Happy New Year, dear friends. We’ve been, like college kids on Winter Break, away from the studio since just before Christmas. We ate well over the holidays, but not so much that we feel the need to go on a post-holiday cleanse. What punishment that would be when it’s so cold outside and all our bodies really crave is something warm, that fills our tums, and sticks to our ribs. Today for example, a perfect lunch that does all three: chunky Italian sausage, mushroom, and tomato sauce spooned over soft, buttery polenta. A “spag-bol” of sorts. We each started out with a dainty serving, then went back for thirds. Feels good to honor what your body asks for.
We cooked a Christmas lunch for all the hard-working, talented men who have been transforming The Canal House Station in our new home. Normally, they eat in the midst of scaffolding, ladders, and saws but we hid all the boxes and general disarray of a construction site and set a nice table for them. We laid out relish trays with breadsticks, salami, prosciutto, olives, carrots, and celery. Then we served them lasagne Bolognese and garlic bread, followed by a chicory salad with orange segments and fennel. It was sea salt caramel and Madagascan vanilla gelato with Christmas cookies for dessert. It was a big success on all sides. We ate our lasagne in the kitchen. Then we did the whole thing over again for the Early Bird Espresso & Mercantile team’s Christmas dinner. As always the giving is always better than the getting. Cook something delicious for yourselves this holiday weekend, dear friends.
Craving something crunchy for lunch, we fixed ourselves a celery and radicchio salad, added some richness with a few hard-boiled eggs, and dressed all with a garlicky anchovy vinaigrette. Now we’ll be able to have second helpings of eggnog at this weekend’s holiday parties. Eat, drink, and cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends. After all it’s the holidays.
One would think the skirt steak tucked away in our freezer might have inspired our choice for lunch today, but it was actually the head of radicchio in our fridge. How delicious the bitter leaves would be tossed with a garlicky vinaigrette and served alongside the richness of a seared steak? Then we got to thinking that a “special sauce” of mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, and salt and pepper would taste awfully good with that seared steak. So we defrosted the steak and by lunchtime we were sitting down to a lovely little lunch accompanied by a couple of fingers of red wine to wash said deliciousness down. Get in the spirit of the season and remember to make something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
When we rolled into the studio this morning, we each arrived with a little something for today’s lunch. One brought three handsome red bell peppers and the other brought one pound of beautiful ground lamb. So lunch was decided for us—lamb and rice stuffed peppers. We added onions, golden raisins, cumin, and coriander to twirl the dish up. It was the perfect thing to eat on this cold day. Afterwards, we took Bob, the new studio dog, for a walk around town and looked at how people have decorated their houses for the holidays. Maybe we’ll both get around to buying Christmas trees this weekend. Gotta get in the spirit of the season!
The cupboard is bare, save for a head of cauliflower hiding behind a carton of out-of-date milk. Of course we always have a few strands of pasta, some parsley, capers, and a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano. We found a little box of saffron threads, too. It all added up to fettuccine with sautéed cauliflower. Seasoned with butter, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt it tasted pretty good. Yet another version of stone soup.
In honor of Hanukkah, we made latkes for lunch. Such a simple recipe: grated Russet potatoes, finely chopped onion, egg, salt, and pepper mixed together, shaped into disks, then fried in oil. We fiddled around with the recipe, as we are wont to do: with grated raw potatoes, grated par-boiled potatoes, even frozen grated par-boiled potatoes. In the end it didn’t really matter, they all were delicious and got us into the spirit of The Festival of Lights—to never be afraid to stand up for what’s right; to perform good deeds; to always strive to be better; and to remember that even one candle can light the darkness. It’s not our holiday but we embrace all that it stands for.
A recipe in the New York Times last week caught each of our attention, but we never got around to mentioning it to each other, there were too many other things going on. This morning CH had some soaked chickpeas she hoped to cook for lunch today and started telling MH about a recipe she’d recently seen for chickpeas and coconut milk. MH practically finished CH’s sentence, saying she’d seen it too and was dying to make it. So we did, and send thanks to Alison Roman for her Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric. Simply delicious.
It is quite cozy in the studio, but dark and dreary outside, at one point it was sleeting! We ladled hot carrot-ginger soup into two bowls, then added plops of sour cream and handfuls of chopped scallions. It was the very lunch for a day like today. To fill out the meal we added turkey sandwiches, which one of us ate with gusto and the other nibbled around the edges, it was the very last of the Thanksgiving turkey. Enough turkey already, the finicky one said. Remember to cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.