This morning in the center of our fishmonger’s ice-packed case was a tub of gleaming, silvery-skinned, fresh anchovies. We couldn’t resist. We bought the little devils, dipped them in milk, dredged them in flour, then deep-fried them. They’re almost better than a pile of French fries. Almost.

 

 

 

It rained so hard today we had to dry our boots by the wood burning stove. To take the chill off, we dove into the freezer and found some harira we’d stashed away for just such a day.  We pulled a couple of chairs next to the fire and are now happily slurping big bowls of the Moroccan lamb and lentil soup garnished with preserved lemons.

 

 

Lillie Anderson comes to visit Canal House from time to time. She is only 11 years old but she got the cooking bug! Pasta is her specialty. Last year she made rigatoni with ham and peas, but now, a year older and wiser, she has a greater appreciation for subtlety. So it’s a swirl of pappardelle, bathed in cream and parmigiano-reggiano, with peas and scallions. Lillie suggests you serve it with plenty of cracked black pepper. We think she should quit school and come and work with us here at Canal House.

 

 

Joanna and Marc Michini of Purely Farm in Bucks County, PA, raise organically pastured chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb. They are dedicated to sustainable agriculture, the humane treatment of animals, and an organic way of life. We are devoted customers. We bought a big fresh ham steak from them that we pounded out until it was almost as big as a platter, then schnitzelized it and fried it in our biggest pan. We believe in the Austrian lore that a man should be able to sit on a schnitzel, and not have grease stains on his pants. Though we demurred from actually sitting on our lovely lunch, it didn’t look or taste the least bit greasy. So it is a good day, with a lunch of pork schnitzel, mashed sweet potatoes, and peas with mint and parsley. Tonight’s  dinner will be a cup of pu-erh tea.

 

It’s a big platter of pan-fried chicken thighs with caper berries and pancetta for lunch today. It is such a mild, pretty, spring-like day, maybe we’ll take it outside and soak up a little vitamin D while we eat.

 

Rainy drizzly day so we’ll tuck into a big pot of polenta with a big  spoonful of luscious ratatouille.

 

We’ve gone to the dogs. It’s been a long hard week, so we made ourselves chocolate hazelnut spread (homemade Nutella) and slathered it on toasted baguette for lunch—let it all hang out.

 

Today’s lunch is sole meunière smothered in a pile of peas and chives, and bathed in lemon butter sauce, served with a sip of ice-cold Petite Arvine.

 

Michelle Fuerst is hanging out with us today. We had some pizza dough on hand and she made a pizza with fresh mozzarella, paper-thin lemon slices, fresh rosemary, Ceringola olives, and Aleppo chile pepper, draping it with prosciutto after it came out of the blistering hot oven—the girl can cook. Buon appetito!

 

We’re eating late today, a boned branzino stuffed with Meyer lemons, cooked on a bed of potatoes, garlic, and thyme. Have a lovely weekend.

 

We want to build a fire, layer up the sweaters, sip mugs of hot cocoa, but no can do—it’s a bitter 60° here! So instead we’ll make a spring salad with artichoke hearts, frozen favas and peas, a tiny dice of ham, and arugula leaves from somewhere south of the equator where it really is spring. Guess January’s the new April.

 

This may be our favorite (and most delicious) we’re-too-busy-to-cook lunch. We pour a few glugs of really good extra-virgin olive oil into a large skillet, add slices of garlic that we sauté for a minute, then we pave the pan with sliced potatoes and chorizo that cook  until the potatoes are tender and the sausages have released their smoky pimentón-flavored oil. In go eggs beaten with a little cream and we slide the skillet into a hot oven to finish cooking. Faster to cook than to write about! We flip it onto a board and cut big wedges for ourselves. Hot or cold it never fails to satisfy us.

 

For lunch today (and most likely dinner, too), a first-cut beef brisket seasoned with salt, pepper, and pimentón, braised on a bed of onions and garlic, in a sauce of ketchup and sherry vinegar sweetened with raisins.

 

We had a pile of perfectly ripe avocados begging to be mashed, then spread on slices of 12 grain bread, and anointed with really good extra-virgin olive oil, a generous sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, and a squeeze of Meyer lemon—we happily obliged and wolfed them down.

 

Chile Guajillo and pork stew with scallions and cilantro, served with cornbread.

 

We ordered take-out for ourselves today: big containers of  shrimp wonton in a soup which we “doctored” with a ginger-chicken broth, some baby peas from the freezer, and lots of chopped fresh chives. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

 

 

Now, we know this isn’t a good way to start off our New Year’s regime but, we need to hit the grocery store to restock the larder—it is pretty slim pickings in there. We always have pasta, butter, milk, and a hunk of sharp cheddar, so it’s mac n’cheese for lunch. We’ll have water and two lettuce leaves for dinner as penance.