Good morning. I wrote you last when I was en route to Miami for work, and it wasn’t until that evening when I was walking south on the beach, heading toward a sublime meal at 27, that I realized I neglected to give you a no-recipe recipe to cook on Wednesday, as is my usual custom. Apologies!
A riff on one of the restaurant’s salads, then, for the weekend, in advance of all that ham and turkey you’ll eat next week, all those holiday cookies, your daily candy cane: kale salad with yogurt and tahini dressing, sliced cucumbers, segments of grapefruit, some fried chickpeas and a mound of fresh herbs.
For the dressing, fold a little tahini into some thick yogurt, then a little more, some olive oil, some lemon juice, some salt to taste. You’re looking for something that’s Caesar-like in consistency and tastes balanced between tahini, yogurt and lemon, with the oil for velvet and sheen. The salt’s an accent.
Get that onto some chopped kale and use your fingers to distribute it over the greens – massage it, is the parlance chefs and line cooks use. And let it sit while you get everything else together. A cucumber chopped and a grapefruit sliced and segmented, those herbs, maybe half a can of chickpeas drained and fried crisp in a lot of oil. Top the kale with your accouterments and serve, perhaps with warm pita. That’s a nice Friday night meal.
The holiday run-up continues on Saturday. Usually I like a tourtière on Christmas Eve, and this weekend is the time to prepare it. (Just freeze it off until you’re ready to bake, then place it frozen in a hot oven to cook it to perfection on Monday night.)
But this year, I’m thinking the venison and trotter pie that Angie Mar makes at the Beatrice Inn (above) will answer even more luxuriously. (Same deal with the freezing.) Tejal Rao adapted the recipe for home use, and our users have added their own hacks on top of hers. “As I didn’t have any trotters but I did have a half pig’s head in the freezer,” someone named Jacky wrote in a recipe note posted about a week ago, “I used that instead. Perfect for the gelatinous fatty stock that softens into the venison.”
Is a meat pie too much of a project when you have presents to buy and wrap, relatives to appease, miles to go before you sleep? Bake sugar cookies instead! Make chocolate-mint thins with candy cane crunch!
Or maybe you don’t celebrate the holiday, or have a fraught relationship with it, or simply feel like a Grinch. Fry up some patty melts (portobello patty melts if flesh is not your flavor), and spend Saturday night binge-watching “The Sopranos” again, in advance of the 20th anniversary (!) of its debut in January 1999. That’ll lead to baked ziti for dinner on Sunday, sure as rats rat and mobsters seek vengeance.
There are thousands of other recipes to cook this weekend and during the holidays to come awaiting for you on NYT Cooking. (You will need a subscription to access them, I know. That’s your Christmas present to me.) Or visit us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for inspiration. You can find me on those platforms as well: @samsifton.
Please ask for help, if anything goes wrong with your cooking or our technology. We’re at email@example.com and eager to be of service. (I am at firstname.lastname@example.org, myself, though I’m no help with the code.)
Now, it’s a far cry from mulled wine and brioche chestnut stuffing, but there were some monster waves at the famous Mavericks break in Half Moon Bay, Calif., this week. Let them stand as complete explanation if your contractor in the Bay Area wasn’t able to make it in to work.
Maybe you missed it last week, but it’s all they’re talking about in Miami: My colleague Patricia Mazzei’s smart and horrifying look at the tolls red tide and a noxious algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee have exacted on the stone crab fishery in South Florida.
Super-nerdy, super-fun: John Lanchester in the «London Review of Books» on why exactly – or better yet why maybe – Agatha Christie has sold so many books.
Finally, these are the Raveonettes, “The Christmas Song.” Have a great weekend.