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It’s quiet, but we’re busy and both of us forgot to organize a lunch. So we are relying on our refrigerator to supply it today. Yesterday friend’s shared their avocados, today we’re nibbling olives from our friends at Divina. They import all good and delicious things from around the world and when you see an interesting olive bar, they are most likely the ones behind it. If we ignore the cold and snow (and pour ourselves a thimbleful of rosé) we might be in the South of France. Girls can dream, can’t they?

Our good friends, the Orr’s, have a beautiful avocado grove in Ventura, California. Fire, then devastating mudslides have razed much of the area recently. Undaunted, they picked these beautiful fruits, packed them up, along with limequats, and sent them off to us and some other lucky people. (They suggested we use for gin & tonics—we will.) To have these exotics arrive here in the frozen, snowy east is indeed a great gift. But even better, is this lesson of generosity and friendship. California sure knows how to grow ’em good. Thank you Orr’s for everything. Reach out to friends and family today, dear readers.

There was a late night run from the Delaware River to So Kong Dong in Fort Lee, N.J. for steaming bowls of pork and kimchee soondubu jjigae, the spicy soft tofu Korean stew served with pancham. We ate our fill then ordered more to bring back to the studio so we could do it all over again today. Sometimes, like everyone else, we get our best ideas in the middle of the night.

We just couldn’t stand it! We needed to taste something bright and green. So we blanched a package of frozen peas, then mashed them along with minced garlic, chopped chives, a little lemon zest, and buttery olive oil, then slathered the mash on some good toasted bread and sprinkled it with crushed Aleppo pepper. It worked—we scratched the itch—and we have some leftover for a few more toasts with this evening’s apéritif.

Today is practically balmy—monsoon like. So we opted for a cold lunch, our homemade gravlax, thinly sliced, on buttered pumpernickel. We seasoned simply,  Maldon salt, cracked black pepper, and a wisp or two of fresh chives. We’ll each take some home to: serve with drinks before dinner, for a snack on hard boiled eggs, and for Sunday morning breakfast on toast with cream cheese, scallions, and (what the hell!) winter tomatoes. Have a great weekend, and remember, dear friends, to cook something delicious for yourselves.

It’s been nothing but frigid temps, snow and sleet, about to rain cats and dogs, so  we made a big pot of Sunday Sugo—Braised pork ribs, short ribs, sausages and braciole with onions, garlic in Mutti’s tomato sauce. Simple as that but the resulting sauce will last us through Sunday lunch. Make a pot for yourselves, dear friends.

We wanted to take a break from chicken. So, the other day we went to grab a duck from the market. No duck! Geez, just a couple of weeks ago during the holidays, the markets were chockablock with everything wonderful to cook, including capons, geese, and ducklings. So we bought a big ham instead and now we’re set for eternity. We coated the ham with Dijon mustard and brown sugar and baked it for dinner one night. Now we’re eating ham sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today’s lunch was buttered bread, thick slices of ham, and a smear of Dijon mustard topped with a spoonful of pear saffron chutney (a holiday gift from our friends Kristen and John). Lots of ham left—let us know if you’d like us to send you some. Maybe it’ll last us until the markets are full again for the holidays.

We had a taste for red meat. So we went all the way and hand chopped two tenderloin steaks into steak tartar. We smeared dense pumpernickel with mustard caraway butter,  piled on the beef and garnished it with red onions, capers, anchovies, and some cracked black pepper. Not a hot lunch but it sure made us feel warm and satisfied.

Happy New Year, dear friends. We have been away working, moving, and more. Lots of good things to look forward to in 2018. We have moved up to an old railroad station in a small river town just north of our old studio in Frenchtown N.J. Its a beauty. Right now it’s more demo than reno, but we’ll get there by spring (crossed fingers). Then Canal House can come to life. Today we are eating beans—saving our shekels—with ham. Our luxury was a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a gift from our friend Peggy Knickerbocker. She is part of that gang that makes the elixir with Paul Bertolli. So pearls and burlap…kind of like us.

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