Hello, newsletter readers! Melissa Clark and I are channeling Sam Sifton in his absence. When Sam goes away he goes away, and will not be heard from again until September. Let’s all pretend that month is a long way off from now, shall we?
In the meantime, let’s cook the way he’d want us to. Start off easy, with a new dip (above) for vegetables from the farmstand or the supermarket: tangy feta cheese smoothed out with cream cheese and olive oil and sparked with lemon and scallions. I see it as a satisfying start to a simple dinner, adding on sliced tomatoes and a legendary Jacques Pépin roast chicken. (Chicken, salt, pepper; that’s it.)
I like lining up dishes in my mind to imagine how they’ll go together, but if you feel late summer is no time for meal planning, have chips and dip for dinner. (May I suggest an old recipe for potato chips from the formidable M.F.K. Fisher, and a new recipe for spinach-artichoke dip from the fierce Alison Roman?) Make a giant sandwich in the morning, like a pan bagnat from Provence or muffuletta from New Orleans, let it ripen all day, and slice it up as the sun goes down.
Or pick by ingredient: Radishes seduce me at the farmers’ market with their perfect lipstick reds and pinks, so I always buy too many: This crunchy salad from Samin Nosrat is a lifesaver. Search for scallops, and you’ll find your way to this summery pasta with seared scallops and burst tomatoes. (Are there two more beautiful words in the English language than “burst tomatoes”? The writer Henry James nominated “summer afternoon,” but it’s arguable.)
Speaking of arguments, as a word nerd from way back, I savored this Times article about when to use an em dash — or, indeed whether it should be used at all — and the inevitable debate that it provoked online.
There are so many more recipes for you to prowl through on NYT Cooking. To get the full scope, you will have to subscribe; that will also let you save them, write yourself reminders on them, share them and return to them again and again. A lot of people think it’s worth it.
That said, every day we put up new stuff on Instagram and Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, all completely free. I can’t stop watching Melissa Clark’s black-and-white cookie video, trying to memorize that big icing move that produces a perfect chocolate-vanilla divide.
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I’ll be back Wednesday. Until then, if you missed it, read the story that cheered up the world last week.