What to Cook This Weekend

What to Cook This Weekend

Make my recipe for cod cakes out of what fish you find frozen, or broil up the last of the venison from late last fall. Not sure what you’ve got in there under its skein of frost? Marinate it in Italian dressing: Sunday spiedies for the win.

And don’t forget to look into your equipment drawers while you’re on the job. All those lidless Talenti containers and yogurt tubs and cracked Glad bowls and 37 wine corks you’re saving for — what? Throw them out! It’s time to get sorted!

Look at that clean and organized kitchen, and imagine what else you might do this weekend. You could make pie dough to freeze until you’re ready to bake it. You could make turkey stock, same notion.

Or you could just consider the cleaning out of the kitchen your Thanksgiving work for the week, and make something else entirely. Like, maybe roast chicken with couscous, dates and buttered almonds? Farro and bean soup? I’d like to eat this twice-cooked pork tenderloin, with smashed red potatoes with cabbage on the side.

But, you know, my people want burgers on Saturday night. And burgers they shall have, smashed hard on the griddle, then doubled up on a potato roll with cheese and chopped lettuce, a wan tomato and a squeeze of mayo cut through with sriracha. I might add a fried egg, a slice of griddled pineapple, maybe some bacon, see if I can’t get some contest eating going, really go over the top.

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Now, please read Nikita Stewart’s excellent Times profile of the young New York chef JJ Johnson, coming into his own. (“I’m just cooking me,” he told Nikita, “JJ unleashed!”)

Also, you might want to take a look at this post over at Food52, which highlights some Google Trend data mining: the most-searched Thanksgiving recipes for every state.

Finally, it was on this day in 1620 that Pilgrims first caught sight of the low sandy rise of Cape Cod, in what would become Massachusetts. If a real Thanksgiving did not occur until a year later, after a difficult few seasons on shore, still those passengers surely offered thanks from the deck of their battered Mayflower that morning long ago, after a miserable crossing. You can learn more about it in Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War,” essential seasonal reading, in my view.

But even if you don’t, it is a scene worth imagining as we head into this national season of cheer and good will: these headstrong, frightened, hopeful people who were “willing to endure almost anything,” Philbrick wrote, “if it meant that they could worship as they pleased.” Think about that today and absolutely tomorrow, which is Veterans Day. Then give thanks yourself, to all who have served this nation, at war and in peace, for their work and sacrifice. And I’ll be back on Sunday.

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