When we look out the window these gray skies fool us into believing it is bitter cold out there, but actually the weather feels like Jakarta’s. So we have been making soups—and not cold gazpacho nor vichyssoise—good hearty potages. There was an enticing fairytale pumpkin at a farm stand and we couldn’t leave without it. Back in the studio we roasted it, scooped the deseeded flesh from the skin, then whirled it up with chicken stock, sautéed onions, and lemon. When we were plating it, we grabbed light instead of heavy cream and it spread out on the surface of the soup in a very unattractive way. We pulled a spoon through it, then swirled up a soup that looks like Florentine marbled paper. That was a happy accident. Hope the rest of the week goes that well. For you too.
The week started off chilly and damp, definitely soup weather. Though it has gotten warmer, it’s still soggy and a bit dreary, and we’ve been making soup for dinner all week long: chicken vegetable; split pea and ham hock; fall squash; bok choy and spinach in ginger broth. Today we made a silky smooth cauliflower soup for lunch. We sweated onions and a little garlic in some olive oil, added saffron threads, marash red pepper flakes, cauliflower, and some good stock to the pot. When the cauliflower was soft, we whirled everything together in a blender until smooth, then served ourselves big bowls of the soup, garnished with a little melted saffron butter and lots of black pepper. Soup weather. At this time of year, it’s a nice way to ease on into cool weather cooking.
Early this summer, CH gave MH a fig tree to plant in her garden. It was a scrawny thing, kind of Dr. Seuss-like, lanky with a couple of floppy leaves on top. By August it had filled out a bit and even developed tiny fruit. Last week we picked the first ripe fig from the fledgling tree, and today our second. It made a dainty breakfast for two, along with a little piece of Roquefort drizzled with local honey. Despite the rain, the figs keep ripening. Maybe next week there will be two ripe at the same time—then we’ll feast!
Today’s lunch—a plate of sliced beefsteak tomatoes and chopped basil dressed with warm olive oil, salt and pepper. Seems the best summer eating is in the (almost) fall. We head home from Long Island’s dreamy North Fork. Back to our own watery valley with the mighty Delaware River. Remember to cook (or slice) something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
Sometimes, when we’re on the road, as we’ve been this week, we eat like dogs and can’t wait to get back to the familiar and reliably good rhythms and flavors of home (and studio). We lucked out this week—shooting, cooking, and eating everything that Ned Baldwin (chef owner of Houseman in NYC) makes for the cookbook he and author pal Peter Kaminsky are working on together (working title: 5 Ways: Master a Basic Recipe and See Where It Takes You (Houghton Mifflin, 2020). Oh yeah, out on the North Fork of Long Island. We gave Ned a break today and made lunch—a simple salad of chickpeas, string beans, and torn radicchio and parsley leaves tossed with a soft-boiled egg enriched parsley vinaigrette. Canned tuna served on the side. Fingers crossed the boys like what we made(!).
Day four of Hummus for Lunch. Seems that this week we have been starting with olive oil, sliced onions, and garlic but this time we threw in some chopped anchovies. After the onions were soft, we added chopped kale and a splash of white wine, and cooked them until they were tender. Then we spooned the greens on top of thinly spread hummus. Our finishing seasonings were olive oil (for richness), crushed red pepper flakes (for spiciness), and salt and pepper (because they are the king and queen of all seasonings). Now the hummus is all gone (that was a whole lotta hummus for two girls to consume) and we are fit as fiddles. Thank you Michael Solomonov for 5-Minute Hummus from Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious. Whatever will we have for lunch tomorrow?
Day three of Hummus for Lunch. There’s really nothing to whipping up quick delicious lunch when you have hummus in the fridge and farm stands are brimming with lovely thing to cook. On Saturday we bought okra from Plowshares Farm at Milford’s new farm stand at The Potager 17 Bridge—right across the street from our train station! Aren’t we the lucky ones? So we cooked up a mess of okra and spooned it on top of the aforementioned hummus, a match made in heaven. Only enough hummus for one more lunch. Then on Friday, maybe let’s all skip out of town early and go for a swim. Gather ye rosebuds . . .
Day two of Hummus for Lunch. Sauté sliced onions and garlic and in olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Peel and slice a ripe tomato, then remove and save their seeds and jelly. Strain the seeds and jelly through a sieve into a little bowl, then make a nice dressing with olive oil, salt, and pepper (no need for vinegar, the tomatoes water has enough acidity). Plop several large dollops of hummus (remember yesterday?) onto a plate then spread it out into thin layer. Add the onions and tomatoes and spoon the dressing over everything. Add some basil leaves if you have some on hand. Season with more salt and pepper. Tomorrow, okra and hummus.
Yesterday we got ready for the unofficial end-of-summer-week and whipped up a batch of our friend Michael Solomonov’s 5-Minute Hummus from his “almost” hot off the press book—Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious, Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 16, 2018). Now that we have our stash, we can dress it up with different toppings. Today we sautéed sliced onions and cauliflower in olive oil with a little fermented chile paste, then tossed in some fresh parsley leaves, added a sprinkle of sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. A pretty exotic lunch for little old Milford, New Jersey. Let’s keep it going, there is plenty more hummus!
One of us is out in the world running errands. The other is in the studio nailed to her chair working on the computer. But on this beautiful day, we’d both rather be floating down the river in inner tubes and stopping on an island for a picnic. Instead, we ate simple salads of baby kale, ripe tomatoes, diced prosciutto, and sunflower seeds—what they used to call a health salad! Seems that now, at the end of the summer, there is very little “cooking” going on and a lot of slicing and eating. Have a great weekend, and remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends
It’s been a week of friends stopping by bearing the fruits of their (and their chickens) labors: a dozen just-laid eggs; a sack full of enormous chanterelles, and dead-ripe heirloom tomatoes. Wish they could have stayed for lunch, but their visits are just long enough to say hello, then they’re off on their way. So it’s just us two having a delicious blue plate special today: olive oil-fried eggs, pan-fried tomatoes, and sautéed chanterelles.