Good morning. I roasted a pig in a box, as I realize I’ve been doing for close to 20 years. I had a perfect Coke float with vanilla ice cream, in a tall paper cup with a long spoon and a wide straw. I cooked without recipes — elegant salads built on rounds of late-summer tomatoes, chopped cheese quesadillas, Boston mackerel crudo — and I read a ton of books. There was fishing most days, adventures in the woods, plenty of naps. The rough-winged swallow babies across the way left the nest, learned to feed themselves and departed for Florida with their parents.
Thus passed a fantastic vacation. I’m thankful to my pals and colleagues for covering for me while I was gone, and I’m thrilled to be back.
What great cooking’s ahead of us. My colleague Eric Kim developed this ace recipe for karaage, Japanese fried chicken (above), after eating the chef Kaoru Ayabe’s version at 750 Myrtle Diner in Brooklyn. It’s a perfect weekend feed, the chicken marinated in ginger, soy and sake, then dipped in egg, coated in cornstarch, and fried slowly at 320 degrees until there’s a firm golden crust around the moist and flavorful meat.
The Jewish new year begins this evening at sundown: Rosh Hashana, a time of inner renewal, sweet celebration. Big meals are customary for each night of the holiday, and if you’re still in need of ideas for what to cook, I present to you our very best Rosh Hashana recipes.
Like, maybe Joan Nathan’s recipe for brisket? You could make that Saturday morning early and it’d be perfect for the evening meal. Or there’s Joan’s recipe for baked fish with pomegranate sauce, which she adapted from one cooked by the Iraqi artist Oded Halahmy. Honey cake? Tsimmes? Challah for sure.
Heading in another direction entirely, you might consider Sohla El-Waylly’s new recipe for pizza salad — literally a pepperoni pizza in salad form. She fries strips of pepperoni until they’re crisp, then uses the spicy rendered fat to fry bread crumbs seasoned with the flavors of New York slice shops: oregano, garlic and red-pepper flakes. These go on top of a crisp salad of romaine lettuce, black olives, pepperoncini, red onion and milky mozzarella tossed in a grated tomato vinaigrette.
Whatever you do, cook! Thousands and thousands of recipes are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. The weekend is a perfect time to experiment with new flavors and techniques, and to bring the delicious into your life and the lives of those around you. Yes, you need a subscription to read our offerings. Subscriptions are what make this whole enterprise possible. If you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Thanks.
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Now, it’s a far cry from anything to do with filling jelly doughnuts or making duck confit, but I ran into some great reading while I was away. There were relatively new releases — among them, the fantastic “Crook Manifesto” by Colson Whitehead and a huge-hearted beauty, “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store,” by James McBride. Please read them.
But I found some deep cuts, too, if you’re interested in the dustier shelves in the library. “Loon Lake,” by E.L. Doctorow, for instance, published in 1980 (and reviewed in The Times by Christopher Lehman-Haupt). That’s a great American novel right there, strange and magical and weird.
Finally, I picked up some incredible miso at the farmers’ market in Brunswick, Maine, from Go-En Fermented Foods in Whitefield. If you get a chance to do that yourself, jump at it. Go-En is the business. I’ll see you on Sunday.