Good morning. There’s turkey stock in the freezer, but the rest of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone: made into stews, sandwiches, quesadillas, beds for evening eggs. It was a lovely week of feasting. Now we’re on to Cookie Week, holiday ham and the sprint to the end of the year. Buckle up!
Oh, wait. Wrote too soon! There’s a loaf of semolina bread going stale on the countertop. That’s perfect for Mark Bittman’s terrific recipe for a simple bread pudding (above), a wonderful dessert to follow a pot of clam chowder or Tuscan kale salad. That’s dinner this evening for sure.
Pancakes for breakfast on Saturday, and then it’s time to put in the work for a Christmas miracle: Ramin Ganeshram’s Caribbean black cake, an adaptation of Marva Adams-Miller’s recipe. Adams-Miller has been making and selling them out of her Brooklyn home for 30 years. The dessert is an evolution of the Christmas fruitcakes that English colonizers and Irish indentured servants brought to the Lesser Antilles in the 17th century. (I’ll feed mine nips of white rum every few days until the holiday, to keep it moist and make it powerful.)
After a day of baking, an easy meal for dinner: Alexa Weibel’s ace recipe for a five-ingredient creamy miso pasta, which comes together in about a half-hour and delivers roughly 10 tons of umami flavor.
Sunday breakfast: navel oranges cold from the fridge, cut into yogurt and served with the print edition of The New York Times. It’s like time travel to the 1970s!
Then a tuna crunch sandwich for lunch, a nap because there sure were no naps last weekend and a pleasant evening putting together Naz Deravian’s new recipe for chicken biryani: savory layers of marinated drumsticks, par-cooked basmati rice, fried onions, fresh herbs and saffron-infused milk. Serve with raita, and watch everyone fight over the crisp fond of rice at the bottom of the pot.
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Now, we’ll get to my cultural recommendations soon enough, but I’m still thinking about the excellence of the turkey I smoked on Thanksgiving to accompany the one I roasted in the oven and the other one I braised. I made it on a gas grill, heated with one burner set on low and a perforated metal tube filled with smoldering wood pellets beside it.
That smoker tube is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Search for one online, and you’ll find many options for around $20, none of them bad. A bag of wood pellets runs about the same and will last you for months. You’re welcome.
Onward: It may not be quite as delicious as the Tana French novels the series is based on, but “Dublin Murders,” commissioned by the BBC and Starz back in 2019, is still good television, worth watching.
“Maestro” made its theatrical debut last week, and David Remnick interviewed the film’s director and star, Bradley Cooper, for The New Yorker Radio Hour. It’s an excellent bit of journalism.
Do take some time to read Max Graham’s article, in The Grist, about salmon vanishing from the Yukon River in western Alaska, where they’ve sustained native populations for generations.
Finally, here’s a new Bjork track featuring Rosalía, “Oral.” Listen to that while you’re cooking, and I’ll see you on Sunday.