Good morning. It’d be nice to have a cocktail party this weekend, even if the guests are imaginary, or just you and yours. You could cut some raw vegetables to serve with this ridiculously good green dip. You could make deviled eggs, tuna-stuffed piquillo peppers or tempura-fried green beans. Those and an ice-cold Martinez would make for a fine early evening.
You don’t have to do that, of course. Everything at NYT Cooking is optional, voluntary. But even if you’re not feeling social, even if you don’t want to play the imaginary host, this weekend I think you should make James Beard’s onion sandwiches (above), as fine a cocktail party snack as has ever been recorded.
Tejal Rao wrote about the sandwich this week for The Times, in a piece about John Birdsall’s powerful new biography of Beard, “The Man Who Ate Too Much.” The essay is a remarkable examination of Beard’s place and legacy in American food, and the sandwiches — which as Tejal and Birdsall note weren’t Beard’s to begin with — are to match. Give that recipe a shot this weekend, read Ligaya Mishan’s beautiful review for The New York Times Book Review, and then order Birdsall’s book.
Sticking with Tejal for the moment, I could also see my way to making her fried chicken biscuits with hot honey butter, wrapping them carefully and taking them out into the world to eat under a tree somewhere, on a bench by open water, on a bench in the park. As food for socially distant consumption goes, fried chicken sandwiches are near the top of the list.
This weekend could be prime weather for a croque monsieur, unless of course you don’t eat ham or cheese, which I get: Try this vegan mac and cheese instead, with these vegan chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Or try your hand at Singaporean braised duck this weekend. Or whole-roasted Delicata squash. Salmon cakes with Thai basil yogurt? You could bake a Russian honey cake. Or burble up the pork braciole they make at Frankies Spuntino in New York. The idea’s just to cook with intention and in so doing to make your life a little brighter, at a time when brightness counts for so much.
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