Lamb chops with lemon and muhammara (spicy roasted red peppers and ground walnuts) for lunch today. Served with no napkins, so we can lick our fingers clean. Off to Sips & Suppers in Washington, DC for the rest of the week. We’ll send word from there.

 

 

A brown paper bag filled with apricot-colored hedgehog mushrooms, Hydnum repandum, arrived at our door yesterday. This gift showed up just as we were refining our preparation of mushroom ravioli for our Sips & Suppers dinner next week in Washington DC, (sipsandsuppers.org is a benefit that raises funds for Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen.) Hedgehogs are very similar in color, texture, and flavor to chanterelles, that’s a good similarity!  We had some for lunch today simply sautéed in olive oil and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. They were so meaty and delicious we may just have to reconsider serving them with pasta!

 

Tuna ventresca, anchovy-stuffed olives, and green beans in a tangle of pappardelle just may be our favorite off-the-cuff lunch. We prepare it simply with only good olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Why gild the lily?

 

Chicken thighs braised in their own juices with a spoonful of homemade tomato sauce, and a handful of Castelvetrano olives could only get better if, say, the dish was served on soft polenta. See if you agree. Heaven.

 

Reduced a big pot of beef stock flavored with aromatics, the likes of star anise and ginger root, down to a broth so rich it made our lips sticky. We added scoops of starchy short-grained rice and lacy cilantro leaves. Our lunch tasted like bowls full of love, and we all need that in this big, crazy, uncertain world. Cook something delicious for yourself this weekend, dear friends.

 

We went down into the cool, dark root cellar today and filled our aprons with beets, carrots, and parsnips harvested from our vast vegetable garden this fall. Oh snap, that’s right, we don’t have a root cellar and last time we checked, we only have a narrow balcony with an even narrower herb box. It’s okay to dream a little to keep this subzero weather from messing with one’s head, isn’t it? Back to reality. Today’s lunch (procured from our fridge’s vegetable drawer) is roasted beets, carrots, and parsnips tossed in olive oil, cumin, and crushed chile, served with a delicious garlicky yogurt. (We pretended we were eating big bowls of hot pasta. Okay, we have lost our minds.)

 

The mercury has dropped and the canal just below our studio is literally freezing over before our eyes. It is mesmerizing to watch the flowing water freeze into ice floes that stack up on each other. The meatloaf we made this morning was just coming out of the oven when there was a knock on the door. A couple of friends, who had been out walking, stopped by to warm up and invite us out to lunch. We convinced them to join us instead for today’s old-fashioned meal: meatloaf (made with ground beef and Italian sausage meat), stewed tomatoes, and peas with salted Irish butter. Stay warm, eat well, and keep your strength up, dear friends.

 

We cooked our goose today—the wild goose, that is, that our hunter friend gave us over the holidays. We seasoned big cubes of the very lean meat with s & p then browned them quickly to keep them rosy and tender. But it was the cabbage, cippollini, apples, and lardon braised in a delicious gamay from Bow & Arrow that really made this wintery dish.

 

We slipped down to the studio to work today (town is pretty quiet save for the folks on holiday strolling about). Uncertain of what we’d find in the refrigerator, we brought with us a frozen block of rich chicken stock for lunch—if nothing else, we’d drink mugs of hot broth throughout the day. Turns out the fridge was bare, but the pantry yielded San Marzano plum tomatoes and short-grain rice. We always feel lucky when, with just the fewest ingredients, we can make something nourishing and delicious—like this tomato-rice soup.

 

It’s nearly impossible to get anything done with all the holiday rush swirling around. But there’s always enough time for lunch. To keep up our stamina, we pan-fried a ham steak and served it alongside scrambled eggs with meaty sautéed American matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare) from Northern California—a rare and delicious gift from our friend Tama Matsuoka.

We are off to buy last minute presents, deliver our homemade goodies, and spread Canal House good cheer. ’Tis the season, so remember to cook some of your own family recipes and start some new food traditions too. Enjoy every holiday morsel—happy happy, merry merry, jingle jangle, dear friends.

 

We stopped at our local bakery—Crossroads Bake Shop in Doylestown, PA—to get a cup of coffee this morning and decided to grab a ball of their pizza dough for today’s lunch. Henry, the studio dog, is loosing his tiny little mind while we eat our clam “pie”. Don’t know if the peperoncini, olive oil, parmigiano, parsley, and thyme will agree with him. They sure do with us!

 

Leftovers for lunch today. MH had a little dinner party on Monday night, so she brought the remains of two poached chickens with turnips, parsnips, carrots, and leeks in her big orange Le Creuset pot. CH sliced the meat off a whole breast then re-heated it in the jellied pan juices. She sautéed the veggies in butter with the very last parsley and thyme from the balcony. Hope MH has another party soon.

 

French onion soup is an alchemic elixir. When a couple of sliced onions, a splash of red wine, and some broth transform into the most luscious lunch we’ve eaten in a long time, that is saying something! It is the perfect antidote to this dreary day. Hope the sun is shining where ever you are.

 

We got hungry—after all, breakfast was only half an avocado. So for a late, light lunch we braised wild salmon, escarole, and peas in dry vermouth and Irish butter.

 

This morning’s breakfast: the last of our stash of California avocados with California Olive Ranch’s 2014 Limited Reserve olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, crushed red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

 

We defrosted a batch of bolognese and a few frozen sheets of pasta stashed in the back of the freezer for just such an occasion. All that was left to do was to whip up some balsamella and grate a little parmigiano. Then, before we could say,  ”How about a deconstructed lasagne bolognese”, we were sitting down to the best lunch in town (if we do say so ourselves). Cook something delicious for yourself, dear friends.

 

Snowing off and on all day, so something melty on something crunchy sounded good. We dragged out the old toaster oven and toasted whole wheat bread rubbed with olive oil and tomato, then melted slabs of Taleggio seasoned with tiny dried pepperoncini on top. An escarole salad dressed with a walnut oil vinaigrette seemed the perfect accompaniment. It appears to be clearing up now.

 

Lunchtime came with a roar today—we were starving. So we seared two chicken breasts in butter with a little olive oil, then added capers, pitted Castelvetrano olives, and lemon juice. Before we knew it we were scarfing down Chicken Piccata alla Casa Canale.

 

We went all out and made beef stew with prunes and pearl onions served over steamed grated cauliflower (instead of rice in hopes of saving a few calories). Both of us were quiet as we ate lunch, savoring the succulent beef. One forgets how good long-braised meat tastes. It takes time, but that’s what makes it so damn delicious.

 

We roasted the last of our Winter Luxury pumpkins for lunch today and served it with white sweet potatoes and chickpeas simmered in delicious Maya Kaimal Vindaloo Sauce. What a wonderful way to start the week.

 

We were all set to have a late breakfast of steak & eggs, until there was a knock on the studio door. Our friend, the artist Joan Evans, stopped by to show us some of her extraordinary jewelery pieces. The visit lasted into the early afternoon, by then we were all getting mighty hungry. So breakfast turned into lunch for three today: a pan-fried flat-iron steak with lots of salt and pepper and eggs fried in pimentón-seasoned olive oil. Cook something delicious for yourself this weekend, dear friends.

 

We seared a skirt steak, spooned some canned “chipotle peppers in adobo sauce” on top, then served it with a perfectly ripe avocado. Now we’re talking. The combination of the smoky heat from the chiles with the juicy steak and rich avocado beats waiting on line at Chipotle any day! Buen apetito.

 

 

Last week the icebox was a treasure trove of goodies. This week we are down to gravlax and eggs. (Poor us—low on champagne; outta caviar!) Time to head to the ol’ store to replenish the larder. Maybe beef stew tomorrow, it better suits this dreary weather.

 

One of us is fit as a fiddle; one of us is under the weather. But both of us are grateful for our lunch on this wet, snowy day—big bowls of rich turkey broth with turkey meatballs and fennel. As the last offering of the Thanksgiving bird, this delicate elixir is both prevention and cure.

 

Cyber Monday—what the heck? It’s Thanksgiving Monday in our world. That is, sliced turkey sandwiches for lunch. We like ours on white bread (ciabatta, because that’s what we found at the Farmers’ Market) with lots of Hellman’s mayo, Bibb lettuce, salt and pepper, and avocado (because we still have a few left from the box our nice friends sent to us from California). Bet you all know just how good these taste.

 

We picked up our Thanksgiving turkeys this morning and finished the last of our grocery shopping—looks like snow’s a-comin’. Now the birds are brining—generously seasoned with kosher salt, tightly wrapped in plastic and safe in the refrigerator for the next two days). We almost bought turkey sandwiches for lunch while we were out, but decided to hold off for our very own best day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches. So it is hamburgers with avocados instead. Gobble gobble!

 

 

Early last week we received a box of unripe Haas avocados, a gift from our southern California friends, the Orr Family, who plucked them right off the trees in their backyard. Wow! There’s almost nothing we love more than these rich, flavorful beauties. We laid the avocados out to ripen and this week they’re ready to eat. (We’re thinking we may just carve them up and serve them for Thanksgiving this year instead of roasting a bird.) We begin our avocado feasting today with tortillas filled with chopped parsley salad and crisp bacon, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, a few chile flakes, and salt and pepper. We are grateful for the generosity of friends.

 

It may come as no surprise that after cooking pots of beans all week long, our fridge is stocked with containers full of delicious leftovers—three varieties of beans to be exact: garbanzos, Christmas limas, and Sangre de Toro. So today, we made, yes, a three-bean salad (a rarity for us) and dressed it up in a garlicky shallot vinaigrette. Served with slices of avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and radicchio and Bibb lettuce leaves that ubiquitous salad became a fine lunch. Stay warm and cook something delicious for yourself, dear friends.

 

 

Lunch today is big mahogany-colored, chestnut-flavored Christmas limas and Tuscan kale cooked with bacon and onions. We seasoned our earthy dish with Lior Lev Sercarz’ spice blend, Cancale N° 11—fleur de sel, fennel, and orange peel. This flourish made it downright elegant.

 

Today’s lunch—day three of a week of beans—is pan-roasted wild salmon and dense, meaty sangre de toro beans. To “spice” things up a bit, we added a fiery dried red chile to the earthy beans as they simmered and softened in the pot liquor. If this isn’t the ultimate surf n’ turf, then we don’t know what is.