Prepping for St. Patrick’s Day

Good morning. It’s a project to be sure, but maybe you should take the approaching St. Patrick’s Day holiday on March 17 as a chance to corn your own beef, and then to use the meat in whatever way pleases you most: for corned beef and cabbage, say, or Irish tacos (above). The process yields incredible flavor, far beyond anything you can get out of the briskets in that tub at the grocery store, and it’s deeply rewarding to boot. Get started as soon as you can.

And for those too busy to cook at the end of the day, a mini-project that prepares itself while you work: a slow-cooker black bean soup. Simply combine all the ingredients in the morning and let them burble along until supper time. (Here’s a cool trick: A dash of baking soda makes the beans extra tender.)

You could try smoky tomato carbonara this evening, or vegan mapo tofu. I like these celery toasts in advance of a dinner of chicken francese, that Italian American delicacy sometimes known as chicken French. Maybe surf and turf in the form of shrimp with hot fennel sausage and polenta? Or a platter of beef negimaki? I like that one with roasted broccoli and stovetop rice.

Not that you need an actual recipe to eat well in the middle of the week. You could freestyle a meal out of the freezer, the fridge and the pantry, for a no-recipe recipe of your own devising. This week, I took inspiration from Bryan Washington’s paean to the Jamaican beef patty in The Times. I didn’t make my own. My market sells excellent ones from Golden Krust, and while they warmed in the oven, I sautéed sliced cabbage in a lot of butter and a generous glug of floral West Indian hot pepper sauce until it softened, but only slightly. Then I toasted some potato buns and loaded them down with the patties and thatches of slaw. Coco bread might have been better, but this was still a stupendously good meal, easily made.

If none of that appeals, there are thousands and thousands more (actual) recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You do need a subscription to access them, yes. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. I thank you for yours. (If you haven’t already, would you please consider subscribing today?)

Please reach out for assistance if you run into trouble with anything in the kitchen or while using the site or app. We’re at Someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me, if you’d like to vent or say hello. I’m at I read every letter sent.) And do visit us on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. We’re having loads of fun with those.

Now, it’s nothing to do with cloudberries or Alaskan king crab, but a friend put me onto “The Righteous Gemstones” on HBO, and I’m pleased to pay that forward here.

You should definitely read Abe Streep in The New Yorker, on “The Great American Antler Boom” and the annual hunt for shed elk antlers in the mountain West. He went deep.

Here’s a thrilling and wonderful “Close Read” of W.H. Auden’s poem “Musée des Beaux Arts,” by Elisa Gabbert in The Times. I urge you spend some time luxuriating in it: art history and literary criticism combined.

Finally, my colleagues on the pop-music beat have published their latest “Playlist” of more than a dozen new songs. Start with Wet Leg, “Angelica,” and then make your way through the whole list, loud. I’ll be back on Friday.

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