Early this morning we picked up our turkeys from the local farm market and finished our Thanksgiving grocery shopping. Tonight we’ll brine our birds and make our pie doughs—we’ll be halfway there. We have been on a jag cooking through Niloufer Ichaporia King’s My Bombay Kitchen (UC Press, 2007). She is “teaching” us about spices. So even though we are about to face never-ending turkey time, we roasted a chicken rubbed with Parsi garam masala and ate it with a little Fresh Turmeric and Ginger Pickle, all thanks to our muse Niloufer.
If you still need a few Thanksgiving menu ideas, click on our link: Life At Canal House
We started shopping for Thanksgiving today—got lots of celery for making turkey stock and stuffing, Picking up our turkeys tomorrow. We grabbed a little ribeye steak for lunch and chopped-up some of that celery, a few anchovies, a clove of garlic, and a generous slab of blue cheese into a crunchy big-flavored salad. In the spirit of the holiday we’d like to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you. Click this link Life At Canal House if you still need a few menu ideas. P.S. The persimmons are still not quite ripe! Maybe a persimmon pudding on Thursday.
The market had thick-cut Berkshire pork chops with a snow white layer of fat surrounding the rosy meat. We couldn’t resist, so we bought one—more than enough for the three of us (counting Henry, the studio dog). There already were some Brussels sprouts in our fridge’s vegetable crisper, big ones, so we plucked off the outer leaves and halved the tight interiors. It was a one skillet lunch—the chop browned, as the confetti of Brussels sprouts, sliced garlic, a handful of currants, and some crushed red pepper flakes sautéed in its rendered fat. It was a perfect combination of flavors and sensations: pork, fat, sweet, heat, and salt. Check back with us next week when we’ll be sharing all our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. And remember to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
On our morning forage, our little supermarket offered up a good looking bunch of bok choy and some shiitakes, so it was a stir-fry for lunch today. We sliced a half chicken breast, half a smoked pork chop, some scallions, the stems and leaves of the bok choy, and the mushrooms. We made a pot of rice and stir-fried everything, adding a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of Shaoxing wine at the end. We scattered fresh cilantro leaves on top and pulled out the old chopsticks. The persimmons are too beautiful to eat, so we feast on them with our orbs.
We’ve just returned to the studio after about a month and a half of travel, with a few brief home-base pit stops in-between: Kentucky, England, Seattle, San Francisco, Italy, Philadelphia, New York, Chestnut Hill, San Francisco (again), and New Orleans. Mostly it was work, a little play, but always fun and delicious. We were craving something warm, nourishing, and flavorful for lunch today. Something that would make us glad to be back, something good to ease us into our beloved work rhythm here at Canal House. We found poblano peppers at the market today, and country-style pork ribs. So we made a stew of them, with chick peas, whole cloves of garlic, and an unctuous yellow mole (from our friend Nacxi Gaxiola of Nacxitl.com) that we had in the freezer. These big bowls of the hot stew with wedges of lime and some cilantro has us gladder than glad to be back. The persimmons flew back with us from California where they were picked from our dear Napa friends’ back yard tree.
Hit Trauger’s Farm Stand on the way down the river and scooped up a big bag of fat, meaty Romano beans, a few Roma tomatoes, and a bunch of red scallions. Romanos are the meatiest beans around and late tomatoes are the sweetest. We tossed everything together in a tangle of fettuccine—eating doesn’t get better than this.
We slipped out for lunch yesterday, had ourselves patty melts at the local luncheonette, and talked about our Thanksgiving plans this year. The wet moody weather and the turning leaves turned us on. We discussed the merits of roasted vs rotisserie turkey, Brussels sprouts or string beans, sweet potatoes or/and mashed potatoes… Guess today’s lunch was subconsciously inspired by yesterday’s conversation. We roasted chicken wings, Brussels sprouts, and fingerling potatoes, and talked about Henry the studio dog (who, sadly, didn’t come to the studio today)—and how much we missed him. He’s definitely invited to Thanksgiving. We work everyday together and collaborate on all, but even so, we both love eating lunch together and talking—about our families, our plans, crazy things that happened. Invite a friend to lunch, dear friends, and linger a little longer at the table, the work will still be there when you get back—unfortunately.
A lazy Monday lunch on a busy day, but it sure caught the vibe—windows open, ceiling fan whirling, autumn light but summer warmth. We sliced a tomato, split an avocado, chopped two scallions, and divvied up the last of the Boursin. Every tomato we eat now feel like stolen riches, all too soon gone. Savor every moment of everything.
We bought a pile of corn to cut off the cob and squirrel away in the freezer for winter. We boiled the cobs and they yielded a delicate, sweet corny broth. Inspired, we decided to make succotash soup—limas, corn, green and yellow beans, and potato—enriched with a splash of half-and-half and an intense parsley butter. Head out to the farmers’ markets this weekend for the last of summer’s bounty. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
When you buy a whole duck and carve off the legs (as we did for lunch on Monday), you’re left with two choice parts—the breast and liver. So it’s duck for lunch again today. We seasoned the breast with salt and pepper and slowly browned it, skin side down, then turned it over, and finished cooking it until it was just rosy pink inside. The liver got the same treatment. A big escarole salad with scallions and a mustardy vinaigrette seemed a good fit. And so it was, with crisp cubes of pancetta. One of us likes duck liver, the other not so much. So extra pancetta went to the one who didn’t get the liver. We always try to be fair with each other.
We headed to the farm market early this morning to grab the last of the sweet corn, but the farmer was still out in the field picking. But the substitutions that we roasted for lunch—fat gnarly carrots (sweet as candy), dainty beets (that taste like delicious dirt), and calabaza squash (as rich as a filet minion) were better than corn. Must be the season.
After yesterday’s deliciously indulgent lunch of roasted duck legs and beans, today we are eating on the lighter side—a salad of escarole, avocado, tomatoes, scallions, and crisp bacon on a smear of Boursin cheese with a drizzle of good olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper, of course! (Full disclosure, we each ate a big bowl of leftover beans for breakfast.)
Back in the studio after a week-plus of driving and eating our way through the ravishing English countryside—Lancashire, Cheshire, Wales, Shropshire, Worcester, Gloucester, Somerset, Devon and Dorset—then on to London. This morning, the first day of autumn, was a chilly one, so it only seemed right that we start the season off right with roast duck legs, great northern beans cooked in rich chicken stock with lots of thyme, and toasted breadcrumbs. We ate very very well on our trip, but our own food tastes mighty fine to us. Glad to be back with you, dear friends.
The tomatoes are piling up. We’ve: cut them into wedges; sliced them; eaten them out of hand; layered them into BLT’s; anointed them with olive oil and vinaigrette; slathered them with mayo (our signature move); and whirled them into gazpacho. So today, we stuffed them with ground lamb, sautéed chopped onions and garlic, parsley, mint, and a squirt of harissa, then sprinkled breadcrumbs on top. They are so mouth-watering we’ll keep stuffing them—with different fillings—till there are no more on the vines.
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.
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