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Roasted Potato Salad, Crisp-Edged Smash Burgers and Smoked Cabbage Slaw

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With straight-up rhubarb pie and double strawberry shortcakes, to take full advantage of peak spring produce.

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By Sam Sifton

What to Cook This Memorial Day Weekend

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. It’s Memorial Day weekend already? Time’s a flat circle, a record spinning, always and forever returning to its start. Summer holidays, Labor Day, the rush of early fall — it’s all coming around faster and faster. Gone are those slow, languid, scary-boring days of the pandemic past, when everyone was soaking beans and waiting for the sourdough to proof. We’ll be testing Thanksgiving recipes soon.

But not this weekend, no! We’re in the full flower of spring, browsing holiday recipes, baking straight-up rhubarb pies. This weekend, I’d like to grill some brats, then serve them alongside this lovely roasted sheet pan potato salad that pays homage to warm, mustardy German-style potato salads. There are sliced leeks in there, and asparagus, too, and a simple shallot-and-mint vinaigrette to tie everything together.

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Roasted Sheet Pan Potato Salad

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Or maybe cedar plank salmon? The planks are easy to come by at hardware and kitchen supply stores, and always available on the internet, though you’ll want to be careful to make sure the ones you buy are solid cedar, and not the inferior albeit less expensive glued-together composite variety. I’d serve that with my loaded kale salad, using what dried berries, nuts and cheese I can scramble up from the pantry and fridge.

Perhaps you want hamburgers and hot dogs instead, grilled chicken, macaroni salad or a smoked cabbage slaw with creamy horseradish, maybe a classic potato salad, some smash burgers, a platter of elotes? We offer plenty of choices.

In any case, I’d suggest strawberries for dessert, either slightly macerated with sugar and served with plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, or incorporated into one of Melissa Clark’s new trio of recipes for the season’s greatest fruit. She’s brought us moist strawberry almond cakes, a luscious strawberry cream cheese galette and some fantastic double strawberry shortcakes to choose from. There’s no wrong pick.

You’ll find recipes for all of those, and for thousands more delicious things to eat on New York Times Cooking. Yes, you need to have a subscription to read them. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. I hope, if you don’t have one already, that you will take one out today. Thanks.

If you run into trouble with our technology, please write us: [email protected]. Someone will get back to you. If you’re in a fit of pique about our use of particular words or ingredients, or if you have something kind to say, write me: [email protected]. I can’t respond to every letter. (I get a lot of them.) But I read every one.

Now, it’s nothing to do with charcoal chimneys or the scent of sugar caramelizing on a grill, but my colleagues on the Well desk here at The Times are putting together a five-week walking challenge for June — a way to, (literally) walk your way to better sleep, reduced joint pain and lower anxiety. Please sign up!

This is brilliant and terrifying all at once, and very enjoyable: The Condiment Packet Gallery, a historical archive of flexible portion control sauce packets.

Do you keep a list of different birds you’ve seen? I’ve done so sporadically, though I always end up losing my list: maybe 150 species, total? Peter Kaestner uses eBird for his, and he’s on a quest to spot 10,000 species. For Outside magazine, the ornithologist Jessie Williamson tagged along with Kaestner as he watched and documented birds in Peru.

Finally, here’s Billy Bragg singing “A New England,” live on television in 1983. Listen to that while you’re cooking and I’ll see you on Sunday.

Sam Sifton is an assistant managing editor, responsible for culture and lifestyle coverage, and the founding editor of New York Times Cooking. @samsifton Facebook

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