Good morning. I came down with Covid for the second time last week, and it left me shivering, sweating, panting a little, unable to sleep, unable to get out of bed. I watched things on my screens. I drank a lot of Gatorade and swallowed my dose of Paxlovid in the mornings and at night. I ate little. I kept panic about my breathlessness at bay. It was not a good time.
I thought a lot about what I was going to cook, and eat, once I got better. These were spacey fever dreams. High on the list: Bryan Washington’s new recipe for chilaquiles verdes (above), which he wrote about for The New York Times Magazine.
What I love about the recipe, and about Bryan’s cooking in general, is his understanding of how recipes aren’t rules so much as guideposts, ways of thinking about dishes that can mutate over time, perhaps because of circumstance or taste. There are a thousand ways to make chilaquiles, after all, and in Bryan’s view, the best way is the way the dish was prepared the last time he ate it. “Like so much of cooking’s calculus,” he said, “chilaquiles are as much about feel as about measurements and instructions.”
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So attend to his recipe, and make it your own. Excellent tortillas help, as does time spent making the salsa verde with care. But I’ll tell you what: You could make chilaquiles with store-bought tortilla chips and a jar of your favorite salsa verde (mine’s from Herdez) and feel a wonderment, especially if you’ve been laid low and are just trying to find a sense of the delicious.
Then keep it up. I’d like to make our recipe for the best chicken salad this weekend, for lunches next week, and kimchi carbonara for Saturday night, if not clam fritters and coleslaw. Some have asked if they can use canned chopped clams for those fritters. You can, but before you do, see if your fishmonger has frozen chopped clams — the true middle ground between fresh and preserved.
And grilled chicken with tomatoes and corn for dinner on Sunday night? I’d like that, though if I’ve got the energy (I’m still a little shaky!), I’d almost prefer a celery Victor salad, with cold slices of watermelon for dessert.
There are many thousands more recipes to cook this weekend, waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you have a subscription. Subscriptions support our work and make it possible to continue. I hope if you haven’t taken one out already, that you will subscribe today. Thank you.
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Now, it has nothing to do with beurre blanc or ripe blackberries, but after I rewatched Michael Mann’s 1995 thriller, “Heat,” with a 103-degree fever, his novel “Heat 2” made a lot more sense to me. (I caught the film on Netflix; it’s on other streaming services as well.)
Are you caught up on Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Circle” on Max? Y’oughta get on that. It took me down a Soderbergh rabbit hole to his excellent “Command Z,” written with Kurt Andersen, on their very own website.
Finally, here’s my anthem this week, the song that kept me going: “Still Getting It Done,” from Ghost of Vroom. I’ll see you on Sunday.