Good morning. I had a funny conversation with Melissa Clark and Julia Moskin last week, about weeknight cooking.
Melissa was going on merrily about how she gathers her family around her after work, listens to music, drinks wine, cuts up a bunch of vegetables and roasts them, has dinner on the table with a big dollop of ricotta by, like, 7 p.m. Julia, in turn, told me how she banishes the kids to their rooms to do homework, cranks out a big bowl of pasta with pantry-staple sauce, serves everyone, and then retreats to the living room while everyone else cleans up; she, too, is done with the process fairly early in the evening.
Not me! I may be back from the store with a harebrained idea by 7, but it takes a while to smoke beef at 180 for 45 minutes so we can have reverse-sear steak tacos really soon. (A child’s response to that: What? Can I have a snack? Like, a grilled-cheese sandwich?) In the meantime: Chop, chop, chop goes the salsa! And maybe I should make beans as well, over a nice sofrito? Onions and garlic and jalapeño and cumin and orange! Now: Cook steak. Spoon crema. Warm the tortillas and serve. Hey, it’s only 9:15, and we can listen to “Snap Judgment” while we eat and clear the table, feed the dog, walk her, fall into bed asleep.
Where do you fall on the spectrum of weeknight cooking? (To the left of Melissa is lasagna made on Sunday and placed into the oven on a Monday night. To the right of me is grilled paella, served at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday) I’d like to think that NYT Cooking can help, wherever you are.
Finally, if you don’t want to get stuck with me thinking about whether it’s possible on a weeknight to combine your pressure cooker, grill, rice cooker and ceiling fan to pull off a Jamaican oxtail stew before midnight, with coconut rice and pigeon peas, fried sweet plantains and coco bread on the side, make sure to sign up for my colleague Emily Weinstein’s newsletter, “Five Weeknight Dishes.” That will help get you, as the song says, into the rhythm of the night.
There are thousands and thousands of other weeknight recipes to consider waiting for you on NYT Cooking. If you haven’t done so already, please take out a subscription so you can access them (and so we can keep writing them). We think you’ll find its work worth your investment! And while you’re at it with the keyboard and screen, come visit us on Instagram and YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. We do a lot of neat things, as my colleague Vaughn says, off-platform.
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