Melissa Clark has a terrific new recipe in The Times this week, for a sheet-pan dinner of roast chicken, plums and red onions (above). She came up with it as a dish appropriate to Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins on Sept. 18, but it’s outstanding whatever your faith or lack thereof: a sticky, bright-flavored joy that you could pair with couscous to great effect. I hope you do.
But that’s not all I hope you cook this week. I traffic in recipes most days, strict instruction for cooking particular dishes in particular ways. Of course, I don’t always use recipes, and most likely you don’t either, sometimes preferring improvisation to a precise list of commands. There’s a joy in that, in seeing where an idea takes you, rather than following a script. (At least sometimes. I wouldn’t freestyle a loaf of bread.)
So, for instance, you could try your hand at some Vietnamese-style summer rice rolls, made at the table, an interactive meal. It worked out well for me. At lunch the other day, far in advance of dinner, I cooked rice noodles and drained them well, let them cool in the refrigerator. Later I sliced cucumbers, scallions, carrots, picked lots of cilantro and mint leaves, arranged them all on a platter, with a pile of the noodles. I made a simple nuoc cham, the Vietnamese dipping sauce: glugs of fish sauce brightened with squeezed lime juice, softened with a spray of sugar, made fiery with thinly sliced hot peppers. (Add water to taste.) Then I broiled some shrimp — though you could use grilled pork or tofu — and put them on a platter next to the vegetables. Opened a sleeve of rice wrappers, thin and translucent and stiff, and put those on a plate, next to a big bowl of warm water, next to all the rest.
And that was dinner, with each in the family dipping a rice wrapper in the warm water to soften it, then filling it to taste with vegetables and protein, wrapping it up like a newborn, spooning some nuoc cham over the top. There was a meal where before there was only a notion, and it was grand.
But perhaps you prefer actual recipes? Naturally we have you covered. That is our remit, after all.
If you want ones that are precise and exacting, I recommend J. Kenji López-Alt’s new and absolutely fascinating examination of the Cantonese concept of wok hei, which refers to the “wok energy” or “wok breath” of high-heat stir-frying that results in a deep, smoky flavor. It’ll lead you to an exemplary smoky lo mein with shiitakes and vegetables, and some top-drawer stir-fried greens as well.
Alternatively, see what you make of these pork and ricotta meatballs from Kay Chun, or my portobello patty melts from back in 2016. Spicy corn and coconut soup from Sarah Jampel? Tomato tonnato from Melissa Clark? I love David Tanis’s summer vegetable salad unreservedly, as I do Alexa Weibel’s zucchini and egg tart with herbs.
One of those should suit, but there are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider on NYT Cooking as well. Go see what you think of them, see what stirs interest, what demands to be made. Yes, it’s true that you need a subscription to access them all, and to use all the features of our site and apps. But subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. And so I hope, if you haven’t already, that you’ll subscribe today. Thanks.
We’ll be standing by to help, if anything should go wrong in your kitchen or our finely wrought code. Just write email@example.com, and someone will get back to you, I promise. We’ll get you sorted.
Now, it’s a Bryson DeChambeau drive from rice pilaf and pan gravy, but Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s article in The New Yorker, on “The Improbable Journey of Dorothy Parker’s Ashes,” is a terrific thing to read.
So, too, is Kim Severson’s look at the state of American grocery stores, in The Times. And, to go along with it, try Nick Summers’s review of Benjamin Lorr’s new book, “The Secret Life of Groceries.” (You’ll move on to the Lorr, after that!)
Finally, see what you make of “Money Heist,” on Netflix. It’s some distance from the coronavirus, which is to say an escape. I’ll be back on Friday.