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.

 

Every spring, CH’s sweet neighbor, Bill Cahill, makes several drops at her front door: gardener’s gifts, bags of tender lettuces from his garden. These young leaves—rocket, oak leaf, butter, and Little Gem—have so much flavor that they only need the lightest touch of the subtlest vinaigrette. We splurged, paired our salad with two confit of duck legs, and ended the week with great panache. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

 

Asparagus season at our local farm market came to a close last week. Sigh. We nearly had our fill. But we’re not complaining (trying not to, anyway). Now the market’s bins are full of the sweetest strawberries, fat unblemished English peas, bunches of radishes, and spring bulb onions. So we made ourselves a quintessential spring lunch today: radishes with butter and sea salt, sucky peas (thank you Niloufer Ichiporia King!), dill-roasted salmon with our Canal House lemon-butter sauce, and poached onions. Strawberries for dessert. And glasses of rosé to wash everything down.

 

 

Our lunch is vegetarian today, not that we have anything against meat, it’s just that the vegetables are beginning to come on strong. We poached succulent spring onions then marinated some in agrodolce sauce, made a two bean salad—green beans and cannellini—with a parsley vinaigrette, and added a soft-cooked egg with lemon. Eat yer vegetables, kids!

 

Lunch today—slow-cooked pork, kale, and onion tacos garnished with cilantro and scallions. We each ate two and split a beer to boot. What a great way to finish up the week. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

We had a hankering for Wolfgang Puck’s great chicken salad from his Santa Monica restaurant, Chinois on Main. But it was too far to go for lunch. So we made it from memory, with shredded poached chicken, lots of crunchy greens like Napa cabbage, romaine, chopped fennel, scallions, and aromatic cilantro, all tossed in a rice vinegar and sesame-flavored dressing, then garnished it with strips of fried wonton skins. As we munched and crunched through the salad, the sun broke through the clouds—California dreaming.

 

A wonderful cool rainy day. The perfect rain to restore our parched gardens. And for us, we are treating ourselves to a lunch of Paula Wolfert’s Chicken Tagine with Prunes and Almonds from The Food of Morocco (HarperCollins Publishers, 2011). The deep rich flavors of cinnamon-steeped prunes and chicken and onions braised in cumin, turmeric, and ginger—with fried almonds for crunch—have us sending Paula our love and gratitude.

 

We both had a delicious weekend and now on this rainy Monday we are going all “caloric” on you. Lunch is a diet-plate-special turkey burger made with lots and lots of chopped cilantro and green onions, and splashes of shoyu and sesame oil. We tossed crisp little lettuces, from Blue Moon Acres, in a mustardy vinaigrette. What a righteous way to start the week.

 

We are encouraging our “cut and come” patch of sorrel in the garden. If we trim it right, it may keep growing for months. The sorrel leaves added a bright lemon flavor to the creamy egg noodles we made for lunch today. And of course, we are still savoring every spear of asparagus that we can find. End of the week already—it was a short and sweet one. Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

First strawberries of the season for lunch today. And nothing more.

 

 

A friend of ours had a surplus of cold boiled lobster (can imagine such a plight?), so he laid two big crustaceans on us. Guess what we had for lunch on this muggy May day—a “summer” salad of cold lobster and potato salad with a mayonnaise vinaigrette, green beans, and hard-cooked eggs with butter lettuces. Oh yeah, and we split a Fuller’s London Pride. Supposed to rain this afternoon. Who cares, we’ll be napping.

 

We didn’t satisfy our burning hunger for crisp cold fried chicken and Canal House potato salad with preserved lemon over this long glorious weekend. So it’s day-after Memorial Day redux for lunch today. Jump into summer!

 

We knew yesterday we’d make pizza for lunch today. We had the dough defrosting in the fridge. However, when we got to the farm market this morning to get more asparagus (no, no, we haven’t even come close to having our fill of the grassy beauties), we were delighted to see they had fiddlehead ferns, too. So we grabbed both. We’ll hang onto the asparagus to eat later this holiday weekend. Our pizza today: steamed/sautéed fiddleheads with scallions and slivered garlic in olive oil, and a little crushed red pepper flakes and salt to bring up the flavor. Have a wonderful weekend. Walk, swim, hike, frolic, but most of all, remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

Pretty sure CH had a good b’day yesterday, full of beauty and deliciousness. A mystery NYC walkabout included: a stop at 57th Street’s Marlborough Gallery to behold their wonderful collection, a quick visit to the terrific new Whitney Museum (we ran out of time, there’s so much to see!), and a celebratory dinner at “Untitled”, Michael Anthony’s new place at the museum. Chef Anthony has a magical way with vegetables, and so, duly inspired, we landed on this for lunch today—delicate asparagus fritto with masala-seasoned yogurt. Were we in heaven yesterday? Nope, just in good old/new NYC.

 

 

A light lunch—cold poached cod and asparagus with a parsley-preserved lemon mayo and scallions—before we head off to NYC to attend the cookbook release party for Korean cooking sensation, Maangchi. Fun! Tomorrow a day of hard work: a mystery birthday walkabout-the-city for CH. Where we goes, only MH knows. We’ll report back on Thursday.

 

 

We couldn’t wait for lunch, so we had breakfast instead—corned beef hash and poached eggs. This is a good way to start the week—better than Wheaties.

 

We are on asparagus hiatus today—but only because we’re all out! We had a pot of boiled beef short ribs in their aromatic broth tucked away in the back of the fridge, and some scallions, a couple of limes, and bunches of fresh mint and cilantro in the vegetable crisper. It was all we needed—including a ripe Hass avocado—to make a bright-tasting cold shredded beef salad dressed with olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, for today’s lunch. Tomorrow, we’ll be back in “grass”. We’ll hit our favorite farm stand for piles of fat asparagus spears to feast on this weekend. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.

 

 

We had a craving for ham and cheese sandwiches this morning. So while we were out running errands, we grabbed some prosciutto cotto, a slab of gooey taleggio, a crisp baguette, and a bundle of fat asparagus (instead of potato chips). We believe in feeding the need, and this idiosyncratic spring lunch sure hit the spot. Off for a quick walk on this lovely day; remember to do something just for yourself.