Good morning. My mother loathed Mother’s Day. She thought it a holiday ginned up by the greeting-card industrial complex, the flowers and brunch cartel. Still, if she were around, a gajillion months into this pandemic that would have kept her from her children and grandchildren, I think she would have demanded some sort of vaccinated audience this year. (She died in 2019.) I don’t think she’d be alone. This year’s Mother’s Day, two weeks from today, is going to be serious business for a lot of families. They’ve been apart. Now, perhaps, they can be together, carefully.
Melissa Clark wants you to be ready for that. She’s written a smart puff pastry primer in advance of the holiday, with two recipe templates that will allow you to make a savory and cheesy any vegetable tart, or a caramelized summer fruit tart (above), either one of which would be appropriate for maternal celebration. Won’t you take a run through that today, and see if you can’t knock out one or the other or both, as a kind of practice run? I don’t know your mother. But I would have been very wary to serve a first-time-I’ve-made-this meal to my own. She didn’t really suffer the sort of flaws that can happen when you do that.
Then on Monday, perhaps you could try this Taiwanese meefun, a stir-fried noodle dish that’s often made with dried shrimp but here gets its umami from dried shiitake mushrooms. And make sure to read the recipe notes: people talking about how their moms make the dish, which is always a good sign.
For Tuesday dinner, how about this skillet chicken with black beans, rice and chiles, a true one-pan wonder?
And on Wednesday, take a look at these spicy fried fish balls. (I get it if you’re not going to fry fish on a Wednesday. You could steam fish instead, and drizzle it with olive oil, lemon juice and coarse salt. )
Thursday, how about Jamaican curry chicken and potatoes? Or sweet and spicy tofu with soba noodles?
And then on Friday, you can keep up the sandwich momentum with this terrific recipe for a sheet-pan Italian sub dinner, or this collegiate gem, the Screaming Eagle cheese-steak sub I first had in a dining hall at Boston College. Nearly 80,000 of them are served each academic year, the college told me back in 2011.
There are thousands and thousands more ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you’re a subscriber. Subscriptions are the fuel for our stoves, the ink for our cartridges, our lifeblood. I hope, if you haven’t already, that you will subscribe today.
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Now, it’s a long way from Frenched lamb chops and sheets of nori, but I think you may be moved by this story in The Washington Post Magazine by Patricia McCormick, about what happened to Mary Ann Vecchio, the anguished child at the center of John Filo’s 1970 photograph of a dying Kent State University student, Jeffrey Miller, shot by the National Guard. “That picture hijacked my life,” Vecchio told McCormick. She was 14 in the photograph. She is now 65. “And 50 years later, I still haven’t really moved on.”
And how about these love stories in the time of the coronavirus, collected in the Virginia Quarterly Review?
My pal Kasia Pilat put me on to Lost in History, an excellent Instagram account devoted to photographs and videos from our past. Explore that.
Finally, here’s Fiona Apple covering Sharon Van Etten’s “Love More,” and I think you should listen to it while you get started on the tarts. I’ll be back on Monday.
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