Good morning. Let’s imagine it went well last night with the accountant you met at CrossFit, in line at the health-food store, on a bench at the D.M.V. Small talk led to shy smiles that bred confidence in each other, and there you were for Valentine’s Day dinner at a restaurant running a special menu that wasn’t actually all that good. It didn’t matter much. You both laughed and picked at the food and drank the cheap bubbly wine and afterward found yourselves holding hands as you walked away, talking Rimbaud. For you, for them, let’s cook vegan halvah brownies (above) this weekend, and celebrate a life full of plants, a chance at new beginnings, a new way to eat, whoever you actually are.
(I get it if that’s just not going to happen for you. A vegan halvah brownie might be the man bun of pastry, a ticket to Tulum in the form of dessert. And for those who aren’t having that, no way: Try making fried-chicken biscuits with hot honey butter instead. Enjoy!)
Monday, of course, is Presidents’ Day. For denizens of the real world, we’ve assembled a collection of recipes to cook over the long weekend. You might bake some salted caramel cookies this weekend, for self or friends, or an olive oil cake because it’s both beautiful and delicious.
On the savory side of the weekend equation, how about making a cheesy eggplant and rigatoni bake today? Or a shepherd’s pie? You could devour tonight, or make and chill against cooking next week! (Likewise, for sandwiches, this amazing roast beef recipe from Melissa Clark.)
Here’s a Sunday plan: perfect hash browns and the best scrambled eggs for breakfast. Or jian bing. Or avocado toast. Tuna salad sandwich for lunch. Unless you want a fried eggplant one instead. Some braised chicken legs for dinner, with parsleyed noodles? (Speaking of which, here’s an explanation of how that recipe became a meme.) Alternatively: Crispy lamb with cumin, scallions and red chiles, a taste of Northeast China, with rice.
There are thousands and thousands of other recipes to cook this weekend on NYT Cooking. (Have you made no-knead bread yet?) Yes, you need a subscription to access them, same as I need to pay the orthodontist in exchange for braces on my kid’s teeth. I consider it a fair trade, but you can find us for free on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, if you’d like inspiration on the cheap. And you can always write me to litigate or simply to complain: firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t help with your account, though, or with the intricacies of our technology. For that, please contact our Department of Boffins: email@example.com.
Now, it has nothing to do with Sauternes or stone-ground grits, but Kurt Andersen’s review of Thomas Mallon’s latest novel is great stuff, in The Times.
As both a convener of meetings and an advocate for dinner parties, a fan of hosted events and that guy in the back of the fisheries session devoted to stock assessments and discard mortality, I am devouring Priya Parker’s “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters.” You will do the same, I think.
Finally, my friend Sam Sanders posted on Twitter the other day: “FYI, if you’re extremely bored and looking for any kind of serotonin hit during your morning, you can sign up to get something called Informed Delivery from the USPS and it generates an automatic email that tells you what mail is coming that day (scanned images).” And as it happens that is true. So if you like, go sign up! Have a great weekend. See you on Sunday.