Good Morning. Even before the pandemic ended the dinner parties (do you remember them?), I had an intricate relationship with appetizers, nibbles, nuts and cheese, with any consumption that precedes a meal. I don’t like the idea of prolonged cooking – putting together a pot roast, making pasta, rethinking a salad, making a dessert – so a guest can get to my house, eat a quarter pound of salted cashews, and then eat half a pound Pick an hour later at dinner. It’s grumpy of me, I know, but there you have it. I want you to sit at the table hungry and I’ll feed you in response.
But Dorie Greenspan brings me around. She has a nice piece in The Times today about those hearty little quick breads called cakes salés that she discovered in a Picard shop in Paris and turned into a recipe (above) for us to enjoy at home. Cakes Salés go wonderfully with an aperitif of white wine, are super easy to prepare and infinitely customizable in terms of mix-ins and spices. Eating a slice or two before dinner, warm out of the oven, reminds me of what it was like to eat in a good restaurant, busy, noisy and crowded. I don’t have any guests now, but if I did I would urge them to eat their cake. I would shove it on them with some cheeses, some olives, maybe even nuts. Change is good.
Make one today, why not do something in front of something like this chicken paillard with parmesan breadcrumbs? Jennifer Steinhauer, the Washington reporter and cookbook author who brought us the recipe, serves the schnitzel on a pile of shredded escarole and turns them into food and salad in one. You don’t need strength. You had the Cake Salé!
For Monday’s dinner, consider this white bean, leek, and lemon baked rice. (Here’s a great tip from a number of subscribers: To cook the rice, use broth instead of plain water.)
Tuesday evening: caramelized shallot pasta. Chances are, you will be doing this all the time.
I like this toasted cauliflower salad with halloumi and lemon for Wednesday nights, but I also understand that Wednesday nights can be tough. There’s no shame in a weekday omelet. In fact, a weekday omelet can be the best omelette there is.
On Thursday, please, Korean barbecue-style meatballs with steamed rice and kimchi.
And then you can end the week with baked buffalo wings and a platter of nachos like you may not have done in years. Put some beers in the freezer for half an hour before dinner so they’ll be sprinkled with ice as you eat them. Bring the Super Bowl!
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