I ate ham and cheese sandwiches for two months of lunches, it felt like, until one day I lost the taste for them and had to make a switch. I had a little fist of duck breast left over from when I’d made a couple of them for dinner, cooked slowly on the stovetop under a dusting of five-spice powder. I had some Cheddar, too, and a bag’s end of Swiss chard, bread. Grilled cheese! I made the sandwich out of all that and looked at it a moment before putting it in the pan. Something was missing. I took off the top and dolloped mango chutney all over everything, then reassembled the package and sizzle-sizzle-flipped the thing until everything was crisp and melty.
It was a great sandwich. Great sandwiches abound, and there are few rules to govern their making. (An exception: the muffuletta.) The other day one of our readers, Nurit Koppel, got in touch to tell me about one of her own, as eccentric as my oddly delicious duck grilled cheese.
She listed the ingredients:
A drizzle of maple syrup
Red pepper flakes.
And then let me know: “That’s it. I know it’s simple, but for the 15 minutes that I ate it with a hot cup of tea I was happy, genuinely happy. Fifteen straight minutes of happiness, these days, that seems worth sharing.”
I agree. It’s amazing what the assembly and consumption of an improvisatory sandwich can do for a person at moments like these, when the circus music is playing everywhere and the whole world seems mad. Will you tell me what sandwiches you’ve been making during the pandemic? I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But you came here for actual recipes. We have those, of course. Many are fasting today, for Yom Kippur, and we’ve assembled a collection of great recipes with which to break the fast. Others are just looking for a fast dinner, easily made. Try these sheet-pan sausages with peppers and tomatoes. I like to make them the way Ali Slagle does, with cherry tomatoes and wee little peppers and some pickled jalapeños strewn across at the end. That recipe is so good. (And then I’d like to have an apple crumble afterward, for dessert.)
Or how about this kale and quinoa salad with tofu and miso (above)? A honking big salmon burger? Chicken with vinegar? Spaghetti with brown butter and Parm? There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go browse among them and see what gets you hungry.
Save the recipes you want to cook. Rate the ones you’ve made and, if you like, leave notes on them for yourself or others. You can even learn how to make ice cream! Of course, you will need a subscription. Subscriptions support our work. I hope, if you haven’t already, that you’ll subscribe today.
We are ready, as always, to provide a hand, should you run into a problem in your cooking or with our technology. Write: email@example.com. Someone will get back to you, I promise.
And while it has nothing to do with plum torte or pasta frittata, I think you’ll find that this Defector interview with a Welsh competitive gardener is, as my editor says, extremely satisfying.
Via the Stacks Reader, check out this 1988 profile of the food writer Patricia Wells, by Helen Dudar in The Wall Street Journal. A different time!
Finally, I’m getting to point where book releases hold the same excited energy for me that album releases did, back when people bought albums, slit open the plastic film covering them, played them endlessly while reading liner notes. Here are 17 new books to look forward to this October, from Joumana Khatib in The Times. Plan your month of reading and I’ll see you on Wednesday.