We’re back from Northern California but still dreaming of a lunch of sweet Sharlyn melon with Meyer lemons, plucked right off the tree, and smoky speck from Fatted Calf Charcuterie in Napa.

 


Flying to San Francisco… we’ll send lunch from there!

 

Cold roast beef sandwich with ripe avocado, a slice of beefsteak tomato, salt and pepper, and a slather of mayonnaise on ciabatta

 

Our secret little summer salad: wedges of very ripe tomatoes with really good olive oil , chopped fresh chives, salt and lots of cracked black pepper, a big delicious spoonful of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and a crust of bread to mop up all the juices. We like to eat this in private so that we can be as messy and greedy as we like—someone once licked the bowl, but we won’t say who.

 

Fresh San Marzano-New Jersey Tomato Sauce: Into a heavy pot go tomatoes from the garden (not even all that red ripe) along with a splash of water and olive oil. Cover the pot and simmer them until they collapse. Crush what’s left of them against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon to release the flesh, juice, and seeds. Add a little more olive oil and some salt. Spoon the brothy, bright, tomato sauce over cooked store-bought gnocchi. Drizzle with a little more olive oil on top, and sprinkle with some grated parmigiano-reggiano—very simple, very delicious.

 

Cold Green Lentil Salad: Lentils, the meat from a fresh ham hock, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and lots of chopped fresh chives and parsley

 

Feels like September, cool and warm at the same time. We are sitting in the sun having a lunch of cold carrot soup with nutmeg and cinnamon, a swirl of yoghurt, and a scattering of chives, and sipping a little glasses of apple Lambic. Life is good.

 

The basil’s gone all leggy, so we gave it a good haircut and made pesto with the trimmings. We’d almost forgotten the unstoppable flavor of this simple uncooked sauce, until that is, we took our first forkfuls.

 

It’s the Monday scramble so we are eating a light lunch a little late—miniature plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, torn up herbs, and buttery olive oil.

 

Too many zucchini and tomatoes? Make our peak-of-the-season cooked and raw vegetables—summer squash and their blossoms poached in fragrant extra-virgin olive oil, poured over raw, peeled and quartered tomatoes, and scattered with chopped fresh herbs.

 

We are eating our bean harvest (we grew them up from,well, beans!). We simmered the beauties in water until they were tender, then dressed them with warm extra-virgin olive oil, sage leaves, and salt and pepper—fagioli in umido.

 

Chicken breasts gently poached in broth, cooled, dressed with homemade tarragon & chive mayonnaise, and scattered with a handful of wild arugula

 

We are spending our lunchtime outside today. The garden giveth, so we harvest(eth). Beautiful fresh borlotti beans on the menu soon.

 

We fight fire with ice—a hot “soupy day” (92% humidity at 6am), calls for a refreshing cold soup. We keep our cool with bowls of chilled Potato & Celery Soup with big dollops of whipped cream and lots of minced chives.

 

A pile of full-on ripe tomatoes cried out to be whirled into a gazpacho with toasted bread crumbs. We complied.

 

California dreaming of Seafood Louie—bay shrimp and crabmeat folded into Louie dressing on Bibb lettuce with peeled ripe Jersey tomatoes

 

Canal House chopped salad: romaine, ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumber, crunchy fennel, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, celery leaves, chives, and parsley all dressed with fresh lemon juice and really good extra-virgin olive oil

 

Cold spaghetti with raw ripe tomato sauce, parsley, chives, and ricotta salata

 

Mediterranean summer salad—cold crisp cucumbers, romaine leaves, and ripe tomatoes, with a big spoonful of earthy hummus drizzled with really good extra-virgin olive oil