacon or lettuce in the fridge, we made the next best thing: prosciutto cooked like bacon (nice and crisp), tomatoes pan-fried in the prosciutto fat and some olive oil, and fried toast with butter. Wish we could eat this combo all winter long!

 

 

It’s a soup day here in the hinterland. Though our trusty weather app insisted it was clear, a blustery wind pushed dark clouds across the sky and there were showers off and on all morning. So for today’s lunch we made butternut squash soup with ginger and preserved lemon, then twirled it up with sour cream and scallions. Now the clouds are parting and we can see blue sky—could it have been the soup? It is going to be a lovely warm weekend. Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

If we were in the beautiful Piedmontese town of Alba right now, we’d be shaving white truffles over our uova strapazzate. But we are in good old Frenchtown, NJ. So for lunch today, we served a delicate scramble of local eggs under a pile of buttery sautéed hen-of-the-woods and scallions. Though travel is alluring, we are happy to be here at the studio, still eating like queens.

 

 

We feasted on “the king of mushrooms” (aka hen-of-the-woods) for lunch yesterday. And today, we are tucking into plates of tender pappardelle tossed in ragu bolognese, arguably “the king of pasta sauces”. We’re doing our best to eat like queens this week. Wonder what we’ll be having for lunch tomorrow?