Good morning. You make corn muffins with corn meal, which is dried ground corn. I like those split and griddled in butter. You make tortillas and pupusas with masa harina, which is corn that’s been cooked and steeped in an alkaline solution (a process known as nixtamalization), then dried and ground. A homemade tortilla is a revelation; a pupusa stuffed with cheese and grated yellow squash is paradise.
And you make arepas (above) with masarepa, corn that’s been cooked but not nixtamalized, then dried and ground into a fine flour that leads to a light and fluffy dough. (P.A.N. is a popular brand of masarepa; Goya makes a version as well.) Rick Martínez’s new recipe stuffs the arepas with chicken and avocado for a dish known in Caracas as reina pepiada: curvy queen.
Curvy queen for Saturday dinner, then? (Some Caraqueños add peas to the equation.) Or an asado negro with plain arepas on the side to mop up the sauce? Something Venezuelan, anyway. In the coming months, the country will be much in the news.
Whichever route you take, though: banana pancakes for breakfast on Sunday. And, if the shopping goes right and you can find some good ham and a crunchy baguette, jambon beurre for lunch. That’s a sandwich to leave time for afternoon baking: Melissa Clark’s ace recipe for an apple-bourbon Bundt cake, a harvest-season stunner.
For dinner in advance of the cake, how about this mushroom stew? David Tanis’s recipe combines cultivated mushrooms with dried porcinis and a handful of wild mushrooms to deliver an incredible amount of flavor in roughly an hour. Serve over polenta, I think.
Thousands and thousands more recipes are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, though you’ll need a subscription to read them. I understand that may irk some. But subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. Please, if you haven’t done so already, would you consider subscribing today? Thanks.
We’re in the ski-patroller’s shack at the top of the mountain, should you find yourself crossways with our technology. Write to us at email@example.com, and we’ll come schussing. Or, if you’d like to yell about something, or to pay a compliment to my colleagues, write to me. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t respond to every letter. But I do read each one I receive.
Now, it’s a far cry from anything to do with pandan or venison straps, but I’ve been enjoying the Hindi-language spy thriller “The Family Man,” on Amazon Prime.
Please read Joe Sexton’s searing investigation of Vermont’s juvenile rehabilitation system, in Seven Days. He uses the life and death of one child caught up in that system to lay bare its horrors. It’s upsetting, necessary work.
It’s the American archer Brady Ellison’s 35th birthday. Here he is winning the 2023 Lancaster Archery Classic back in February.
Finally, take a listen to Sampha, “Spirit 2.0,” music to chill you out in the kitchen. Enjoy that and I’ll see you Sunday.