Good morning. I can see the scene in my head: yellow leaves skittering down the sidewalk, gathering in piles at the base of stoops as the late-afternoon sun begins its drop. It’s cold, getting colder, and we’re hustling along with a few bottles of wine, a baguette and a bag of slick and salty Marcona almonds to share.
Ring the doorbell, accept the hug, shrug out of overcoats and hand over the wine. Now take in that scent coming out of the kitchen: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, the dank sweetness of prunes. Also, chicken? The combination is enveloping, intoxicating, a warm, weighted blanket of scent.
Later, there’s the flavor: ambrosial with carrots and sweet potatoes, those warm spices mingling with the fat from the chicken, with bubbling orange juice, with the allium bite of a leek and the low heat of a large pinch of cayenne. There are gasps and laughter, everyone crowded around the kitchen island slurping away, as candlelight flickers off the bay windows that are starting to fog.
This is Melissa Clark’s home I’m describing, and the magic she creates in it, but it absolutely could be your own. Just make her new recipe for braised chicken thighs with sweet potatoes and dates (above), a chicken tzimmes of sorts, and experience the delight of third-generation Brownstone Brooklyn wherever you stay. It’s a Sunday supper to repeat and repeat this winter, starting today.
Pork tenderloin is inexpensive but prone to overcooking. Mark Bittman’s recipe for twice-cooked pork tenderloin makes for a dinner that tastes expensive and is remarkably juicy. On a Tuesday night in December, that’s a win. Serve with rice.
If you can get it together to marinate the skirt steak in the morning before your day gets hectic, Eric Kim’s recipe for a simple bulgogi makes for an awesome weeknight meal. If you can’t, though, and have time to marinate it for only 30 minutes or so? It’s still pretty great.
Finally, head into the weekend with Millie Peartree’s new recipe for chicken cook-up rice, her take on the traditional Guyanese dish, with chicken, smoked turkey necks, black-eyed peas and coconut rice. Like all cook-ups, it’s endlessly adaptable; you could use beef or pork, pigeon peas or red beans. Mash it up!
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Now, it’s a considerable distance from anything to do with cornmeal or demi-glace, but Zadie Smith has a lovely essay in The New Yorker on the (literal) fall of her teenage self.
More personal history, this time with Patricia Lockwood’s very funny account of meeting the pope, in The London Review of Books. (“I have a brief moment of panic. Is it wrong to meet the pope? Then: if Martin Scorsese did it, it’s probably fine.”)
Here’s Alexandra Jacobs’s review, in The Times, of Michael Gross’s latest book, “Flight of the WASP: The Rise, Fall, and Future of America’s Original Ruling Class.”
Finally, and also in The Times, do check out Gia Kourlas’s delightful collaboration with the photographer and videographer OK McCausland, “Tales of the ‘Nutcracker’ Kids.” Enjoy and I’ll be back next week!