We could live on toast if the bread was always as good as NYC’s Sullivan Street Bakery’s. We’re making our way through a big loaf of their addictive truccione saré—two slices at a time—for breakfast with salted butter and our new batch of peach jam. And for lunch today with fresh ricotta and cherry tomatoes with lots of olive oil, parsley, mint, and salt and pepper spooned on top, and for dinner tonight…not sure just yet, we’ll see what we are peckish for after the sun is over the yardarm. But it will probably involve toast.
Here’s what we have been doing all morning. It’s peach-time. We headed up to Manoff’s Orchard and bought a big box of peaches for jam. Now the windows are open, fresh air is blowing through the screens, Big Joe Williams is lamenting so beautifully on the “radio”, jam is bubbling on the stove, and we are cruising through the rest of this Friday afternoon. Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
The kids are starting to peel off for the summer and head back to school. Today we had a farewell lunch for MH’s daughter—cold steamed lobster, hot french fries, and mayonnaise doctored with preserved lemon for dipping both. It was lovely. We sat at the table lingering over lunch, exchanging presents, stories, hopes, and dreams. If you make delicious food, the kids will always return to join you at the table. From our lips to God’s ear.
We are avoiding the hot sun and ants today by laying out our picnic lunch of cold fried chicken and succotash salad (green beans, corn, potatoes, and red onion tossed with olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper) on the long table by the air conditioner in the corner of the studio. Try to catch a breeze and stay cool!
Tomatoes have hit their stride—each one sweeter and juicier than the next. So today’s lunch was a handsome heirloom “big red” sliced over a plate to catch all the juices, as we peeled and sliced them. A spoonful of vinaigrette, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a plop of good mayonnaise is all we needed. (The avocados and basil were like earrings and a necklace on a beautiful woman, nice but not necessary.) Savor the summer, dear friends.
We cooked a pot of Maureen Abood Market’s peeled chickpeas last night to serve with a piece of cod for lunch today. But when we went to grab the fish from the fridge this morning, we discovered it had, inadvertently, been stashed in the freezer. No matter, we switched gears and served the delicious legumes with other “treasures” from the fridge–the last of the vegetables and aïoli from our lunch earlier this week. We’ll have the fish tonight with the leftover chickpeas, best surf and turf around. Be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
Seventeen years ago, we met over a grand aïoli, not in the south of France where it is a classic summertime feast, but, oddly enough, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (don’t ask). It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Today’s lunch is inspired by that memorable meal, all the vegetables gathered from local markets just across the Delaware River in Bucks County. We cooked the potatoes, zucchini, green and yellow wax beans, limas (not traditional), and eggs in salted boiling water and made a big bowl of aïoli to go with. A bowl of sugared blackberries for dessert made it in the photograph, but, alas, again, the platter of sliced tomatoes didn’t.
Today’s cool rainy weather made it feel like the first day of fall. Instead of panicking, we made soup. A warm cauliflower and chicken broth purée. We floated a piece of soft Gorgonzola piccante and cracked black pepper on each serving. It was a delicious first taste of autumn. But not so fast, please—warm sunny summer days return tomorrow.
It must be the height of summer—we’ve lost our taste for meat, just want vegetables, and the occasional piece of fish. Every meal these days involves corn and tomatoes. And now that the green and yellow wax beans in the garden are producing like mad, it’s succotash time. Thanks to a dear friend who stopped by with his sister and a lovely piece of fish, today’s lunch is the perfect summer meal: pan-seared pomfret, and a corn and bean succotash seasoned with chopped parsley, celery leaves, dill flowers, salt, pepper, good olive oil, and lemon. A platter of tomatoes showed up after we took the photo.
With one boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into 4 scallopine, we had enough to make lunch for four, but instead, it fed just us chicks. We seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, sautéed them with slices of lemon in olive oil over medium-high heat until just cooked through, and seasoned the pan juices with a splash of dry vermouth. We made a salad of parsley, mint, and arugula from the garden and tossed the leaves in a raw tomato vinaigrette. We ate every morsel, even licked the plates clean. Guess we better go for a vigorous walk later this afternoon.
We couldn’t get the flavor of yesterday’s summer pasta out of our minds, particularly the just-cooked tomatoes, so sweet and meaty. Walking into the studio today, we knew just what to fix for lunch today: We warmed 1/4 cup of good olive oil in a big skillet over medium heat, added 2 thickly sliced peeled tomatoes, and salt and pepper. When the tomatoes began to soften and warm (less than a minute), we slid them onto a serving platter, added a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes and chopped mint and parsley. Then we sautéed quartered fennel similarly, but longer, until it was tender and golden brown. We dressed the fennel in olive oil with a good squeeze of lemon. A slab of French feta married the fennel and tomatoes, and was something rich to sop up the delicious juices.
Here in the northeast gardens and farm stands are at their peaks—meaty tomatoes, plump string beans, juicy red onions, aromatic basil. We just stare at the vegetables and they tell us what to do. Here’s how we made today’s summer pasta lunch: Sauté a sliced red onion and a minced clove of garlic in good olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add a big handful of blanched, trimmed string beans and a chopped, peeled big ripe tomato (we scoop out the seeds, but you don’t have to). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is just hot, about 5 minutes. Add about 2 cups of cooked pasta (we used campanelle). Toss everything together and a little more olive oil wouldn’t hurt. Transfer to a platter and add some torn fresh basil leaves.