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A puddle jumper of a day. But hard to complain when April showers bring . . . you know what. Hopefully the wind doesn’t blow all the blossoms off our little apple tree. We hung basket bird houses in the hopes that our feathered friends might set up house in our garden. But not today. Above The Station swallows and hawks alike were all goofing with the wind—soaring and swooping and gliding through the air. We made another simple salad for lunch and ate it al fresco, under the overhang of the porch, and watched the air show. Better than the Blue Angels (no disrespect).

Even when the news is so dire, when you head outside and see what spring is serving up you can forget for a moment and just feel happy. As often happens, not much on the list got accomplished. But more importantly, that wild, windy lunch will be long remembered.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

CH: Today was a refrigerator salad day. We really needed something green. There was a half a bag of washed baby spinach, a couple of pretty Castelfranco leaves and a few Little Gems, half a bulb of fennel, scallions, chives, toasted pecans, and two hard cooked eggs. Everything got chopped, minced, or sliced. I searched for bacon, but there wasn’t a rasher to be found. But way in the back of the fridge was a little container of vinaigrette, so that was a good find. The salad was easy, quick, and pretty darn delicious. 

But it would have been better with bacon! 

CH: Late yesterday afternoon Steve R. came knocking at the back door. He set a small brown paper bag down on the table. Inside there were a handful of tiny morels that he had just foraged—the first that we have seen this season. What a lovely gift. We traded him some grapefruit marmalade (the grapefruit had been a gift from our California friends, the Orrs). That’s how it is: give and get, get and give. And most importantly, never keep track. Of course ironically, the giver usually ends up getting the greater gift. And about those morels . . . we scrambled some eggs and sautéed the morels in butter with some scallions and a tiny clove of garlic. Simply delicious. This time we won the prize.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: My husband had a craving for canned peaches. Specifically, canned yellow peaches from our local orchard, Manoff Farm Market. So, why not, we made a quick trip to the market, a beautiful drive through the countryside, got to say hello to Amy Manoff from a safe distance (lovely), and picked up a few cans of her peaches packed in syrup. When I was telling CH about our safe outing, I joked that I was going to make that classic diner item, cottage cheese served with canned peaches, she laughed, said she’d never seen it on a diner menu, but that it was something her beloved grandmother used it make. 

CH: Chicken salad with little lettuces and a nicely cooked egg for lunch today. I folded together lightly poached chicken, minced scallions, the grated rind and juice of a small lemon, a diced, peeled Honeycrisp apple, and a spoonful of mayo and same of sour cream. Of course S & P seasoned everything. MH’s lunch of cottage cheese and fruit did remind me of my grandmother who served exactly that as a first course for our evening meal. Sometimes pears, sometimes mandarin oranges, but my favorite was a canned peach. I guess both of our lunches are diner-ish, but if so, please send me the directions to that diner. Simple and familiar rules the day.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: I roasted a chicken for dinner last night and served half of it with soft buttery polenta. We could have polished off the whole bird, but held back to make a cold chicken and string bean salad for lunch today. I sliced the breast and topped it with the jellied pan drippings. That could have sufficed, but it’s the green sauce I spooned on top of that that made lunch especially delicious. We have many variations on green sauce, but here’s the one we just used: Put 1/2 cup pitted meaty green olives, 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, 1 small bunch chopped scallions or chives, 1 garlic clove, 6 anchovy filets, and juice of half a lemon in a food processor. Purée, drizzling in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in about 1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon rind, if you have some on hand, and 1–2 tablespoons capers. Adjust seasonings. Spoon this versatile sauce onto fish, vegetables, scrambled eggs, a plate of pasta garnished with grated parmesan and toasted bread crumbs, sliced fresh mozzarella, boiled potatoes…Happy Earth Day. 

CH: Once again while separated by distance we are traveling on the same wavelength. I also used up some roast chicken by tossing together a filling with mushrooms, leeks, roast chicken (natch!) then folding it into pastry for turnovers.

There sure are a lotta ways to cook a chicken!

Happy earth Day. Eat well, stay healthy—please.

Even with our new regime, Friday still feels like a Friday. So we decided to break out and make something completely different for lunch and dinner. Melissa’s husband Hugh has a wonderful family recipe for Chinese dumplings. When word is out that he is filling and folding I make sure that I am close by with my bowl and chopsticks. Today I carefully followed his recipe, made a few test bowls for lunch, then divvied up the rest of the filling and wrappers. Half to MH and Hugh, and the rest will go home with me. TGIF, we’re having a zoom dumpling party tonight.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: Nothing wrong with leftovers. CH and Nash with their rigatoni for lunch the other day sounded mighty fine to me. I’m still in Easter leftovers world and loving it. Today, it is a bowl of cold “fresh” pea soup with a dollop of chive whipped cream garnished with more fresh chives from my garden snipped on top. Thanks guys!

CH: It’s hot soup weather. A pale, weak sun, a blustery wind makes it feel like what it is, early spring. The previous warm spell kind of faked us out. We are serving a zesty carrot ginger soup for our Sunday Dinner. So this was a practice run. After eating this big bowl, I feel like a kid again—raring to get outside in the fresh air and run around. Ginger will do that (and more) for you.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: We were fortunate enough to have Easter dinner leftovers. Yesterday, I polished off the deviled eggs and the extra onion tart. Today, I had one of my favorite combinations for lunch: sliced cold roast lamb and doctored mayonnaise (Hellman’s seasoned with fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and s&p) with a salad of green beans and cannellini vinaigrette. I wish I could have shared this with dear CH and Nash—not sure whether it would be coals to Newcastle or welcomed by the shoemaker’s children.

CH: Sunday afternoon, after “serving” 60 take-out Easter lunches (with all the trimmings), Nash and I dove into a bone-cold bottle of Tattinger’s best bubbles. MH drove up so we poured her a glass and we all toasted from afar. So good being together, but not too close.  After a delicious rainy day off (reading books), we are back figuring out our next move. Our lunch at The Station today was last night’s leftover rigatoni in marinara sauce with sausage. True confessions—sauté the meat, from 4 sweet Italian sausages slipped out of the casings, in a skillet, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add 1 jar of Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, salt and pepper, and a splash of good olive oil and simmer for about 15 minutes. While the sauce cooks, boil a pound of rigatoni. Toss the drained pasta in the hot sauce. Shave a lot of Parmigiano over everything. Lunch or Dinner in 20 minutes and there are always leftovers. And what’s better than cold tomatoey pasta right out of the fridge for breakfast.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: Last night I fried four chicken thighs for dinner so I could have two cold ones for today’s lunch. I was thinking maybe a little picnic, just as simple as can be with a couple of pickles for sour and crunch. But it’s too blustery, so I stayed safe inside, watched the occasional snow flurry from the kitchen window, and treated myself to a thimble of rosé to sip with lunch. And why not? Happy Easter weekend, everyone.

CH: Once again, two people sharing one brain. MH had chicken and a pickle, while Nash and I grabbed Ritz crackers topped with sausage swiped with Dijon and a cornichon. Without conferring, we both had a craving for pickles (well who doesn’t?). But really it was the mustard that made it such a great bite. Even the simplest snack can really hit the spot. Cook something delicious for your Easter Lunch and try to sit down at the table, if you can. We’ll be with you in spirit.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

Scrambled eggs for lunch today. We never seem to tire of them. Thank the Lord. But you know what those look like. So instead of a food pix, we send you a mixed bouquet of spring flowers on the kitchen windowsill. They are a little garish in color and nothing goes together. Don’t they look great—a feast for the eyes.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

MH: In honor of Passover today, I wanted to make matzo ball soup. But with no matzo boards or matzo meal in my pantry (and no going to the supermarket to get some), I made the next best thing with what I did have on hand. I warmed up a quart of golden elixir (a rich clear chicken broth with a flavorful layer of chicken fat that rests on top; we make it all the time and it’s great to keep a stash in the freezer for times like this). Then I simmered fresh cheese tortellini in the broth until they were plump and tender. It had so much flavor I didn’t need to add another thing. This evening, I’ll join my side of the family celebrating Passover, virtually. I know they’re having homemade matzo ball soup (as delicious as my tortellini in brodo). Happy Pesach!

CH: Nash and I are on our second week of making marmalade—it’s process intensive. But we keep going because we tell ourselves that “we work in The Marmalade Factory”. So that’s what our jobs are—juicing, de-pithing, slicing, soaking, making muslin packets of pith to add pectin, cooking and reducing, boiling, sterilizing, filling jars, processing in a hot water bath, then setting. Whew! We wolfed down two bowls of not-very-good leftover something. Tonight we are having fried chicken! We’ve got to keep up our strength.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

Today Nash and I took our lunch into The Station’s dining room in a move towards civility. We wish it had been a table for three, but MH was handling all manner of business dealings from home while we’ve been here organizing things for our special take-out Easter Lunch. Seems like we’ve been eating a whole lotta beans, bread, and pasta and though there have been long walks we must get back into salads! But since it was there, we polished off the last of the Bolognese sauce. As it usually goes with most diets, we decided to start tomorrow.

Eat well, stay healthy—please.

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