What to Cook Right Now

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Do you remember Jules Feiffer’s “A Dance to Spring”? I thought of the cartoon the other day, while reading Melissa Clark’s latest for The Times, which culminates in a terrific new recipe for braised chard with gnocchi, peas and leeks (above). It’s a dance to the new season itself, and I hope your dinner tonight or some night soon. (Another take on gnocchi: This cool recipe from Laura Sbrana, who is the chef Marco Canora’s mom.)

I’d know we’re at the top of a workweek for many, but I’d still like to make this classic focaccia at some point, if only so I can assemble one of my favorite sandwiches, from the long-closed Saltie in Brooklyn, with mortadella, pecorino and green olives. Please join me.

For dinner later on, maybe you could make these crispy frico chicken breasts with mushrooms and thyme. Or this spicy tomato-coconut bisque with shrimp and mushrooms. Or this creamy polenta with mushrooms and soy. (I’m in a mushroom mood.)

Maybe you’ll bake. I like these peanut butter brownies, and this salted-caramel rice pudding, too, wherein the salted caramel beautifully balances the creaminess of the rice pudding. Or maybe lemon squares? That’s another recipe that speaks to sunshine and the coming summer months.

I hope you’ll cook something. It helps fight off the feeling that we’re languishing here at the end of the pandemic, that we’re stuck in the rut of Always the Same. Cooking is a form of discovery and adventure. It helps make life better and more interesting. It delivers deliciousness and happiness in equal measure.

We’ll help. There are thousands and thousands of other recipes to feed yourself and those around you on New York Times Cooking. Browse around and see what you like, just the way people used to choose movies at the Blockbuster in town. (Yes, it’s true: You need a subscription to access our site, to save recipes and organize them. I hope you’ll take one out, if you haven’t already. Subscriptions support our work.)

We post a lot of inspirational food-related material on Instagram, and on Facebook as well. On Twitter, we link to our news articles. And you should definitely visit us on YouTube. (I’m on Twitter and Instagram myself: @samsifton. Facebook’s tricky, but I’m there all the same.)

And we will be there for you if you run into trouble with anything along the way, whether it’s cooking, technology or your emotional state. Just write: [email protected] We will get back to you.

Now, it’s a day’s drive from duck breasts and bruised lemongrass, but I loved this story in Smithsonian Magazine, by Isis Davis-Marks, about the mystery of how a coin minted in Yemen in 1693 ended up in a Rhode Island orchard, where it was discovered by an amateur historian in 2014. Pirates!

I hope you’ll enjoy our Spotify playlist. It collects the music that members of the Food desk of The Times are listening to in the kitchen these days.

Here’s New York City documented by New Yorkers for Instagram, basically a love letter: @whatisnewyork.

Finally, in case you missed it, you should absolutely read The Times’s Amanda Hess on vaccine-related content and the conversion of the pandemic into entertainment. Lots to think about there. I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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