Head into the week with new recipes from Ali Slagle, as well as a few old favorites.
Good morning. It’s been one of those weeks where all I’d like to do is to push off from a dock in Everglades City and slide into the Florida backcountry, maybe find some laid-up tarpon or snook but no people, no businesses, no phone service, no pinging news alerts, no existential dread. It’d be good to get a little lost. I could use the beauty and the adrenaline, the adventure and the escape.
That’s not happening, however. Travis McGee was a fictional character. When the world is awful, there’s no percentage in ignoring it.
So I’ll seek escape and a little relief in the kitchen today instead. My guide: The writer Jim Harrison, who died in 2016. I’d like to make his recipe for Caribbean stew (above). It is perhaps not so much Caribbean — though I’ve had similar preparations in the Bahamas — as it is a Key West fever dream, a kind of glutton’s casserole of spare ribs, chicken thighs and sausages nestled in a tomato sauce ramped up with Scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce so that it’s both fiery and floral, and tastes a bit of the tropical sun.
And then to the rest of the week …
Ali Slagle’s recipe for pasta e lenticchie, pasta and lentils, is a classic Neapolitan dish in the same category as pasta e ceci and pasta e fagioli, the legumes simmering with the pasta so that the starches thicken the cooking liquid into something creamy and rich.
This cumin tofu stir-fry, which Margaux Laskey adapted from Hetty McKinnon, is a vegan take on the signature lamb dish served at Xi’an Famous Foods, the restaurant chain in New York. There the meat is dry-fried. Here it’s replaced with tofu and cauliflower.
Ali again! Try her new recipe for Cheddar-sauerkraut toast, which comes together in about 10 minutes. Sauerkraut, pickled jalapeños and cheese? Broiled, they make for a toast that’s reminiscent of a Welsh rarebit, a Reuben sandwich and a platter of nachos.
Kay Chun’s pasta amatriciana is the classic preparation made with guanciale or pancetta, tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, pecorino and bucatini pasta. The tunnel in the noodles helps capture the sauce, but if you can’t find bucatini (remember the shortage?), spaghetti gets the job done.
And then you can slide into the weekend with a silky, salty-sweet skillet full of pork chops with onion gravy. That benefits mightily from the use of a heavy hand with Lawry’s seasoned salt, though Old Bay seasoning works pretty well. (As does a combination of kosher salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika and red-pepper flakes.)
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Now, it’s tough sledding to make it anything to do with basil or burrata, but I enjoyed looking at the weavings of the artist Diedrick Brackens, “heaven is a muddy riverbed.” The actual works are on view at the Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles.
For The Times, Alexandra Jacobs reviewed Harvey Fierstein’s new memoir, “I Was Better Last Night.” Click!
Michael Idov, one of a very few screenwriters who can write dialogue fluently in Russian and in English, took to Vanity Fair to explain why he will not write in Russian so long as Vladimir Putin is in power. Maybe it’s just, as he puts it, “egotistical self-care.” But it’s a fascinating argument all the same.
Finally, here’s Samantha Fish to play us off, “Twisted Ambition,” live in Lincoln City, Ind., last year. Listen to that while the stew cooks. And I’ll be back on Monday.
What to Cook This Week – The New York Times