Good morning. I was thinking about these dinner parties I used to attend sometimes, what seems like decades ago, in a different world, everyone crowded tight around a table covered in damask, in candlelight, an open bottle of brown liquor sitting next to uncleared plates at the end, everyone talking at once: art and politics, fishing and poetry, trips recalled and trips to be planned, bad jokes, good music, the whole beautiful tapestry.
Remembering those nights made me want to cook, to conjure a dinner party if only for my little squad here at home, with proper cocktails beforehand and a big hunk of cheese at the end, runny and rich with funk. I wanted an asparagus tart (above) to start, with goat cheese and tarragon, followed by pork cutlets with lemon and capers, and a small wheel of Epoisses to finish, with a warm baguette and a glass of cellar-cool Burgundy.
I couldn’t manage the cheese or the wine. But the rest made for a very good meal and provided a reminder that it wasn’t always like this, with the lockdown sameness, and that if you use your imagination, your meals can take you incredible lengths.
And so tonight, in that spirit? I’m thinking you could make Jerusalem grill, a recipe I learned from Mike Solomonov and Steven Cook, the Philadelphia restaurateurs who have done so much to bring the flavors of Israel to the United States. (To go with, here’s their hummus. Takes five minutes to make!) So great.
For Tuesday, I’ll suggest Melissa Clark’s sheet-pan cod and scallions with cucumber yogurt, which you could make with hake or halibut, salmon, whatever thick-cut fish is available. Melissa’s so great.
David Tanis comes through for Wednesday, with a deceptively simple pasta with fresh tomato sauce and ricotta. In a restaurant, you’d probably pay $24 a plate to eat it and think, after doing so, “That’s fair.”
Thousands and thousands more recipes to cook this week are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. If you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing to so that you can browse around the shop as if you owned it. In a sense you do. Your subscriptions support our work.
Meanwhile, we are standing by to help if anything goes sideways while you’re cooking, or while you’re navigating. Just write the team: firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will get back to you.
Now, it’s nothing to do with food, but if you were in or followed the scene, this Instagram account may be of interest: old photographs of indie rockers in Paris, everyone shiny and young. (Here’s Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, 1995.)
Hobby Farms magazine makes a pretty good case for introducing a radio into your working life. They call it a “farm radio.” You can, too, even if it’s just a wee Panasonic in the corner of the kitchen. No need for mesh wifi.
Here’s Ingrid D. Rowland on William E. Wallace’s latest book about Michelangelo, in The New York Review of Books.
Finally, Katy Vine has a terrific story in Texas Monthly this month about the eight days she spend at America’s Auction Academy, learning what it takes to be a master auctioneer. Read that, too, and I’ll be back on Monday.