Good morning. I’m back! You miss me? I sure missed you, the letters you send, the requests you have for recipes, your musings and worries and delights and disappointments. It’s a healthy, supportive community we have here at NYT Cooking, and living and cooking outside of its bubble — our virtual pod — became hard after a time, less vital and exciting. I am glad to return. And I am so thankful to Tejal Rao and Julia Moskin for covering for me while I was gone.
Labor Day is tomorrow, amazingly enough, the unofficial end of a summer that started in quarantine and now staggers into autumn with the pandemic still a grim reality across the nation, on its college campuses, in its small towns and cities, still deadly and scary as the season wanes. There won’t be big cookouts, gatherings or parties — or, at any rate, there shouldn’t be. The West Indian American Day parade in Brooklyn has been canceled. The holiday is always a little rueful, but never more so than now.
Still, you can cook for those who live with you, or just for yourself, offering salutations to the bounty of summer before next week’s squaring of the shoulders, its resumption of workaday routine — or your routine of looking for work.
I’m thinking corn on the cob, one of Emily Fleischaker’s ace recipes with lime, fish sauce and peanuts, or miso butter and chives, or Old Bay seasoning and lemon (above). You could grill the corn, slather it with chipotle mayonnaise. You could cut the kernels off the cob for a sweet-corn salad that, as Tamar Adler wrote, is “designed to preserve the dignity of the solitary diner.” Maque choux? Cowboy caviar? There is much to do with corn.
With tomatoes, too. I like them as untouched as possible this time of year, sliced into planks and sprinkled with a little salt or, as Gabrielle Hamilton taught me to do, bathed in brown butter. (David Tanis’s tomato salad with anchovy toasts, however, is nothing to sneeze at.)
Add some grilled brats or Italian sausages or hot dogs, and there’ll be a little joy in a year that hasn’t had much at all. Look at the sky above, at the swallows staging for their push south, at the clouds scudding across the blue sky. We’ve got that, at any rate, along with the food.
For the rest of the week? Tuesday would be a fine one for caramelized scallion noodles, and Wednesday for pan-roasted salmon with jalapeño. Thursday is excellent for Jacques Pépin’s sublime take on pissaladière, in which the Niçoise version of pizza is turned into a sandwich on a baguette. So great. And then on Friday you can have actual pizza, Tejal’s fantastic rendition of the cheesy pan pizza developed by the test cooks at King Arthur Flour.
Thousands and thousands more recipes to consider cooking this week are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go browse, see what you like. It’s true that you need a subscription to access them all, and to use the features of our site and apps. But we think it’s worth paying for, and we know that doing so supports our work and allows it to continue. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll think about subscribing today. Thank you.
And we’ll be standing by to help, should anything go sideways in your kitchen or on our site and apps. Just write firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get back to you, I promise. (You can get me at email@example.com. I read every letter sent and try to help where I can.)
Now, it’s nothing to do with sorbet or veal stock, but my old colleague Mike Doughty — we were reporters for the New York Press before he and Soul Coughing took off — has a new band, Ghost of Vroom. Here’s “Rona Pollona,” the first single from their first album, “Ghost of Vroom 2.”
Check out this series on aquaculture in Maine Boats and Harbors, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Things are changing Down East, quite quickly.
Finally, I read all of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels while I was away, and recommend them to you highly. (Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Janet Maslin on Ms. French’s work, in The Times.) Here’s maybe my favorite sentence in the six books, from “The Likeness”: I had been right: freedom smelled like ozone and thunderstorms and gunpowder all at once, like snow and bonfires and cut grass, it tasted like seawater and oranges. Fair play to you, Tana French. That’s electric. I’ll return on Monday.