Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. One of the glories of life in New York before Covid-19 was the vast variety of flavors you could take in over the course of a week without even entering your own kitchen. Tomatillos and Thai basil, Sichuan peppercorns and smoked salmon: It was a luxury to be able to eat them all, day to day, meal to meal.
But quarantine has brought grazing to a halt, or at least limited it considerably. I miss the wide universe of tastes I used to encounter, and though logistics prevent me from replicating all that food in any given week, I strive to not be too repetitive in my own cooking — to change it up without making prep complicated.
The following recipes use relatively few ingredients, including many you might have on hand, and if you made even two in a given week they’d feel distinct from each other. Ideas? Suggestions? Email me at email@example.com.
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Here are five recipes for the week:
This recipe, adapted from Alana Kysar’s Hawaiian cookbook, “Aloha Kitchen,” combines ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and brown sugar for a marinade that is both a bit sweet and a bit sharp. Ideal for grilling in the sunshine, though it’d work just as well in the oven.
A pat of butter makes the pan sauce in this fish recipe by Kay Chun extra luscious, but salty-sweet oyster sauce, a staple in Cantonese cooking, is the real star here. If you don’t cook fish often, this is a fairly forgiving way to start.
5. BLT Tacos
Imagine sitting down at a table set with a pile of crunchy bacon, a stack of warm corn tortillas, a heap of tomatoes and avocados and a bottle of hot sauce, and assembling tacos to your liking, as Melissa Clark did. Sounds good to me. Juicy, flavorful tomatoes are best, but even wan tomatoes can thrive in a BLT context.