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Wet weather has returned to our valley. We’ve built a fire in the wood stove to chase away the dreary dampness. Thankfully, first thing this morning, we made a big pot of lamb and vegetable soup full of baby kale—the perfect antidote to a rainy day. We’ll eat our lunch in front of the fire today.


We’ve been dreaming of southwestern France and all their delicious food, so nothing would do but to make duck confit with potatoes Sarladaise. Bon appétit chers amis.

We baked a 20-pound smoked ham for Sunday lunch. Even though we fed a small crowd we barely made a dent in it. Happily/unhappily we’ll be eating ham for a week! But we haven’t had our fill yet, so it’s sliced ham with some of yesterday’s scalloped potatoes, crowned with a poached egg sprinkled with chives—an excellent way to ease into another week.


Chickpeas on chickpeas—a bed of hummus piled with whole chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs dressed with a lemony vinaigrette and lots of chopped chives. Enjoy your weekend.

There’s no denying that spring has arrived well ahead of schedule here in the Northeast. Early this morning we pulled some wintered-over onions from the garden. Then we walked up a country road in search of watercress that grows in a nearby stream—sure enough it was thriving. We waded into the cold water and harvested enough to simmer with the onions in some good chicken broth. Before we knew it we had a tasty watercress soup. Let the foraging begin.

Last week a duck fell into our hands. We knew just what to do with it. First we made duck leg confit Parmentier, then pan-fried the breasts until the skin was golden and crisp and the meat juicy and rosy and served it with slow-cooked apples. Finally, we made this rich duck soup that we infused with Chinese rice wine, ginger, and star anise, then poured it into bowls over rice noodles, napa cabbage, cilantro, and a little sliced ham. There is nothing left but the quack!


In honor of Shrove Tuesday, we’re following tradition, using what’s left in our larder, and filling up on pancakes of the French order: buckwheat crêpes with sliced ham, a fried egg, and grated Gruyère. Our devilish nature’s are in conflict with lenten fasting, but we’ll try.


It’s Presidents Day Monday and we’re pretending to be on a ski vacation warming our toes by the crackling fire in the big base lodge fireplace. After a morning of powder skiing we are filling up on big bowls of nourishing sopa de fideos. The soup is real, but it’s actually a quiet day by the canal today. The daffodils are halfway up and there’s not a speck of snow to be seen. For dessert we’re thinking of baking a cherry pie in honor of good old George. We’ve lost our minds. It must be the altitude.


Well, so much for self improvement. Leonardo Live was a little too Ryan Seacrest-meets-Monty Python for us—each expert a caricature.  But we did learn about Leonardo’s paintings, and hopefully a little refinement rubbed off on us and smoothed our edges. This morning we slathered Akmaks with our homemade hummus for a late breakfast. It ain’t art, but it sure is good.

We are off to see Leonardo Live tonight, so we are having a late lunch/early supper of grilled entrecôte with buerre maître d’hôtel, and a bright celery salad made with anchovies, preserved lemon, lemon juice, and really good olive oil. We need a little dose of culcha!

Paprika and caraway-braised short ribs with lots of onions, served with square Pennsylvania-Dutch egg noodles bathed in butter and parsley is our lunch on this cold drizzly day.

We are listening to The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs all day and eating red velvet cupcakes for lunch. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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