Feels like January thaw here today. Snow is sliding off the roof and landing with a crescendo onto the towpath below. We run to the windows each time praying no one was hit by the “avalanche”. While we were on snow patrol, a falcon landed on a branch of the mimosa tree across the canal. Inside, we sat by the fire and ate bowls of chicken and rice with collard greens. Bundle up, get out there, and be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.
Early this morning there was a quiet knock on the door; then in walked neighbor Tama Matsuoka, Meadows + More, with a big box of black trumpet mushrooms, craterellus cornucopioides, straight off a plane from California. What an extravagant gift! We could hardly wait for lunch—mushrooms on toast, to understate the glory of it. We ain’t got a barrel of money, but with generous friends like Tama, we are eating like kings.
We braved the storm to get back to the studio from Washington, DC where we poured 650 Maker’s Mark sidecars and cooked a dinner for 26. After that, we weren’t a’scared of no puny blizzard! But so good to be home with a fire crackling away in the wood stove, Teddy Thompson on the air waves, and a delicious lunch of broccoli rabe, chipolatas and orecchiette on the table. Join us in spirit and eat something wonderful today for lunch.
A brown paper bag filled with apricot-colored hedgehog mushrooms, Hydnum repandum, arrived at our door yesterday. This gift showed up just as we were refining our preparation of mushroom ravioli for our Sips & Suppers dinner next week in Washington DC, (sipsandsuppers.org is a benefit that raises funds for Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen.) Hedgehogs are very similar in color, texture, and flavor to chanterelles, that’s a good similarity! We had some for lunch today simply sautéed in olive oil and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. They were so meaty and delicious we may just have to reconsider serving them with pasta!
Reduced a big pot of beef stock flavored with aromatics, the likes of star anise and ginger root, down to a broth so rich it made our lips sticky. We added scoops of starchy short-grained rice and lacy cilantro leaves. Our lunch tasted like bowls full of love, and we all need that in this big, crazy, uncertain world. Cook something delicious for yourself this weekend, dear friends.
We went down into the cool, dark root cellar today and filled our aprons with beets, carrots, and parsnips harvested from our vast vegetable garden this fall. Oh snap, that’s right, we don’t have a root cellar and last time we checked, we only have a narrow balcony with an even narrower herb box. It’s okay to dream a little to keep this subzero weather from messing with one’s head, isn’t it? Back to reality. Today’s lunch (procured from our fridge’s vegetable drawer) is roasted beets, carrots, and parsnips tossed in olive oil, cumin, and crushed chile, served with a delicious garlicky yogurt. (We pretended we were eating big bowls of hot pasta. Okay, we have lost our minds.)
The mercury has dropped and the canal just below our studio is literally freezing over before our eyes. It is mesmerizing to watch the flowing water freeze into ice floes that stack up on each other. The meatloaf we made this morning was just coming out of the oven when there was a knock on the door. A couple of friends, who had been out walking, stopped by to warm up and invite us out to lunch. We convinced them to join us instead for today’s old-fashioned meal: meatloaf (made with ground beef and Italian sausage meat), stewed tomatoes, and peas with salted Irish butter. Stay warm, eat well, and keep your strength up, dear friends.
We cooked our goose today—the wild goose, that is, that our hunter friend gave us over the holidays. We seasoned big cubes of the very lean meat with s & p then browned them quickly to keep them rosy and tender. But it was the cabbage, cippollini, apples, and lardon braised in a delicious gamay from Bow & Arrow that really made this wintery dish.