What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. Everything changed and then nothing changed save the seasons, it sometimes seemed, and now it appears as if a whole lot is going to shift, slowly at first and then possibly in a rush. Maybe we’ll be back in restaurants in a serious way, crushed together for brunch. We could find ourselves crowded three deep at a bar. We might be doing the middle-seat elbow shuffle during a flight to Chicago. Could be we dance at a wedding or cross an international border. Someday we might shake hands with a stranger again.

I think we’ll keep cooking, though. I hope we do. The year was awful, scary and sad, but it’d be a shame to put the experience of cooking so much during it to waste, to abandon the care with which we’ve approached our meals just because it’ll be possible to gather in crowds. People who once stored sweaters in their ovens became accomplished bread bakers over the past 12 months. Cup ramen royals mastered new recipes: Taiwanese beef noodle soup (above), say, or one-pot pasta with ricotta and lemon. Those who told friends they couldn’t boil water now know how to braise, to sauté, to roast. I hope they’ll treasure those skills for a long time, even as we move into our uncertain future together.

You’re a better cook, probably, than you were a year ago. You could probably make this salmon and couscous salad with cucumber-feta dressing for dinner tonight. (If so, definitely save the feta brine, so you can make this roast chicken later in the week.) Or keema, Indian spiced ground meat, to eat with dinner rolls and a dollop of yogurt. Or skillet chicken thighs with broccoli and orzo. Or chile-oil noodles with cilantro.

I think it would be aces to bake this Campari olive oil cake this week. And to cook this jalapeño jangjorim with jammy eggs as well. (As Eric Kim notes, the leftover sauce is incredible on rice with a drizzle of sesame oil.) Maybe I could knock out a freestyle chicken Parm for lunch, serve it on a hero roll? When I get back to the newsroom, there’ll be no more of that.

But you make your own decisions. There are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider waiting for you on NYT Cooking. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you should subscribe today. A subscription unlocks all of our tools and features and supports our journalism along the way. Then browse what we’ve got. You can save the recipes you like. You should rate the ones you’ve cooked. And you can leave notes on recipes, too, if you like, if you’ve come up with a hack or substitution that you want to remember or share.

Meanwhile, we are standing by to help, should anything go sideways in your cooking or in our code. Just write: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me: [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s nothing to do with sweating onions or coddling eggs, but you should spend some time with the music issue of The New York Times Magazine today, featuring Dua Lipa, Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Swift, Moses Sumney, Bill Frisell and more.

I liked this Xander Peters story in The Bitter Southerner, about the fight to save Florida’s Indian River Lagoon.

And can I interest you in a virtual tour of “Goya’s Graphic Imagination” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Finally, wow, “Hoosiers” turns 35 this year. Watch that tonight after dinner and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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