What to Cook This Week

Good morning. Joy is in short supply these days, and patience, too. Nerves are tingling. I haven’t shaken a hand or hugged someone outside my family in more than three months. Cooking’s supposed to be a solace — I say that every day — but I acknowledge that some days it doesn’t seem possible. I do it anyway (gotta eat). I do it anyway (it’s a practice, same as singing scales, same as draining free throws). I do it anyway (I believe).

I wonder if today I can muster the energy to make a Boston cream pie, or to cook one of these classic dishes for dinner, like Tejal Rao’s lamb biryani (above), or Julia Moskin’s chicken soup from scratch.

On Monday, I think Yewande Komolafe’s lentil and orzo stew with roasted eggplant could be the move, with Colu Henry’s spicy shrimp with blistered cucumbers, corn and tomato to follow on Tuesday. Those are dinners to bring smiles.

But then it’s Wednesday, and Wednesdays are tough, a day caught between weekends that aren’t really weekends, a milepost on the road to exhaustion. Dig into this collection of recipes with five ingredients or fewer, knock one of them out. (I like my roasted salmon with brown sugar and mustard.)

Thursday, you could roast a chicken. We have eleventy-seven recipes for that, but I like Melissa Clark’s feta-brined one a lot, except I don’t have feta brine. So I’ll make it with the pickle brine I’ve been collecting since the start of the pandemic. That should be nice.

And Friday’s Juneteenth, a holiday devoted, in large part, to joy. Nicole Taylor wrote about that for us this week, and curated a collection of recipes appropriate to the day. Make one. Make two. Make three!

Many thousands more recipes to cook this week await you on NYT Cooking. A lot more of them than usual are free to use even if you aren’t a subscriber to our site and apps. Please, though: Think about subscribing all the same. Subscriptions support our work.

And do write for help, if something goes sideways, either with what you’re cooking or with our site and apps: cookingcare@nytimes.com. We will get back to you, promise.

Now, it has a fair distance from air fryers and Instant Pots, but Douglas Brinkley has a rare interview with Bob Dylan in The Times this week, and Dylan talking about gospel music in it got me thinking about his 1979 song, “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Listen to that.

Also in The Times, Arthur Lubow has a fascinating close read of Robert Frank’s 1955 photograph “Trolley, New Orleans” that you should spend some time considering. It’s an amazing new form of journalism, riveting and instructional.

Please meet Dalton and Kanaan Dern, of Apopka, Fla. They’ve been skateboarding a lot during quarantine, at and in their home, and you should see the clips.

Finally, here’s Otis Rush to play us off, “All Your Love,” live in London in 1983. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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