What to Cook Right Now
Good morning. It was cold in the Catskills where I was staying for the holiday just past, the slate sky dumping snow and wind pushing it sideways across the river, icing at its sides. It was good weather for snowshoeing in the woods, for catnapping under blankets on the couch, for plotting no-recipe pizzas to make in the outdoor oven humming hot amid the swirling powder in the yard.
My friend Jamie had some Taleggio and a small bowl of mushrooms he’d roasted in the raging oven. There was clotted cream in the fridge and a heel of mozzarella, too. I had a small tin of foie gras. So there it went: a Taleggio, cream and mozz-topped pie, with an absolute riot of mushrooms across it. The oven did its work and the sourdough rose and went leopard-spotted in the heat. The cheese bubbled and ran, surrounding the crisp-skinned meaty pop of the mushrooms. Some might have run adrift of grated Parmesan across the top. We dotted the pie with foie and served the slices with a defibrillator warming up beside us.
True fact: That’s a good pizza, and here’s a recipe for dough so you can make it some time. I bring it up today in part because on Wednesdays I generally offer a no-recipe recipe for you to cook, and in part because of that little can of foie gras and the clotted cream. Those items are what my colleague Julia Moskin might call pantry inessentials, insofar as no one actually needs to have foie gras and clotted cream on hand at all times. But it’s awfully nice to, all the same.
Julia’s new and wildly sensible guide to pantry essentials is worth running through today, in advance of some Marie Kondoification of your cabinets and fridge this evening, and perhaps a series of pantry meals to run out the week: miso chicken; spaghetti with fried eggs; one-pot rice and beans; tomato-Parmesan soup; tuna-macaroni salad.
Or you could make a new recipe. I love Alison Roman’s whole fish pan-roasted with soy and citrus (above); and David Tanis’s Vietnamese braised beef stew.
There are thousands and thousands of other recipes to consider cooking today and this week on NYT Cooking. Like: onion quiche. Vegan mayonnaise. Lobster fra diavolo! Go see what piques your interest. (You need to be a subscriber, I’m afraid. That is the way of the world now. Become one today! If you’re wavering, watch this new television commercial they made about our site and efforts. It’s kinda cool.)
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Now, it has precious little to do with canapés or mock turtle soup, but of course I’m devouring Robert A. Caro on investigative reporting and the archives of L.B.J., in The New Yorker.
You absolutely want to read The Valedictorians Project, in The Boston Globe.
Here’s Ned Baldwin, the owner and chef at the excellent Houseman in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan, on rediscovering the joys of black pepper. Make his recipe for steamed leeks as soon as you can.
Finally, guess who’s back? Broken Social Scene. This is a new single, “All I Want.”
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