What to Cook This Week

Ease into things with casual but fun Chicago-style hot dogs, then make plans for pantry pasta and kung pao chicken later on.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Not for me the long-simmered Sunday sauce and meatballs, at least not at the end of a sweaty summer weekend. I go big on Saturday nights this time of year, smoking meat and making pizzas over live fire, steaming clams and corn, assembling platters of tomatoes, serving buckles and watermelon. When Sunday evening arrives, tapping at its watch and pointing out what’s on the schedule for Monday, I’m eager for simplicity.

Which is where a hot dog party comes in. Hot dogs are already cooked, generally. You need only to heat them through on a griddle or grill, then serve them on buns with the toppings that culture, experience or taste suggests are appropriate.

You could follow Eric Kim’s lead, for instance, and make Chicago-style dogs (above), on poppy seed buns with mustard, sweet relish, raw onion and tomato, sport peppers, a pickle and celery salt. You could slash them and cook them in a lot of hot oil to make the kind of dogs our New Jersey pals call rippers, serving them on toasted potato buns with mustard. You could make them Mexican-style, or take a shortcut and simply top them with pico de gallo. I like a mash-up: fried franks with mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard, pickled jalapeños, a drizzle of crema. It’s hardly cooking. It’s wonderful eating from time to time.

You may feel differently. For you, then, a grilled paella. As for the rest of the week …


I like the beauty and ease of this silken tofu with crunchy lettuce and fried shallots, inspired by the Japanese dish known as hiyayakko: chilled tofu topped with lettuce that’s been wilted with vinegar and soy, sliced jalapeños and plenty of fried shallots for crunch.


Inspired by a meal at Uncle Lou in Manhattan’s Chinatown, this one-pot ginger chicken with rice comes topped with steamed greens and sizzled ginger: a home-cooked paean to Cantonese cuisine.


Here’s a pantry special of pasta with tuna, capers and scallions that’s wonderful on its own but perhaps marginally improved by adding the zest of a lemon. It’s anyway a perfect midweek meal.


Oyster mushrooms get almost as meaty and crisp as pork in this recipe for mushroom chicharrón tacos, which is saying something. Some, including me, have substituted other mushroom varieties. Don’t do this unless you have to. An oyster mushroom is the perfect candidate for the job.


And then you can head into the weekend either with this easy, home-cook friendly recipe for kung pao chicken, which Genevieve Ko secured from a childhood neighbor, or this slightly more complex kung pao shrimp that Genevieve developed as an adult.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider cooking this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. Yes, you need a subscription to access them, just as you need one to watch Deadwind on Netflix. Subscriptions support our work. I hope, if you haven’t done so already, that you will consider subscribing today. Thank you. (If you run into problems doing that, write us for assistance: [email protected] You can also write to me. I read every letter sent: [email protected])

Now, it’s nothing to do with pickles or peas, but I really enjoyed Nate Schweber’s “This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild.”

It’s the 59th anniversary of launching day for Bluenose II, the classic Nova Scotia schooner.

Joy Press, in Vanity Fair, tries to figure out why “Yellowstone” got snubbed by the Emmy nominators.

Finally, here’s Robert Crawford’s poem “Tank,” in The London Review of Books. It was written, he notes, “during battles in Europe in 2022,” and reworks some passages from “Alamein to Zem Zem,” a military memoir of the Western Desert campaign on World War II written by the British soldier-poet Keith Douglas. Searing. I’ll be back on Monday.

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