We are eating a simple dish of red wine-braised short ribs and fresh fettuccine by the fire today. There is a big pile of wood stacked next to the Franklin  stove which is working all day warming the place and adding good cheer.

 

Today’s lunch is ham steak with a dijon mustard brown sugar sauce and thick slices of country bacon—porc sur porc. We served it with a bowl of Alabama grits and a little green salad. The last blowout before the new year.

 

We are off to snowy Vermont and rainy Illinois respectively, to spend the holiday with our nearest and dearest. We toast all of you dear readers, and hope that your festivities are the very very best. See you next week for Christmas leftovers—happy, happy…merry, merry.

 

We pulled up the last of the scallions and gathered a big handful of parsley-celery leaves from the garden this morning and added them to a quick, bay shrimp pho. We added lots of fresh ginger, some rice stick noodles, and served it with a big, juicy wedge of lime.

 

 

We roasted a whole chicken in a deep, heavy pot, in a hot oven with a little water, some “late-harvest” spring onions, a couple of garlic cloves, a big nob of butter, and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Then, instead of mashed potatoes, we made a dish of freezer succotash to soak up all the rich delicious pot liquor—a very fine lunch to ring in the holiday week.

 

 

On the way to NYC, so today, before we jump in the car, it is a quick lunch of pan-fried shoulder lamb chops with garlic and rosemary (still growing in the window box) and an iceberg and radicchio salad with a lemony vinaigrette.

 

We often keep a pot of brothy beans in the refrigerator at the ready. So, today, we’ve warmed up some plump barlotti, drizzled them with really good extra-virgin olive oil, piled sautéed baby kale on top, and served this deliciousness with crunchy hunks of toast. We are eating our greens to build ourselves up for the upcoming holiday debauchery.

 

Ripe tomatoes are long gone, so chicken stands in for them in our take on a panzanella salad with parsley, lemon juice, really good  olive oil dressing, and torn hunks of toasted bread.

 

Sunday dinner’s leftover lamb shows up for our Monday lunch with cannellini dressed in a lemony shallot vinaigrette, aioli, and a few cornichons.

 

Super sweet little white sweet potatoes with crisp cubes of guanciale, salted Irish butter, black pepper, and fresh chives—TGIF.

 

 

We cooked dinner for thirty-five the night before last. There were (happily) leftovers, so we’ve been eating high on the hog for the past couple of days. Today’s lunch is an embarrassment of wild shrimp with pickled celery, garnished with celery leaves and chives, and drizzled with California Ranch’s truly special 2011 Limited Reserve extra-virgin olive oil.

 

The fall lunch of all lunches—guinea hen braised in red wine with chestnuts and cipollini, washed down with a splash of Wyatt 2009 pinot noir. We are dozing at our desks.

 

It’s a late lunch today of sprouted brown rice with shrimp in an umeboshi (Japanese salty pickled plum) dressing.

 

A nearby farmer grows baby red Russian kale and our local bakery, Crossroads, makes big delicious boules of country bread and they both sell at our farm market. So we’re being good locovores today, good for them and lucky for us. We drizzled a buttery olive oil on thick slices of toast, made a lemony vinaigrette with parmigiano-reggiano, then tossed the kale, along with a handful of currants, in the dressing. The greens got even better as they wilted. It is a great time of year to cook.

 

White fingerling sweet potato, ginger, and scallion soup, all dolled up with sesame-pickled scallions and tiny nasturtium leaves

 

 

Today’s lunch is the Canal House version of the great classic Waldorf Salad—roasted chicken breast, Honeycrisp apples, currants, capers, and pecans dressed in a lemony mayonnaise and garnished with minced chives. We made a salad of deliciously bitter escarole and little, peppery nasturtium leaves that we plucked from our balcony window box.