It’s been rain, rain, and more rain; so our summer grilling has been curtailed. Between the downpours we slipped out and grilled/smoked some spareribs rubbed with cinnamon, pimentón, caraway and fennel seeds, and salt and pepper. While they cooked, we boiled some eggs, made a bowlful of old-fashioned potato salad, and cracked open a jar of cold dill pickles. If this is Friday’s lunch, imagine the possibilities for the weekend (speaking of which, the predictions are for sunny skies). Cook something delicious for yourselves, dear friends.
We bought a big green cabbage to make coleslaw for an outdoor gathering last weekend. The menu changed at the last minute, so the cabbage has been rolling around in our fridge all week long. We’ve lost our taste for coleslaw for the moment, and instead are craving something with a deeper flavor, something to go with the tender cannellini we cooked earlier today. So we quartered the cabbage, put it in a deep Le Creuset pot, added a grated fresh tomato, olive oil, a branch of fresh sage, pepperoncini, salt, pepper, and a splash of the cannellini bean cooking liquid. We covered the pot and roasted the cabbage until it was tender and sweet, then served it with the cannellini, spooning the juices from the pot on top. Who knew cabbage and beans could taste so good?
The Delaware River valley is as lush as a tropical rain forest these days. Passing thunder showers and downpours have been soaking the landscape for the past week and it is forecast to continue for yet another week. Looking on the bright side, rain makes mushrooms. So we slipped into the woods early this morning, to one of our secret spots, and sure enough (though one can never be sure), we found enough golden chanterelles for today’s lunch. We sautéed them in butter and olive oil, seasoned them with chopped parsley, salt, and pepper, and served them alongside scrambled eggs. We love eggs showered with shaved truffles in the late fall and early winter, but this humble combination is one of our favorite summer treats.
All year long we wait for this season when the last of the spring vegetables give way to summer’s bounty: shucked English peas; baby white turnips (sweet as candy); small, firm yellow squash and zucchini (plus two pinky-size zucchini); spring onions; a not-quite-dead-ripe tomato (peeled of course); zucchini flowers; and a handful of foraged chanterelles. We let the vegetables sing their own song, doing nothing more than blanching or stewing them with fresh tarragon, bathing them in lots of salted butter, adding a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, and seasoning them with a crushed pepperoncini, salt, and pepper. Who needs meat, pasta, or anything else when the vegetables are as spectacular as this?
We are in our new studio, albeit with unpacked boxed marked with things like—“whisks and spatulas”, “wine glasses”, “favorite cookbooks”. We can’t wait to unpack, but before we tie on the aprons we have to pass our “official certifications” to start cooking! Well, we never! So right now we are keeping it simple—a green bean, zucchini & spring onion frittata with a salad of young leaves dressed with Canal House’s best vinaigrette. It’s beginning to taste like home!
We were all set to begin a more-salads-for-lunch regime, considering yesterday was the first full day of spring and we have some winter weight to shed. Then today in rolls “foureaster” storm, Toby, dumping about 12-inches of heavy wet snow. So we cooked a potful of pasta and sauced it with meaty ragu. There’s a lot of shoveling to do and we girls do need our strength. When the sun comes out again and the snow melts away, we’ll give that no-carb regime a try.
We’ve had a taste of spring. The mercury crawled into the 70s a couple of weeks ago, some crocuses bloomed, the spring peepers have been chirping, and the afternoon light lingers well past five o’clock. But March has come in on cue, behaving like a lion, and we are bracing for our second nor’easter in less than a week. We’ll cook a few dishes today to hold us a day or two in the event tomorrow’s forecasted snow keeps us homebound. While poking around in the freezer this morning, we decided to make a little room in there, and defrosted a container of turkey stock for lunch. We cooked some fat noodles separately (so they didn’t soak up all the stock), then added them to the simmering broth along with frozen peas, and a big handful of chopped parsley. It’s a light lunch. But we have a lot to do before we face what tomorrow brings. And hey, if the storm blows over, at least we’ll have made some room in our freezer.
We were in the mood for floury baked potatoes today, but only had waxy white spuds in our larder. So we are having our next favorite “stuffed” potatoes for lunch on this sunny, blustery day: crushed boiled potatoes smothered with salty Irish butter, bacon, castelvetrano olives, and lots of chopped scallions. Swear, starting in April, we are going to eat nothing but salads to slim down our winter silhouettes.
We tested 5-Minute Hummus from Michael Solomonov’s upcoming book, Israeli Soul (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)—so guess what we are having for lunch? It lived up to it’s big brother, Zahav’s Hummus Tehina. We could just sit with two spoons and the plastic container full of the delicious purée and have at it. But we decided to be civilized, put it on two plates, and add some trimmings: cherry bomb tomatoes, a few chickpeas, scallions, fresh cilantro and dill, lemon, and a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Happy Monday, dear friends.
It is hard to stay at the desk today—it’s full blown spring out there. For lunch today, we matched flageolet beans and string beans (sound like the same thing but couldn’t be more different) and tinned tuna. We added lemon, salt and pepper, and lots of good olive oil. So simple, so good. We are taking it easy.
We’re doing our final recipe tests for the chicken chapter of our upcoming book, Cook Something—Recipes to Rely On to be published this fall by Little, Brown and Company. So, today’s lunch is fried chicken and pickles. We think the sun is trying to break through the dreary skies. It better—we are pretending we are having a summer picnic (but we are both wearing two layers of down to keep out the damp chilliness).