A friend of San Francisco friends, Michelle Fuerst, a chef with impeccable credentials, just recently moved to Princeton. She stopped by to introduce herself and to have a little chat, and as it often happens, the chat turned into a long talk. We just jumped in, and talked and talked all about Food, which is to say, all about life. What we liked and didn’t like, what we believed and didn’t believe, and the real pleasure of being in a kitchen, cooking. How for us, it is an atmosphere more conducive to meditation than a quiet room and the lotus position.  And, of course, she didn’t come empty-handed—no food person ever would. Wrapped with pale grosgrain ribbon tied in a bow, she handed us an Ecuadorean artisanal chocolate bar and bottarga from Cortez, Florida—her newest discoveries. But we all laughed at such incongruous ingredients. So today we’ll unwrap the chocolate, break it in half, brew a pot of coffee, and call it lunch.

 

Last night’s leftovers of beef brisket with onions makes an encore for today’s lunch on a soft potato roll—it’s an even better performance!

 

Enough already with the turkey! It’s time for some good red meat, so today’s lunch is pan-fried thin, shoulder lamb chops and potatoes with fresh rosemary.

 

 

The very best part of Thanksgiving is the day after, leftover turkey sandwich. We like ours on good white bread slathered with mayonnaise, a little turkey gelée, and cranberry sauce, a leaf or two of crisp lettuce, and a pile of thinly sliced breast meat seasoned with lots of salt and pepper. A cold glass of milk is our beverage of choice, although there may be a splash of  last night’s champagne left in a bottle (with a small silver spoon hanging in its neck to preserve its precious bubbles) on the door of the refrigerator—better stick with milk.

 

Piquant spicy pork and veal meatballs over rice for lunch today, then we’ll fast until dinner tomorrow!

 

We cooked a little pre-Thanksgiving turkey for ourselves, then made a potato and turkey broth soup with the leftovers. It is a cold dreary day here, so we set the table in front of the fire, ladled the soup into two bowls, and along with crunchy toast and crisp escarole salads, we had a lovely lunch.

 

Cramming five work days into three this holiday week, so today it’s a quick lunch of sautéed greens and bacon with a poached egg on top.

 

It’s seared skirt steak, buttered spinach, and french fries for our lunch today.

 

We have packed up the Canal House kitchen and are off to NYC to teach/cook at the illustrious De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy’s Herald Square tonight. The menu is from our new cookbook, with a couple of old favorites—Suppli al Telefono, Shrimp and Pickled Celery, Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Guinea Hen with Cipolline & Chestnuts in Red Wine, Chocolate Chestnut Torte, and Agee’s Pecan Pie. We’ll have to catch lunch on the run—oh dear, what will it be? We’ll let you know.

 

We are feeling a bit pudgy today so lunch will be a simple omelette with minced fresh chives and a sprinkle of fleur de sel, washed down with a thimbleful of La Patache, 2006, Medoc Bordeaux.

 

 

Locally cold-smoked salmon with lemon olive oil, a squeeze of Meyer lemon, and minced chives and cilantro on handmade corn tortillas—olé

 

Seems like you can never find small, fresh okra at the market—the ones they usually sell have grown way too big, and are tough and fibrous—so we often rely on frozen. But surprise, surprise, we found three little cardboard cartons of “just right” sized okra (3–4 inches long) waiting for us at the grocery store. We made a rich vegetable stew of chickpeas, tomatoes, and okra and added lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint a few minutes before serving to brighten all the deep flavors.

 

Many years ago our friend Frank Vitale made this delicious dish for us, one that his Italian father used to make. It went right into the recipe box filed under Mr. Vitale’s Lamb Neck and Green Bean Stew.  It couldn’t be simpler and practically cooks itself. After a long time in a low oven, the beans become so soft they almost melt into the rich tomato sauce and the lamb turns fork tender. We’ll divvy up the leftovers for the weekend. We honor Veterans Day.

 

After the first frost, we pulled beets from the garden’s cold dirt. We washed, roasted, then whirled them into a warm velvety soup of outrageous color—sweet earthy deliciousness. We hope it puts the roses back in our cheeks.

 

We harvested the last head of red cabbage from the garden before the hard frosts come on and made our version of hot dogs and sauerkraut: Veal bratwurst with vinegar-briased red cabbage; Dijon mustard; no bun

 

 

Of all the squashes the kabocha is our current favorite. Their rich meaty flesh is reminiscent of chestnuts (another fall flavor we favor).  We serve our kabocha squash roasted, then dressed with really good olive oil, a scatter of finely diced preserved lemon, and fresh oregano leaves. With little glasses of apple lambic to sip, we feast on the bounty of this beautiful fall day.

 

Spent Sunday cooking up a big pot of Bolognese sauce. We took some to a friend who’s been under the weather—we believe it to be better than pharmaceuticals. We’ll feast for the week, and still have some to stash in the freezer for a snowy day.

 

Pan-grilled quail with red wine-braised chestnuts and kabocha squash

 

It’s school lunch today—grilled Gruyère, fresh California dates, and bacon sandwiches on crusty olive bread, with cornichon and pickled onions. We’ll be good and have apples for dessert, even though our stash of Halloween candy calls.

 

Homemade pasta with pan-roasted butternut squash and prosciutto finished with a generous handful of grated parmigiano-reggiano

 

Fried breast of chicken (with peppery milk gravy on the side) and mashed potatoes with a big handful of chopped fresh chives