April 8, 2011

It’s my favorite time of year to invite friends to lunch. The garden looks great and smells amazing. Today, the most marvelous group of women gathered for a celebration of Spring, regardless of the rain.

The delightful Pati Jinich – I hope you have seen her new PBS cooking show – it’s wonderful. Saturdays, 11:30am . Pati’s Mexican Kitchen

Generous, warm Domenica Marchetti, author of four cookbooks, including one that will come out in June – The Glorious Pastas of Italy

The elegant Aviva Goldfarb, the firecracker behind The Six O’Clock Scramble and a veritable Scramble empire!

The wickedly funny Danielle Turner, the clever chef who makes the great Moment of Clarity videos. They’ll help you in a million ways.

And Robyn Webb, the brains behind Eat, Write, Retreat, celebrated RN, Tweeter of Tips – just back from Australia and bearing the BEST gifts!

For a few minutes, I was nervous about cooking for these women. It would be easy to be intimidated, right? But then I decided to let go of that sort of thinking and make a lunch that showed what it is I do well. Preserving, curing, fermenting, canning.

Why do we let ourselves get freaked out like that? Let’s all of us, right now, just stop that kind of thinking.

Corny but true… Cook with love and the best ingredients. And love is what people will feel when they gather at your table.

Here’s what we ate. I didn’t take many photos. I was having too much fun.

Menu for a Spring Lunch, Rain or Shine

Tequila cured duck prosciutto, cherries in chipotle syrup and champagne mango

Absurdly Addictive Asparagus with home-cured pancetta

Deconstructed Nicoise Salad
(Serves 6)

Mache – lambs’ lettuce, stemmed
Shallot vinaigrette with pistachio oil

2 half-pint jars home-canned tuna in olive oil
6 hard boiled eggs, halved
Radishes, quartered
Beets, roasted and canned, quartered
Kalamata olives (went to three stores without finding Nicoise olives!)
Blanched green beans, flash frozen last summer
Tiny yukon gold potatoes, boiled with skins on and rolled in coarse salt
Homemade mayonnaise

Pickled red onion slices
Sweet pickle chips

Baguette and Boucheron

Miniature Canelés and Petit Meringues with Meyer Lemon Curd
Home-canned Peach Halves in extra light ginger syrup

14 Responses to “cooking for cooks”

  1. Domenica

    I loved every bite. Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your beautiful, delicious food with us. I feel blessed to have a friend like you in my life. And, even in the rain, your garden is gorgeous. xo

  2. Aviva Goldfarb

    Cathy, you are such an incredibly warm and talented hostess and it was a thrill to try your delicacies. Truly that was my dream lunch, light, flavorful, creative, and with fascinating friends. Lucky us!

  3. DawnK

    Sounds like a delicious lunch! I bet it was fun. My hyacinths are still growing, but are nowhere as big and blooming as yours, yet! (eastern WI) It’s just been so cold lately!

  4. Erin

    A scrumptious Spring feast! How delightful…

    I’m making the pavlovas from your class recipe today — an early Easter dessert. Planning to blog the results later this eve. 🙂

  5. Isabelle Johnson

    Hi Cathy –
    I did lemon scones with ginger marmalade, yogurt with walnuts and honey, stewed apricots (Deborah Madison), and soft boiled eggs over an arugula, parm, asparagus salad.

    Is that the same shallot vinaigrette I enjoyed at the chicken class? Would you post a recipe? – I keep thinking about it.

    Happy Spring!

    Happy Spring!

    • Cathy

      Hi Isabelle – it is the same shallot vinaigrette – I just mince a shallot and add some vinegar (my fav is balsamic) – maybe a tablespoon – and some coarse salt and allow that to sit for 20 minutes or so. That pickles the shallot and takes some of the bite out. I add some oil – 2-3T – my favorites are the nuts oils like pistachio, pine nut and hazelnut – and cracked black pepper then toss. I do it all by feel, and taste, and go for a very very light dressing. I think the trick is that quick pickling. Makes all the difference.
      Looking forward to seeing you again for the pasta class.



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