Good morning. Eric Kim’s latest “Eat” column in The New York Times Magazine takes on the pleasures of afternoon tea. He doesn’t approach the ritual in the British sense, nor in a ceremonial one. A friend bangs through the door and he brews a pot of chamomile or burdock, then serves it over conversation, ideally with a slice of cake: “a perfectly contained moment, a pause from the outside world.”
That’s something I do roughly never, but Eric makes the experience sound so pleasant that I might give it a try this week. And I want to make his chamomile cake with strawberry icing (above) to accompany the cups. (I might make that for dessert, to follow a dinner of three-cup chicken. It’s very pretty. Send me pictures of yours: [email protected])
There’s a lot I’m excited to be cooking this week. Slow-cooker chicken ragù with herbed ricotta, for instance, and stir-fried spicy asparagus. Also, Mississippi roast: I’ll use a venison shoulder a buddy gave me a while back, which has been waiting in the freezer for just this occasion. And absolutely these bean and cheese enchiladas.
Perhaps I’ll go off-road, too, and cook in the no-recipe recipe style. Maybe you’ll join me? I’ll give you the prompt: bulgogi-style tofu.
It’s simple. Press some firm tofu to extract as much liquid as you can. Make a marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, grated ginger, a spoonful of gochujang, a splash of neutral oil, some sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds. Slice the tofu into thick squares, and slide them into the marinade. Let that sit — a half-hour works; a few hours works better. Then roast them on an oiled and foil-lined pan until they’re crisp. Serve with bibb lettuce cups to wrap them in, with rice, kimchi and a dipping sauce of ssamjang and a little bit more gochujang thinned out with neutral oil and sherry vinegar. (If not, go sesame oil and ground white pepper.) That’s a fine dinner.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with food and its preparation, but I’d like to steer you toward Maud Newtown’s first book, “Ancestor Trouble,” the begats of the Bible brought into shimmering, difficult light.
For T Magazine, Alwa Cooper spoke with the Ivory Coast artist Joana Choumali about her painting “The Return of the Swallows,” which depicts a sunrise she experienced in Dakar, Senegal.