Good morning. Had a nice visit with a friend the other evening, sitting on a tree stump in his yard after dinner. He’d made duck legs, he said, rubbed with salt, pepper and a few generous shakes of five-spice powder, cooked them low and slow on his grill, before blasting them at the end to crisp up the skin. I said that sounded delicious.
He asked me what I’d eaten. I’ve been without family a few days now, and that doesn’t work well for me, in the middle of a pandemic, against the backdrop of a nation divided.
I shrugged: a couple of crackers and a few slices of cheese. We were a little quiet after that. When I was leaving, he asked me to hold up. He went into his house and came back with a package of duck legs, two of them, placed them on the lawn and nodded for me to take them. The next night, I cooked them as he did and ate one with a small green salad, alone in the kitchen as the radio droned. This improved my mood considerably. I shredded the second one for lunchtime tacos the next day. I vowed to keep it up.
So I’d like to make a tri-tip steak this week, following the instructions of Kim Severson, and I’d like to make this summer squash casserole (above), as well. The leftovers make for good lunches, down the days.
This is a shopping week, so I might grab a rotisserie chicken, make this chicken salad with greens and herbs. Might pick up some farro as well, for farro risotto with sweet corn and tomatoes. The family will be back soon, and I know that one will go gangbusters, particularly with banana cream pie no-churn ice cream for dessert.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with cooking, but it’s such a delight I think you should spend some time with it: our collection of pandemic recommendations, diaries, reflections and lists, compiled by some of our finest reporters, critics and editors. The story form is a new and maybe familiar one: Google Docs and Sheets. Enjoy.
The New York Times Magazine teamed up with ProPublica to model how climate refugees might move across international borders as the world’s temperature rises and creates more no-live zones in the tropics, where billions of people reside. That’s a must-read.
I found this amazing story in the Smithsonian Magazine about a solitary dolphin who’s been living in an Irish harbor for more than 30 years. It’s by Cathleen O’Grady, who wrote it for Hakai.
Finally, duck cooking music: Stormzy, featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy, “Own It.” That’s me alone, dancing in the kitchen. See you on Wednesday.