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The other day we made a big batch of Pork Stewed in Guajillo Chile Mole (Canal House Cooks Every Day, page 198). It has been sitting outside in the cold on the balcony. As with most long-cooked complex dishes, it just keeps getting better—richer and deeper as the days go by. Today, we fried yellow corn tortillas, then filled and folded them around rice, pork in mole, avocados, and cilantro leaves. Lime added bright flavor to this luxurious lunch. Cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

We simmered 2 pieces of beef shank in some homemade chicken stock along with 1 parsnip, 1 carrot, 1 shallot, some parsley stems, and 3 star anise. The resulting broth was lip-smackingly sticky and rich with favor. We added a tangle of udon—Japanese wheat noodles—and slurped our way through this most satisfying of lunches.

The contents of our vegetable drawer—1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1 handful of green beans, and 3 collard leaves—plus 2 scoops of sticky rice and 3 cups of really good homemade chicken stock added up to two big bowls of delicious, fortifying vegetable soup. We are ready to take on the world.

CH’s husband is not a cook. But he has come up with a darn good salad. Now we are a trifle snobby when it comes to salads. We like them simple, not too many ingredients, just tender leaves lightly dressed with very good olive oil and our own red wine vinegar. Well Mr. H’s salad is anything but that. It is really of the “everything but the kitchen sink” school—sturdy romaine leaves, salad olives, scallions, croutons, a cherry tomato or two hiding under a leaf, served with spoonfuls of caesar dressing. It satisfies the crunchy, salty, tangy, and slightly sweet that we must be craving. What is your favorite “special” salad of the moment? Don’t hold back, reveal all.

It’s a mite chilly here in the northeast. This morning started out at -1°, and many cups of hot coffee later it has only inched up to 14° (though it still feels like -1°). We decided we wanted/needed a hearty meal after hauling armloads of firewood up the stairs to the studio—the old Franklin stove is doing its best to keep us toasty.  So it is a braise of cabbage and collards with chicken and spicy sausages for lunch. Bundle up and keep warm; and cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

Remember Hamburger Helper? We defrosted a package of ground beef this morning, not quite knowing what we’d make with it. We poked around the studio and the fridge and found an onion, some garlic, a couple of carrots, and two russet potatoes. Just the “helpers” we needed to make this satisfying shepherd’s pie.

Pan-seared turkey cutlets, steamed hedgehog mushrooms, sticky white rice—got teriyaki sauce, got lunch.

Seems that these days we’ve been digging in frozen places for things that give us warmth. This morning, for instance, it was the wood pile and the freezer. It took til noon before our fireplace was really throwing out some good heat. And by then, the frozen blocks from the freezer had all defrosted so we could make lunch—big loose sheets of pasta folded over a sweet/savory squash filling, with crisp bacon, and a shower of parmigiano. Now we’re finally warm, inside and out, dozing in our chairs when we should be writing. Oh well, it’s Friday. Be sure to cook something delicious for yourselves this weekend, dear friends.

CH brought a chicken to the studio today. And a package of lentils. MH rummaged in the fridge and found a fat carrot in the vegetable drawer and a barely preserved lemon from the batch we recently made. While the lentils and carrot simmered on top of the stove,  the now spatchcocked chicken, rubbed with olive oil and red-chile salt, roasted in a hot oven. We served them together, with torn fresh mint leaves, so all their flavors could mingle.


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