It’s… Nothing Fancy! – The New York Times

It’s… Nothing Fancy! – The New York Times

Good morning. I wish an easy fast to those who are observing Yom Kippur today, and offer all the hope in the world that there’s a good spread for you after a day of prayer and atonement, forgiveness and repentance: glistening smoked salmon and silky whitefish; pickled herring in cream sauce and onions; kippers and chub; sliced red onions, capers, cream cheese; bagels for miles.

I wish that feed on everyone, actually, regardless of faith or lack thereof. Enjoying the foods of other traditions and cultures is, after all, as much a part of American culture as pickup trucks and cargo shorts. And sometimes it leads to some pretty wild cooking as well. For instance, you ever consider halal-cart congee?

In retail news, our Alison Roman has a new cookbook out this month, “Nothing Fancy.” It makes a powerful argument that you ought to invite a few friends over for dinner real soon. We’ve excerpted the book in The Times today, and offer you four recipes to bring your dinner to life.

So, slow-roasted oregano-bedazzled chicken with buttered tomatoes. Lemony white beans and escarole with anchovy and Parmesan. Labneh with sizzled scallions and chile (above) to tie everything together. And tiny, salty, chocolaty cookies for dessert.

Tonight, you needn’t cook such a spread. Instead you can follow my lead and make the no-recipe recipe Action Bronson dropped on a kid at The New York Times Food Festival talk I moderated this weekend with him and the critic Jon Caramanica. It’s for pasta and feta, and very simple. Just cook your favorite spaghetti (bucatini, for me!) and reserve a little bit of the cooking water. Combine the pasta with a nice scattering of feta — Bronson likes the creamy Bulgarian variety, and I agree — loosen it a little with the pasta water, stir in some spinach or baby kale, hit the whole with red-pepper flakes and serve. Bronson eats that action while watching U.F.C. fights on the couch and who am I to judge. I sit beside him!

Other recipes to cook tonight or in coming days include these simple and herb-laden mustard-baked chicken legs; this black pepper beef and cabbage stir-fry; this freekeh, chickpea and herb salad; and a whole mess of J. Kenji López-Alt’s perfect steam-boiled eggs. (Check out this light and hugely flavorful recipe for curried egg salad.)

Of course there are thousands and thousands more ideas for what to cook waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go see what you find! You will, of course, need a subscription to access them. We believe the work we do is worth paying for. (If you really, really agree with that sentiment, you could always buy someone a gift subscription as well!)

We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube as well (As am I: @samsifton.) And you can reach out to us by email if you have questions about your cooking or our technology. We’re at We will get back to you.

(Want to send an apple or a worm? You can reach me at and I’ll pass along your praise or take credit for my errors, depending. Why, here’s an example now! On Sunday I stupidly put Susan Spungen’s new recipe for Thai-ish coconut chicken breasts with vegetables in the oven. You make it on the stovetop, of course.)

Now, it has nothing to do with bread or pope’s noses, but David Leonhardt had an eye-opening opinion column about taxes in The Times this week, accompanied by a jaw-dropping chart, and you should absolutely consider both.

Because I follow the god-critic Ben Ratliff on social media, I found and now recommend this cool piece on Devendra Banhart in Alt Citizen, by E. R. Pulgar.

I loved this episode of Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing,” an interview with David Rattray, the third-generation owner and editor of The East Hampton Star.

Finally, check out Lana Del Rey covering Joni Mitchell the other day, at a concert in Seattle. See you on Friday.

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