Good morning. I’m just back from the Florida Keys, north of Key Largo, white sand beneath green water pouring on the tide. I was on some kind of Travis McGee trip down there, a knight-errant out in the mangrove wilderness, trying to figure out my relationship to society and all its trappings, to credit cards and the surveillance state, to polite people at expensive coffee shops, to their umbrellas set neatly in a rack by the door. I was looking for adventure, clarity, recipes, inspiration. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, in New York, my colleagues published a run of new news stories and recipes this week that I think you’ll enjoy. Start with Priya Krishna’s profile of Kwame Onwuachi, a young chef riding the roller coaster of fame, who has a memoir out, “Notes From a Young Black Chef.” Then visit with Julia Moskin in advance of Passover, with her sweet-funny look at a wonderful new collection of essays, “The 100 Most Jewish Foods.”
Then consider the 101st! I think it’s Melissa Clark’s brilliant new recipe for matzo lasagna (above), which I hope will earn a place on many Seder tables this year. (For Easter, look at David Tanis’s smart new recipe for leg of lamb with flageolet beans and root vegetables.)
Definitely consider Alison Roman’s new recipe for creamy cauliflower pasta with pecorino bread crumbs. That’s a fine feed.
Read about red wines from the Languedoc in Eric Asimov’s new column. Then drink them with a new Florence Fabricant recipe, for a chicken-thigh riff on saltimbocca, simmered with fingerling potatoes and peas.
And then, even if you’re making the chicken or assembling your lasagna, you can imagine yourself eating out tonight, either at Niche, Shigetoshi Nakamura’s brothless ramen joint on the Lower East Side, which Pete Wells reviewed; or at Chicks Isan, a Thai place in Downtown Brooklyn reviewed by Ligaya Mishan.
Want to cook without a recipe, as has become our Wednesday custom? I’ve got a fine one in mind for roasted sweet potatoes slathered with butter and white miso, with scallions and furikake scattered over the top, to serve with a salad that should remind you of while being much better than those free-with-the-sushi-deluxe situations served at the Japanese place you once kind of liked even though it wasn’t very good.
The potatoes are easy: Cut them in half, oil them, roast them cut-side down in a hot oven until they’re soft and cooked through, a little caramelized at the edges. Top with miso, butter, scallions and furikake, and maybe some nuts if you want the protein.
For the salad, combine a little minced garlic and a lot of minced ginger in a bowl, with a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, a glug of sesame oil and a bunch more of canola or grapeseed. Emulsify that with a whisk. Maybe add a hit of soy sauce? A drizzle of honey? You’ll figure it out. Dress the greens lightly, but not so lightly that some would call them naked, and serve alongside the potatoes. It’s a very good meal.
Thousands more recipes to cook tonight and this week are on NYT Cooking. (You will need to take out a subscription in order to access them all. I will need you to take out a subscription in order to keep receiving a paycheck.) It’s cool. You can use the site to make last-minute plans for Passover and Easter.
Look for beautiful food photography and video on our Instagram page, and check in with our accounts on Twitter and Facebook as well. And if you need help with your cooking, or our technology, please write directly for help: email@example.com. We’ll get back to you.
Now, it’s not about cooking, but neither are the Keys. This is Rob Hoerburger’s pop-music novel, “Why Do Birds,” and I’d tell you to read it even if Rob weren’t one of the greatest copy editors at The Times. Go read the first few pages. I bet you stick around to the end.
Will you check out the Celia Paul show at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.? Curated by Hilton Als!
Here’s Ben Ratliff with a relatively new mix for Blowing Up the Workshop, essentially songs for spring.
Finally, for those still wondering about Travis McGee, start here. You’re welcome. See you on Friday.