Good morning. How are you doing? I’ve been cooking out of the freezer lately, making my way through tubs of food prepared midwinter in fear of the outside world and the scary interactions it required: white borscht; clam chowder; chicken bog; one last tourtière. There’s been something lovely about not having to think about dinner. I just reheat, and the meal’s delicious.
But I’ve also thrilled to new flavors, new dishes, ones I’ll forever associate with the reopening of our lives. Melissa Clark, for instance, came in cool and dreamy recently with a seasonal take on a recipe of her grandmother’s, for pasta with cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes, scallions and currants (above), a kind of lighter, juicier mac and cheese. That could be the song of the summer, if summer’s not too muggy, if it’s one of those years when we get cool evenings and a fair amount of rain.
Another contender is this David Tanis meal: grilled skewers of shrimp with roasted red pepper sauce; a Little Gems salad with garlicky almond dressing; goat cheese ice cream with fennel, lemon and honey. I like how much of it you can prepare in advance, so that all you really need to do at dinnertime is light the grill and do some tossing.
I’m excited by Claire Saffitz’s strawberry and cream layer cake (and by her raspberry and cream roulade, which she makes in this terrific new video on our YouTube channel about “the sponge cake that can do it all”). And I can’t wait to eat Ali Slagle’s kimchi tuna salad for lunch.
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Now, it’s not so much to do with preparing dinner as consuming it, but do take a few minutes to read some outstanding journalism in The Times this week: John Birdsall on “The Forgotten Queer Legacy of Billy West and Zuni Café”; Erik Piepenburg on the endurance of gay restaurants in America; and Priya Krishna on the quietly revolutionary Canadian sitcom “Kim’s Convenience.”
It has nothing to do with oatmeal or lamb chops, but I’ve been riding hard through C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett novels about a Wyoming game warden, and now all I want to be doing is driving Route 16 out of Ten Sleep over to Worland, then up 20 to Greybull. I want to be in the forest.
Finally, some new music to play us off. Jon Pareles turned me on to Bachelor with a review in The Times. Here’s the duo’s “Stay in the Car.” Listen to that and I’ll be back on Friday.