Good morning. Kwanzaa began on Saturday, a tradition modeled after harvest or “first fruits” celebrations in ancient Africa that started in Los Angeles in 1966 and that has since taken root across the nation. For The Times this week, Nicole Taylor spoke with five celebrating families to explore the foodways of the holiday, and returned with some incredible recipes you might try this week, including for BBQ tofu, coffee-rubbed grilled fish and vegan doughnuts (above).
Maybe make the tofu or the fish tonight? That and some macaroni and cheese would make for an excellent dinner. (Those doughnuts would make for a stellar breakfast tomorrow.)
On Monday, I think I could make a meal of these sweet potatoes with sour cream and pecans, especially if I scatter some baby greens over the top.
For Tuesday’s dinner, I like the looks of these pork chops puttanesca, with a bowl of buttery spaghetti and some grated Parmesan.
Then, on Wednesday, if you’re not totally stressed by all the cooking, the endless weeknight responsibility of it, you might make three-cup vegetables with rice. But if you are stressed, if it’s all just Too Much here at the end of this horrible, no-good year, I absolve you: Get the best pizza you can and eat it on the couch watching whatever it is you want to be watching. (For me, this week, that’s “Deadliest Catch.”)
Thursday night’s New Year’s Eve, of course, and we’ll all be glad to end this year, even if we won’t or shouldn’t be doing so in a crowd of strangers (or even friends!). Which is anyway a great excuse to make and savor a caviar sandwich, if you’re in a position to do so: “All at once a little messy and a little decadent and a little modest,” is how Gabrielle Hamilton described it in The Times back in 2018. “As my father would cheerfully say, ‘Diamonds and burlap!’ ”
And then on Friday, Gabrielle again, maybe, with a fabulous and idiosyncratic steak tartare to serve with pommes Anna. On the steak recipe, you may have some questions. Gabrielle has answers: “The butter and the Vegemite are personal eccentricities I happen to find exceptionally delicious, and I reason that if you are already into Worcestershire sauce, then the intense umami of the Vegemite is not such a reach for your palate.” (Is that a hard no? Try these fish tacos instead.)
There are thousands and thousands more recipes to cook this week waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go see what you can find. As always, save the recipes you want to cook and rate the ones you’ve made. You can leave notes on recipes, too, if you want to keep track of hacks or substitutions you’ve made or want to tell your fellow subscribers about them.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with chirashi or beignets, but The Times asked 22 interesting people what books President-elect Joe Biden should read. The answers are fascinating.
Have you watched “Taste the Nation” with Padma Lakshmi yet? It’s a joy.
Finally, the jazz pianist Stanley Cowell died last week at 79. Here’s his “Departure,” composed in 1958 during the summer between his high school graduation and his matriculation at Oberlin College. Listen to that, and I’ll be back on Monday.
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