Good morning. Games that my family plays on road trips: Punch Buggy, Stump the Teacher, I’m Thinking of an Animal. Also, the Rating Game: your top five sandwiches, your top five pizzerias, your top five restaurant dishes, your top five fruits.
Peaches do very well in the Rating Game, I’ve found, even if your chances of actually eating a perfect peach are low. Where I stay, most peaches are terrible. If I’m lucky I’ll have two great ones a season.
But cooking a bad peach can make it terrific, which is why I’m so thrilled about Yossy Arefi’s new recipe for a peach crisp (above). You want the fruit just this side of ripe — those super-ripe ones are better raw, and only turn to mush when baked. Peel them if you like a luscious texture against the buttery crust of oats (I’m a rustic; I don’t peel). You’ll notice Yossy doesn’t include spices in her recipe. You can add a little rosy sweetness by serving the crisp with vanilla ice cream, or you could bring a whisper of cinnamon or nutmeg to the mix if you prefer.
That peach crisp after a dinner of Kim Severson’s Southern shrimp scampi? That’s living.
As for the rest of the week. …
I love a truly no-cook meal this time of year, and Hetty Lui McKinnon’s chilled zucchini, lemon and miso soup delivers the business with the aid of a food processor or blender. Mild and mellow zucchini gets amped up with garlic, basil, miso and lemon juice, and then the potion is thickened with cashews, which provide a creamy silkiness and gentle sweetness. Do yourself a favor and make it before you set off to work, then leave it in the refrigerator. It’ll be nice and cold and perfect for dinner.
Some will quail at using their oven and broiler on a weeknight in August, but Julia Moskin’s adaptation of the recipe for pork ribs adobo she learned from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan of the Purple Yam in Brooklyn is worth the sweat equity. It’s a fantastic dish.
Ali Slagle’s tomato and Cheddar toasts are a marvel of engineering, with a cheese hack she learned from the chef Chris Kronner: Finely grated Cheddar is whisked into mayonnaise to create a creamy base for the sandwich. It falls somewhere between a Mexican queso and a pepper-free pimento cheese. Nice!
Alison Roman’s recipe for cold noodles with chile oil and citrusy cabbage is a lovely invitation to improvisation in the kitchen. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover roast pork or beef. Throw in roasted vegetables, raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, whatever you’ve got that plays off the liveliness of the dressing.
And then to round out the week, you can give Hannah Kirshner’s recipe for karaage a try. It’s inspired by a version served at Kunyan, a ramen shop in a small mountain town above the Sea of Japan. Hannah calls for marinating the chicken — boneless pieces of thigh meat — for a full 24 hours, but I’ve done just fine with only a few. No potato starch for the coating? Cornstarch will work in a pinch.
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Finally, I usually end these notes with a number of recommendations that have nothing to do with cooking, cultural gems that I think are worth considering and talking about over dinner.
Today, to emphasize its importance, I’m including only one, an article in The Atavist by my former colleague Joe Sexton and his daughter Lucy Sexton, about what happened when Joe was detained during a reporting trip to Libya in 2021. It’s called “Held Together,” and it’s shattering. You should read it right now. I’ll be back on Friday.