Good morning. It’s not high summer yet. It’s not even summer yet. But my thoughts about cooking are running very July. I’d like to be grilling this weekend, in a park or sideyard, or down on a beach burying clams and lobsters and corn under a cloak of coals. I’d like to have some fat Jersey tomatoes warm from the sun, and I’d like to slice them thick, douse them with brown butter and serve them with toast.
Barbecue pulled chicken while I’m at it? Macaroni salad? Yes, please, and a glass of Vallery Lomas’s sweet tea (above) to wash it all down. I’m as Southern as Angus King, but a good summertime sweet tea, strong and punchy with lemon, can make me nostalgic for the Georgia meat-and-threes I didn’t grow up with, but deeply admire.
For dinner tonight, though: bulgogi cheese steaks with shishito peppers, outrageously good. Or, taking matters in another direction entirely: grilled tofu with a hot garlic, ginger and soy marinade that, thanks to a pinch of sugar, caramelizes nicely on the grill (or in the grill pan). I like that one with rice and blistered scallions.
Saturday you could endeavor to take on a project: lamb biryani, for instance, or pecan coffee cake with warm caramel sauce. I’m thinking of gathering up some blue crabs to make spaghetti with crabs, a riot of flavor, mess and pleasure that pays homage to one of the patron saints of South Brooklyn, Tony Durazzo.
Many thousands more recipes to make this weekend await you on New York Times Cooking. Go look at them as if they are paintings in the Louvre for the taking. (Maybe, “Strawberry Recipes Our Readers Love,” 1852, École de Eugène Delacroix?) Save the recipes you want to make. Then rate the ones you’ve made. And you can and ought to leave notes on them if you’ve come up with a recipe hack or ingredient substitution that you’d like to remember or share with your fellow subscribers.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with those frilly paper hats that the old school used to adorn the Frenched tips of ribs in a crown roast of pork, but I wasn’t kidding above: You really should explore the collections of the Louvre. There are close to 500,000 works in the database.