Hot Dog Party!

Pile whatever condiments you have on franks, vegan dogs or brats, and serve with a glass of something cold.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Some days when dark clouds are scudding in my head and I don’t much feel like cooking — even though cooking’s what I’m here to do — I march myself to the store anyway, and buy a package of hot dogs and another of buns. There’s no finer recourse to feeling low: a hot dog party.

Griddle them crisp, toast the buns and serve with whatever toppings or condiments spark joy. For me that’s chopped pickles and jalapeños, crema, a scattering of shredded Cheddar, sometimes spicy coleslaw and queso (or our vegan version). My colleague Tanya Sichynsky prefers pico de gallo (above) for a pared down version of Mexican hot dogs. Melissa Clark eschews the franks and makes beer brats — a lovely changeup. You may prefer vegan wieners, which are pretty good. And even if you just add mustard and serve with a glass of cold beer or seltzer, it’s very difficult not to experience a lift when dinner’s a dog.

To go with the sausages, try Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest — a recipe he serves at his delis in London that he’ll never be able to take off the menu: lightly charred broccoli with fried garlic, red chile, grilled lemon and anchovies.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling sunny and have no need of foot-longs or red hots, you might try this lovely chopped salad with chickpeas, feta and avocado, or a spring vegetable japchae, the glass noodles studded with asparagus and snap peas.

You could make a spicy ground turkey stir-fry with crisp garlic and ginger — sometimes I use pork instead of the turkey for a little more fat and heft. Definitely you could prepare a tofu scramble. And I love this smoky and spicy roasted salmon, which is a no-grill affair that nicely evokes the flavors of weekend barbecue on a weeknight.

And for dessert? I like these lemon squares this time of year, and always salted tahini chocolate chip cookies.

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And follow us on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, if you want to get to know us better. We get up to good fun there.

Now, it’s nothing to do with bacon or seitan, but a pal put me onto the stories of Peter Orner, and I’m glad she did. He’s a writer’s writer, spare and clean.

Luke McFadden is a young crab fisherman in Maryland who documents his life and business on TikTok, and it’s fascinating (to me!).

Also, take a look at Michael Schulman on the actress Elisabeth Moss, in The New Yorker.

Finally, there’s a new Wilco track, sounding a little old-school and Uncle Tupelo-adjacent: “Falling Apart (Right Now).” Listen to that nice and loud while you’re cooking, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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