Good morning. We’re just a week out from Memorial Day weekend, our second of the pandemic, and if last year’s celebration was subdued and solitary, this one may see those vaccinated out in the parks in droves, grilling and hugging, playing cornhole, flying kites in the sun. We have loads of recipes for that eventuality. (Also, this helpful 2014 reminder, from The Root, of the essential differences between a cookout and a barbecue.)
Maybe today could be a little rehearsal, especially if you’d like to introduce a new recipe next weekend. It’s never not stressful, to do that in the moment. A dry run can pay dividends down the line.
For instance, these Korean beef burgers with sesame-cucumber pickles (above), from Kay Chun. There’s a salty-sweet garlic and scallion mixture to stir into the ground meat as a marinade, and likewise into mayonnaise for a sauce, and to brush on the patties while you’re grilling them. How much of that do you like? Find out now so you’re not guessing on the fly.
For Monday night, consider this delicious baked tofu with peanut sauce and coconut-lime rice. But if that’s a little much at the top of the week (though it’s actually a very simple recipe!), feel free to downshift into pasta with mint and Parmesan, one of the great weeknight meals.
Alaska’s wild salmon season got underway last week, and if you can get your hands on any king or red at the market, I think you’d do very well on Tuesday night with this fine recipe for roasted dill salmon. (Can’t find salmon? Maybe there’ll be scallops. I like those sautéed, with a salad.)
Wednesday may find you exhausted with cooking, desirous of only popcorn on the couch, with a cold beer and the Yankees game on the television. (They’re playing the Blue Jays. You may prefer to watch the Red Sox play the Braves.) Give this fascinatingly delicious recipe for vegan ‘cheesy’ popcorn a try for that. It’s great.
Of course you may want to cook! In which case, consider these dan dan noodles from Café China in New York. Outrageous.
On Thursday, how about crispy bean cakes with harissa, lemon and herbs? I like them with some yogurt and wedges of lemon to squeeze over the top.
And then on Friday, head into the long weekend with something divine. Plan ahead and make pan pizza. Don’t plan ahead and make roasted chicken Provençal. Or hit right up the middle with Angela Dimayuga’s bistek, one of the great feeds, with rice on the side.
Then save the recipes you like. Rate the ones you’ve cooked. And leave notes on them, if you have any, either for yourself or for the benefit of your fellow subscribers. (Yes, you need to be a subscriber. Subscriptions are the gas in our stoves. If you haven’t taken one out already, I hope you will think about subscribing today.)
We will, in turn, remain standing by to help if anything goes wrong with your cooking or our technology. Just write email@example.com and someone will get back to you. (You can always write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every letter sent.)
Now, it has nothing whatsoever to do with lamb chops or fregola, but a reader sent along a link to 11 Foot 8 in Durham, N.C., a site that documents truck crashes at a railroad trestle in that city that is 11 feet 8 inches above the street. Here’s an example of what they call a perfect peel. It’s pretty perfect.
Did you know Patti Smith has a Substack? Here’s her post about Bob Dylan and the genesis of one of her songs.
And here’s a poem from Adam Zagajewski, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh in The Threepenny Review, “The Great Poet Basho Begins His Journey.”
Finally, new music to play us off, Olivia Rodrigo, “Good 4 U.” Play that loud and I’ll be back on Monday.