What to Cook This Weekend
Labor Day is gone and your week was jam packed. So this Saturday I decided we all needed some extra inspiration and choices. One of my favorite sites for recipes is The New York Times Cooking. And today they launch us into Fall with restaurant choices, food pairings, and lots of recipes! Let's start with Cal Peternell’s Braised Chicken Legs!
Good morning. Restaurant season's getting underway in New York, and we're poring over our Food desk's preview of the fall restaurant openings exactly as we used to read the scouting reports in advance of the N.F.L. season that started last night in Denver, where the Broncos rallied past Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, 21-20.
So maybe it's time for a new sport coat and some autumnal tennies: table for two at 7:15 p.m., please, no food allergies. A dinner out would be nice after a week of hurricane worries, back-to-school tensions, the whole anxious business of a full office for the first time in weeks and many, many things to do before the end of the year. (Even on Labor Day, you knew this was coming. And here it is.)
But it's not as if we're not going to be cooking. Summer's easy, and you can hold on to it for as long as you can: Buy the freshest vegetables and do very little to them; cook some steaks; repeat. That's fine. (Try Julia Moskin's caramelized corn with fresh mint and it will be better than fine. Pair with giant chipotle-rubbed steaks with cilantro-lime butter!)
But as fall begins its march toward winter, remember: Cooking is therapeutic, one of our best bets for relieving stress. It makes life better for the person cooking, and for those they serve. (Yes, they! Gender neutral. Here's John E. McIntyre, a senior editor at The Baltimore Sun, making the case for the singular use of the pronoun. Discuss.)
We are anyway here to help. Perhaps this weekend could mark your first braise of the season. I like this recipe I learned from the California chef Cal Peternell, for braised chicken legs (above), in part because it's endlessly adaptable. You could scent the chicken with paprika in addition to salt and pepper, if you like, or with cumin, with cinnamon and caraway. You could cook it in red wine, if you want, or white, with beer or chicken stock or water. Serve a bunch of sliced tomatoes on the side alongside a haunch of crusty bread. This makes for very good eating.
Or maybe make shrimp alla marinara? A spinach bouillabaisse? Cook some salmon? Make David Tanis's recipe for New Mexican pozole? If it's hot out, you might watch this cool little recipe video we put together, and make cold sesame noodles. Or if it's not, you could make Rhode Island clam chowder; swap out the clams for fish, if you can't find cherrystones or top-necks.
Weekends are great for baking. You could make Amanda Hesser's chocolate dump-it cake during this one. Or give Melissa Clark's recipe for an apple bourbon Bundt cake a try, a taste of deep fall, right here at the end of summer. (Those seeking both dessert and ease should turn toward this recipe I picked up from Christina Tosi, for a cake made in a slow cooker. It's awesome.)
Finally, Monday evening marks the start of Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest holidays in the Islamic calendar. It's a festival of sacrifice, so there's often a lot of lamb on the table. But not just meat, as our collection of recipes for the holiday suggests. Start your preparations this weekend.
And if you run into trouble along the way, either with our technology or with our words and pictures, instruction and advice, please reach out for help. We have a crack team of culinary paramedics on staff. They monitor firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can track me down on social media, where I crack wise on Twitter, post links on Facebook, attempt to make pretty pictures on Instagram and collect links to giant pizza ovens, epic grills and the occasional boat on Pinterest.
Now, take a look at this amazing menu from the 1840s that the culinary historian Henry Voight just found and posted on his blog. It's for a restaurant in downtown New York called Sandy Welsh's, where Edgar Allan Poe ate alongside reporters for The New-York Daily Times, the newspaper that became the one you are reading today. It's an outstanding read.