What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. How are you? It’s possible you’re ecstatic, vaccinated, eager to return to some sense of normalcy, or at any rate to a state in which you’re not just scared all the time. It’s possible you’re exhausted, worn down by the months of uncertainty, the lack of work, the lack of human contact. It’s possible that you’re both — or that you’re neither. This pandemic is grabbing at each of us differently, and its effects will be with us long after herd immunity arrives. But no one I’m talking to seems utterly content, right now.

But we have our moments, and, for a lot of us, they come to us in the kitchen, as we cook. There’s something about the work itself — slicing and chopping, assembling, tossing, sliding a sheet pan out of the oven, stirring a pot on the stove — that offers a kind of respite from whatever ache thrums through your psyche, whatever trouble stalks your soul. Give braised lemon-saffron chicken and potatoes (above) a try tonight and see if you don’t agree. It’s hard not to be happy, making and eating something like that.

Or you could fire up the slow cooker this very afternoon, make this chicken ragù with herbed ricotta. The cheese gets dolloped on top at the end, and it’ll make you think of lasagna, with none of the fuss.

You could make roasted salmon with peas and radishes, a taste of the season, as is this marvelous fresh pea soup with miso. Or breakfast udon, which is a pretty great dinner. Or a roasted asparagus and scallion salad, same.

Me, I’d like to give this chic little burger a try. It’s something the chef Sonia Ezgulian brought to Café Salle Pleyel in Paris as a guest chef a million years ago, the flavors reminiscent of a grilled steak tartare, with Parmesan. It looks great, and Dorie Greenspan loves it, so I’m in!

Or maybe a coconut chicken curry? Or moo shu mushrooms? Will I have time for strawberry muffins with candied almonds as well? It’d be great to have those for breakfast tomorrow — or better yet, lunch.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. Yes, it’s true that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions support our work. They allow it to continue. If you don’t have one yet, I hope you will think about subscribing today.

And we’ll be standing by to help if anything goes sideways along the way, either in your kitchen or on our site and apps. Just send us a detailed message: [email protected] Someone will get back to you, I promise. (You can also write to me: [email protected] I read every message sent.)

Now, it’s a far cry from omelets and ice cream, but today is the birthday of the poet Marilyn Nelson. She’s 75. Here’s her “The House on Moscow Street,” from 1990. Please read.

We stopped by Sohla El-Waylly’s kitchen recently to challenge her to cook dinner for herself and her husband, using a secret ingredient. The resulting video is up on our YouTube channel. Like and subscribe.

Of course there’s a fine arts mash-up with “The Simpsons.” It’s on Instagram, naturally.

Finally, I’m a little late to it, and just getting started on the words, but how great is the cover of Stephen King’s “Later”? I hope you read that soon. I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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