A Soup to Make You Feel Better


Good morning. Melissa Clark has a lovely column in The Times this week that’s about cooking a spicy, vegetable-forward lemony white bean soup with greens and ground turkey (above), though you could just as easily use ground pork or beef or chicken, tofu or seitan or vegan ground chorizo. I like it with kale or collards, but it works just fine with spinach or baby greens. It’s a soupy, non-heavy chili concoction, basically, and a delicious meal for the middle of the week. It’ll bring comfort at a time when all of us need a little comfort. Will you give it a try?

Or check out J. Kenji López-Alt with his amazing riff on jeon, the Korean pancake, which he’s taken to filling with all sorts of odds and ends from his fridge, including — amazingly, deliciously — sauerkraut. Once you start in with jeon, you’ll be making jeon all the time. (I like using a mixture of squid and scallions, as in this recipe of Hooni Kim’s that Melissa brought to The Times.)

Not that you need a recipe to eat well. Indeed, I think it’s good sometimes to cook without one, in order to stretch your cooking muscles, to develop independent kitchen thought, to encourage creativity, to underline your growing confidence in the kitchen. It’s a Wednesday tradition in these parts, and the subject of a coming book. I give you a prompt. You go make it.

This week: a crunchy herb salad with vermicelli and shrimp, like a deconstructed summer roll. Cover the noodles with hot water and let it sit until they’re soft and pliant, then drain. Sauté some shrimp and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, for the greens: shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, torn mint and basil, shredded carrot, thin strips of cucumber. Dress and toss all that in lime juice and a little salt. Assemble in a bowl or on a plate: vermicelli, salad, the shrimp. You could drizzle some fish sauce and hoisin sauce over the top, a little more lime, and serve with sriracha or sambal oelek or just hot sauce, if just hot sauce is what you have.

Heading in the opposite direction entirely, you might follow Samin Nosrat’s lead (closely) for an evening of stewed brisket and cheese chimichangas. It’s one of the few small gifts of working from home and not an office, to be able to burble a piece of meat into submission during a weekday, and to use it in coming days for something delicious like a chimichanga.

You could consider tofu and green beans with chile crisp. You should consider this sautéed salmon with leeks and tomatoes. And I’ve said it before, but you should absolutely make our new recipe for shrimp Creole.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Please browse the site and see what sparks joy. (Mushroom soup gratinée!) You can save the recipes you like. (You can do that even if for some reason the recipe doesn’t come from NYT Cooking but from one of our competitors. Here’s how.) Please rate the ones you’ve made. And leave notes on the recipes, if you’d like, either to remind yourself of a hack or substitution or to share your findings with fellow subscribers.

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We will meanwhile be standing by in case something goes sideways in your cooking or with our technology. Just send up a flare: [email protected] Someone will get back to you.

Now, it’s nothing to do with braised rabbit or the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it’s worth watching the French series “Lupin,” with Omar Sy as a gentleman thief. My colleague Margaret Lyons calls it “serious but not too miserable, clever in all the fun ways.” She’s right. It’s a delight.

The pandemic has been absolutely brutal for the arts and arts workers. The Times critic Jason Farago has aplan for how the Biden administration could help them. It’s exciting to read, and hopeful.

Here’s new fiction from Graham Swift in The New Yorker, “Blushes.”

Also worth your time: Helen Lewis in The Atlantic, on the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

Finally, Johnny Cash sang “Folsom Prison Blues” live at Folsom State Prison in California on this day in 1968. Please listen to that, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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