We found a lovely piece of wild South East Alaskan king salmon hiding in the freezer. Guess it is used to the cold. We rubbed it with salt and coarsely ground black pepper and seared it in a cast-iron skillet. It formed a crisp crust, while the flesh was lovely and tender. A green sauce was a piquant foil and a gratin of swiss chard from the garden added an earthy note—surf and turf. We’ve been eating too well. Tomorrow it’s sliced tomatoes and lettuce with lemon dressing.

 

The chanterelles have dried up for now, they’ll come back. But the chicken of the woods are in full force. We braised them in butter with sweet onions, garlic, and fresh parsley, and finished everything in heavy cream. We served them with fat, slippery pappardelle. We say chanterelle who?

 

The garden’s first zucchini presented itself today. It must have been hiding under a leaf; if not, it grew five inches overnight because we swear it wasn’t there Sunday morning! So we sliced it into coins, and with the leftover corn on the cob from this past weekend, and some starchy potatoes from a nearby roadside farm stand, we made a quick sautéed succotash. To round out our lunch we peeled our golf ball-size tomatoes, barely poached them in olive oil, then added a handful of chopped fresh tarragon. Heaven, on this beautiful summer day.

 

 

We’re having a quintessential, old-fashioned soup for lunch on this sunny summer day: cold jellied beef consommé with diced tomatoes and finely minced tarragon & chives, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

 

 

Poor us, chanterelles again—well, ’tis the season. We are going to eat them until we are sick of them. Never! Just a package of chicken thighs, some little potatoes, a few strands of parsley, salt and pepper, and of course, a pile of golden chanterelles made this memorable meal. As Rumpelstiltskin might have said, “It’s pure alchemy.”

 

This morning, the farm stand had two big bins of corn, white and bicolored. We went for the bicolored but would have preferred old-fashioned yellow corn had it been available. Today’s white corn tastes like sugar water. We prefer yellow corn’s meaty starchy kernels and naturally balanced sweetness. We peeled and sliced a tomato, added feta, a little crumbled crisp bacon, chopped chives, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Just Irish butter and s & p for the corn. Couldn’t be simpler. Couldn’t be better.

 

It couldn’t be simpler,  it couldn’t be harder. All you need are dead-ripe tomatoes, vigorous basil, a clove of good garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, extra-virgin olive oil, bucatini, and parmigiano-reggiano. This morning the tomatoes spoke to us, “Pick us, we’re ready.” And they didn’t lie. So we made our summer pasta, the one we make every year. The hard part has been waiting for the tomatoes to hit their stride. It was worth the wait.

 

The garden giveth again! The first of the tomatoes are finally ripe. We chose the best, then rubbed them onto crunchy  toast, adding a good drizzle of olive oil and some coarse sea salt. They were cooks’ treats that we munched while we sautéed chicken thighs and boiled plump green and yellow wax beans that were just picked this morning. Guess this cooler weather (77° and about to rain) has spurred on our appetites (which never seem to need much encouraging).

 

 

Day four of Foraging Lunch: We saved a small pile of chanterelles from yesterday’s adventure for today’s lunch. While they were sautéing, we foraged around next door in our neighbor’s hen house for some eggs and found three. So it’s finely scrambled eggs in lots of butter atop the meaty mushrooms for our lunch to end this hot week. Stay cool this weekend, dear friends.

 

It’s bloody hot and dry out there, this day three of Foraging for Lunch. No rain, no ‘shrooms. We almost struck out this morning–our usual special spots were bare! But luck was on our side. We finally found our chanterelles in a hard-to-get-to spot deep in the woods, up a steep slippery bank. So, lunch today is two cool salads: Steamed chanterelles tossed with chewy croutons and an herbaceous vinaigrette. And peeled and sliced red, ripe Jersey tomatoes anointed with big spoonfuls of parsley sauce. We are just going to eat our way through this heat wave—why change now.

 

It’s day two of Foraging for Lunch. The woods revealed more chanterelles and the garden gave us young dandelion greens and tiny wild sorrel—so what else to do but make open-faced sandwiches. We toasted some good white bread and slathered on mayonnaise. Next came delicate, crisp slices of Applegate’s Sunday bacon, then wild greens tossed in good olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, and finally the pièce de résistance—mushrooms sautéed with garlic and parsley, with a splash of rosé. Dear Lord it was good, if we do say so ourselves. As we munched through the crunchy bread, the bacon shattered, the greens fell off the bread, and the juicy mushrooms dribbled down our chins. We hid behind our napkins, not saying one word, just savoring every bite in silence. Ain’t we the lucky ones.

 

The hot, monsoon-like summer weather here on the East Coast has us in the woods every day gathering bagfuls (yes, bagfuls) of big, meaty chanterelles. It almost doesn’t matter which woods we hit, nature is so bountiful this year—the chanterelle bonanza is on! We sautéed this morning’s find in butter and olive oil with a pinch of red pepper flakes and lots of chopped parsley and tarragon, then tossed them with Pennsylvania Dutch square egg noodles. We are foraging all this week so stay tuned for tomorrow’s lunch…