Hi and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes, with recipe ideas for busy people like you. Can I also put in a plug for chicken soup made from scratch? (Don’t worry, this newsletter isn’t sponsored by Big Soup.) On Sunday, I used my electric pressure cooker to make spicy chicken stock, with this Bon Appétit recipe providing inspiration. We’ve had it for dinner off and on all week, adding shredded chicken, rice noodles, jalapeño, sliced squash and a drizzle of Sichuan chile oil. So good.
O.K., one more plug: I’m doing a talk on Tuesday evening at the Museum of Food and Drink in New York with the amazing Kate McDermott! Kate is a master pie baker who teaches all over the country, so we’ll be talking about that, but also about her hippie youth on the West Coast of the ’60s and ’70s, and the ways in which the food thinking of that era have become vital again. I’d love to meet you, so if you’re there, please say hello. Or I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org if you just want to send me a note sometime.
Here are five dishes for the week:
Don’t you just want to live in a world where dinner looks like this? Serve it with rice, farro, barley or wheat berries — a grain with some heft — and a simple green salad or some carrots you’ve cut into chunks, thrown onto a second pan, tossed with oil and put in the oven to roast to sweetness while the chicken cooks.
I love Julia Moskin’s recipes — they’re delicious and smart and made for real life. This one is modular, a dish built on a pasta base that can be adjusted along the way to please everyone you’re feeding. (And read the story that accompanied this recipe, which lays out her strategy; it is sharply funny and true to the plight of the cook who needs to feed the picky.) Serve with an affable veg everyone likes — maybe green beans, with a little crunch.
Cauliflower is perennially satisfying, and the olives and feta deliver a little excitement. You could serve this as a side dish, but with the cheese and nuts it’s filling enough to toss with farro or wild rice, shower with more herbs, and have for dinner.
Lime and cumin are often paired with shrimp; the addition of ginger makes this speedy recipe sing. Pile the shrimp into warm corn tortillas to make tacos, or serve them on a pile of white rice. I’d make a kale salad on the side dressed with lime juice and oil, but steamed broccoli or spinach would also work well.