What to Cook This Weekend

Good morning. Another cool morning at the tail end of the rainy season of Los Angeles, and the sun shines on verdant green in the hills. It’s as if the whole town were awash in herbs and young lettuces. It’s hard here not to want to cook all the time.

It’s not that way everywhere. Some of us look out the window today, and it’s all gray-crusted snow or dirt-covered asphalt, wind-whipped empty trees, the water of the river in the center of town burbling dark and cold and menacing. It would be easy this weekend to spend all your time on a couch, under a blanket, reading Richard Russo and wishing you had a fire.

Make Samin Nosrat’s new recipe for mango pie (above), then. It’s manufactured summer, a taste of seasonal hope. She wrote all about it this week in The Times.

Alternatively, this weekend could be a fun one to attempt a Peking duck. Make moo shu with the trimmings!

Or you could cook skillet hot-honey chicken with hearty greens, and finish out the night with a blood-orange olive oil cake. That’d be a fine Saturday night right there.

But so would an evening made up of Portobello patty melts and some streaming movies on Kanopy, courtesy of the New York Public Library.

The other night I had a boiled chicken at Majordomo here in Los Angeles, and if I couldn’t make the silky, emulsified quality of the broth at home with two weeks and a chemistry kit, I’d still be happy trying: Mark Bittman’s recipe for Hainanese chicken with rice is the place to start. Instead of topping it as Mark does, I’d employ Francis Lam’s caramelized scallion sauce instead, and some deep-fried red-pepper oil alongside it. (That’s homemade. From the store, I like this jar.)

And a salty-sweet salmon dinner with ginger and spicy cucumber salad could be a nice weekend feed. So too vegetarian tortilla soup. And orecchiette choucroute, with brussels sprouts and bratwurst.

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Now, it’s quite some distance from turnips and whey, but a friend turned me on to Darcy O’Brien’s “A Way of Life, Like Any Other” for this California trip and I’m very glad he did.

Also, do listen to a few Billie Eilish tracks today. You won’t be alone.

Tom Junod! Here he is writing about his father the degenerate gambler, for ESPN, and it’s vintage Junod. A paragraph taken almost at random:

The first bookie I ever met ran a candy store in Bellmore, Long Island. He was a cigar stub of a man, Jack Ruby without the .38 special. He exuded crookedness but not danger — the kind of leg breaker who signed the cast — and my father used to visit him and drink coffee at the counter. They would kibitz and let me look at Playboy. He once got my brother a job as a bouncer.

Finally, I won’t stop until you’re all reading “At War” in The Times all the time. Here’s Jackie Munn, a former Army captain, writing about her experience as a woman serving alongside special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. Have a great weekend.

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