Today’s lunch: Copper River sockeye salmon anointed with Villa Bisini Gambetti’s extra-vecchio balsamico (aged over 25 years) and local asparagus dressed in an extra-virgin olive oil with an equivalent pedigree. Cooking is easy when you are lucky enough to land the best. We don’t wear the latest fashions. There’s not a diamond between us. But we sure know how to eat well.

 

Come on Spring, make up your mind already! Memorial Day is right around the corner, so we’ve been busy letting out our bikinis, ready to slather on the Bain de Soleil. And then today dawned cold and rainy. Nothing to do but comfort ourselves with cannellini cooked with pork belly, served with cracklings and lemon. Now our outlooks and dispositions are sunnier. However, we may have to add a little elastic to the bathing suits.

 

This morning we jumped in the car and drove up the river on the Pennsylvania side to Trauger’s, a wonderful old farm stand where we found big fat asparagus (just like we like them) and baskets of ripe red strawberries (that actually smelled like strawberries). Then we drove over the Milford/Upper Black Eddy bridge into New Jersey and on to Bobolink Dairy for a hunk of  their full-bodied, creamy cheddar. It was just one of those shining mornings and we felt like the luckiest kids on the block to have the freedom to take this excursion. So the menu was decided, a cheese soufflé and asparagus vinaigrette. It was a birthday lunch for one of us. Cook something delicious for yourselves (maybe a soufflé and asparagus) this weekend, dear friends.

 

Too hot to cook today. It feels like a sirocco is blowing through our little river town. Definitely not the day to cook coq au vin. So other than frying up a few rashers of bacon, we played it cool with the stove. We are happily munching a BLT salad. It hit the spot!

 

Grilling season is upon us (it’s expected to reach into the 90′s today), so we made a big fresh batch of our teriyaki sauce—enough to fill a couple of bottles for the studio, and to take home for our families. We brush it on grilled salmon, spareribs, chicken, and hamburgers, spoon it over asparagus and rice, and into charred eggplant (the smoky against the sweet is Heaven). Heck, sometimes we sip it by the spoonful, we love it so much. But we’re too short on time today to fire up the grill for lunch, so we spooned it over bowls of silken tofu with lots of chopped chives and their blossoms. Our version of ambrosia.

 

 

Yesterday, we had two packages of chicken thighs in the fridge. We pan-fried one of them, along with thick slices of slender zucchini, for our lunch. Unfortunately, a long phone call distracted us from the task at hand and by the time we hung up, lunch ended up a dark shade of “burnt”—we choked it down. Determined to fix yesterday’s best intentions, we pulled out the other package of chicken thighs today, dredged them in flour, and deep-fried them until crisp and golden crisp. Then we dipped fat asparagus spears in a fritto misto batter and fried them up nice and crisp. Instead of a crunchy coleslaw, we served the fried chicken and asparagus with crunchy radishes pulled from the garden this morning. Our perseverance paid off—one delicious lunch!

 

 

We’ve been waiting not so patiently for spring vegetables to arrive—driving around looking, calling, and pestering our local markets. When will the asparagus be in? Scallions? How about fiddlehead ferns? English peas? It’s been hit or miss so far. Until today. We filled a bag with fat stubby purple asparagus, then the rest of spring’s bounty practically jumped into our cart. So, at long last, we prepared one of our favorite lunches to celebrate this time of year: A ragoût of spring vegetables with diced pancetta and lots of snipped chives. Vernal bounty awaits, so cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

 

 

Stopped at our local spice store to stock up our summer kitchen pantry. Inspired, we came back to the studio and roasted carrots in olive oil, salt, crushed cumin seeds, vintage Maras pepper, and za’atar. Then we tossed cooked beets in the same oil and spice mix. We stirred olive oil, za’atar, and Maras pepper into cool goat’s milk yogurt to serve with. Simply delicious.