Friday lunch—roasted beets, onion, and zucchini; a spoonful of lentil salad; and a big smear of hummus (best recipe ever from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking). Who needs meat? Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

On a beautiful summer day like today—with 15 hours of daylight, the first string beans ready to pick, and hens laying hard-boiled eggs—it seemed a lentil salad with currants, celery, and chives (to accompany the aforementioned beans and eggs) would make a nice lunch. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

Hit our local farm stand early this morning—it’s still slim pickings. But they had young garlic, beets with nice green tops, and a handful of asparagus. We challenged ourselves to use the whole darn beet.So we roasted the beet root, sautéed the stems with young garlic and added them to a rice salad, and crisped the leaves in the oven. We are polishing up our vegetable moves.

 

Over the rainy weekend one of us braised pork spareribs in rich chicken broth, removed the bones, chopped the meat, and mixed it together (along with all its juices) with a mushroom and spring onion duxelles. Today we cooked wide ribbons of fresh pasta and dressed them in butter, cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, then spooned on the “meat-sauce”. What a way to start the week. Keep cooking, dear friends.

 

On our way to the studio this morning, we stopped to see what was “in” at Manoff Farm Gardens in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Their fields and orchards were green and lush. Inside the market it was all berries: raspberries, blueberries, and the last of their sweet little strawberries. We bought boxes of all three for the weekend, but couldn’t resist diving into the raspberries for lunch. Raspberries for lunch? Why not—with a delicate zabaglione fortified with vin santo—it was just the right way to end the week. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

This morning we made a rich stock from the carcass of Monday’s roast chicken. Then we made preserved lemon risotto for lunch today. Couldn’t have been simpler, or more delicious.

 

 

This is a real refrigerator lunch. Lucky us to find such treasures awaiting us “on ice”. A head of escarole, a juicy lemon & a preserved lemon, celery, cold poached chicken thighs, and best of all, two ripe avocados. We just chopped, sliced, mixed and everything knew just what to do—kismet.

 

Hoping to beat the heat, we got started cooking early this morning. We oven-roasted a big, olive oil and pepperoncini-rubbed bird, then set it aside on the counter to cool to room temperature. We added an escarole salad dressed with an anchovy-parmigiano vinaigrette. The blinds are down, the fans are whirling—sure feels like summer.

 

This morning we made an anchovy, garlic, and parsley paste to season a leg of lamb we are cooking tomorrow for some out-of-town guests. It got us craving our favorite little preserved fish fillets. So for lunch, we made a garlic-anchovy vinaigrette made even more robust with crushed red pepper flakes, then spooned it over string beans, ventreche tuna, hard-boiled eggs, sliced plum tomatoes, and some lucques olives. We don’t think we’ll ever tire of the deep, salty flavor that anchovies add to our cooking. Make something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

It’s a Canal House blue-plate special for lunch today: cold poached asparagus and egg salad served with thimbles of rosé. Oh, and in honor of National Olive Day, we garnished our plates with one of our favorite varieties—meaty, mild (sweet), buttery tasting castelvetrano olives. Maybe we’ll have to have ice-cold martinis with extra olives after work today.

 

 

Before we head over to the radio station for The Canal House Kitchen Hour (you can listen if you go to WDVRfm.org 4–5 PM EDT), we had to build up our strength. So we chose the magic of shiitake mushrooms to flavor arborio rice. We added ladleful by ladleful of delicate vegetable broth as the rice slowly swelled and softened. Then two sautéed shiitakes finished the risotto. It worked! We are feeling stronger—but a little sleepy. Today we have a local beekeeper on our show, Becky Wunderlich, who knows everything about apiculture and precious honeybees. See you on the radio!

 

Yesterday’s rainy weather inspired us to make a lasagne bolognese. So this morning we did the whole meghilla—made the bolognese sauce, the balsamella, rolled out sheets of fresh pasta, and grated a pile of Parmigiano-Reggiano. We layered everything in a baking pan, then let the hot oven do its thing. The resulting pasta is a masterpiece (and we say that with all modesty; you just can’t go wrong with this dish). We both ate generous squares, layer upon layer of lusciousness. Before lunch we had been listening to funk, it’s our Friday tradition. But now the studio is quiet and we are almost dozing at our computers. A perfect way to end the week and start the unofficial beginning of summer. Soon we’ll rouse ourselves and skip out early into this beautiful day. So much to do for the weekend: look for herbs to plant up empty pots, find briskets to braise, and pick strawberries to pile on shortcake. You do it too, sneak out early. And remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

Today’s lunch: Copper River sockeye salmon anointed with Villa Bisini Gambetti’s extra-vecchio balsamico (aged over 25 years) and local asparagus dressed in an extra-virgin olive oil with an equivalent pedigree. Cooking is easy when you are lucky enough to land the best. We don’t wear the latest fashions. There’s not a diamond between us. But we sure know how to eat well.

 

Come on Spring, make up your mind already! Memorial Day is right around the corner, so we’ve been busy letting out our bikinis, ready to slather on the Bain de Soleil. And then today dawned cold and rainy. Nothing to do but comfort ourselves with cannellini cooked with pork belly, served with cracklings and lemon. Now our outlooks and dispositions are sunnier. However, we may have to add a little elastic to the bathing suits.

 

This morning we jumped in the car and drove up the river on the Pennsylvania side to Trauger’s, a wonderful old farm stand where we found big fat asparagus (just like we like them) and baskets of ripe red strawberries (that actually smelled like strawberries). Then we drove over the Milford/Upper Black Eddy bridge into New Jersey and on to Bobolink Dairy for a hunk of  their full-bodied, creamy cheddar. It was just one of those shining mornings and we felt like the luckiest kids on the block to have the freedom to take this excursion. So the menu was decided, a cheese soufflé and asparagus vinaigrette. It was a birthday lunch for one of us. Cook something delicious for yourselves (maybe a soufflé and asparagus) this weekend, dear friends.

 

Too hot to cook today. It feels like a sirocco is blowing through our little river town. Definitely not the day to cook coq au vin. So other than frying up a few rashers of bacon, we played it cool with the stove. We are happily munching a BLT salad. It hit the spot!

 

Grilling season is upon us (it’s expected to reach into the 90′s today), so we made a big fresh batch of our teriyaki sauce—enough to fill a couple of bottles for the studio, and to take home for our families. We brush it on grilled salmon, spareribs, chicken, and hamburgers, spoon it over asparagus and rice, and into charred eggplant (the smoky against the sweet is Heaven). Heck, sometimes we sip it by the spoonful, we love it so much. But we’re too short on time today to fire up the grill for lunch, so we spooned it over bowls of silken tofu with lots of chopped chives and their blossoms. Our version of ambrosia.

 

 

Yesterday, we had two packages of chicken thighs in the fridge. We pan-fried one of them, along with thick slices of slender zucchini, for our lunch. Unfortunately, a long phone call distracted us from the task at hand and by the time we hung up, lunch ended up a dark shade of “burnt”—we choked it down. Determined to fix yesterday’s best intentions, we pulled out the other package of chicken thighs today, dredged them in flour, and deep-fried them until crisp and golden crisp. Then we dipped fat asparagus spears in a fritto misto batter and fried them up nice and crisp. Instead of a crunchy coleslaw, we served the fried chicken and asparagus with crunchy radishes pulled from the garden this morning. Our perseverance paid off—one delicious lunch!

 

 

We’ve been waiting not so patiently for spring vegetables to arrive—driving around looking, calling, and pestering our local markets. When will the asparagus be in? Scallions? How about fiddlehead ferns? English peas? It’s been hit or miss so far. Until today. We filled a bag with fat stubby purple asparagus, then the rest of spring’s bounty practically jumped into our cart. So, at long last, we prepared one of our favorite lunches to celebrate this time of year: A ragoût of spring vegetables with diced pancetta and lots of snipped chives. Vernal bounty awaits, so cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

Stopped at our local spice store to stock up our summer kitchen pantry. Inspired, we came back to the studio and roasted carrots in olive oil, salt, crushed cumin seeds, vintage Maras pepper, and za’atar. Then we tossed cooked beets in the same oil and spice mix. We stirred olive oil, za’atar, and Maras pepper into cool goat’s milk yogurt to serve with. Simply delicious.

 

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.