Hey you. Welcome back to What We’re Cooking This Week, a weekly letter about all the recipes our team is cooking and wanting to cook.
Last Thursday, I got home from work, then spent four and a half hours building a buffet (which I feel compelled to tell you I found on Amazon for less than half the price a lookalike costs on West Elm).
I’m not the one to build the furniture in our house. My husband assembled our coffee table and side table and desk and dining table and dining chairs. I can follow recipes, but I can’t follow furniture instructions.
Or can I? I wanted to find out.
So I built the buffet. And yes, this means I assembled not one but two drawers, realized I screwed up each one, and had to disassemble then reassemble both. But I did it.
The small victories are the biggest. This week, here’s to finding yours.
Chicken Pot Pie!
A homemade chicken pot pie could involve a from-scratch pastry crust and roast chicken and chicken stock and vegetable-studded gravy. But does more work always mean more flavor? When our test kitchen set out to create its best chicken pot pie, we considered this question a lot. After all our tests, however, we determined that a grocery-store rotisserie chicken delivers just what we’re after (a juicy mix of white and dark meat, ultra-bronzed skin) and Better Than Bouillon yields the chickeniest, creamiest milk gravy. “Goddamn,” is all our senior editor Eric Kim could say.
Pasta That Just Happens to Be Whole-Grain
My coworkers are the sweetest, smartest people on the planet, but they're are also super judgmental about my love for whole-wheat pasta. As contributor Sarah Jampel wrote for us, if you think you don’t like whole-wheat pasta, you probably haven’t found the right recipe. This garlicky whole-wheat pasta with fried hazelnuts made her a believer. And I can’t wait to try this soba salad with cucumbers, soft tofu, and quick chile oil. (Except, no matter how “quick” it is, I won’t be making the chile oil myself. I’ll be using this.)
Quiche (but Hold the Crust)
Last week, I told you all about our test kitchen’s best quiche recipe. This week, I’m feeling lazy. And that’s okay! Sometimes going home, watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show while eating takeout on the couch, then falling asleep on that couch a few minutes after 9 p.m., is just what you need. So in the spirit of less-is-more, I’ll be making this quinoa and kale crustless quiche on Wednesday night on Instagram. Come say hey at @emmalaperruque.
Warm, Fluffy, Buttery Homemade Bread
Our executive editor Joanna Sciarrino is a bread-baking machine (look at this! and this! and this!). Right now, she’s ready for a new challenge: “I love tackling new bread recipes and can't wait to try my hand at Erin McDowell's pan de muerto,” she said. “It's been on my list for a while now and the season is finally upon us.” (She requested that I included a skull emoji along with her quote but, um, I don’t know how to do that.) If you’re short on time or energy , this seeded flatbread comes together quicker than a quick bread.
Here’s to never eating chalky, dry salmon ever again. While I love a pan-seared, crispy-skinned fillet, I don’t love hovering by the stove, then cleaning up all the grease spatters afterward. This Genius method involves none of that. Instead, you barely turn on the oven, then let the salmon take its sweet time coming up to temperature. Try adding ginger, scallion, and soy sauce. Or kale, chickpeas, and fried lemon. Or put your own spin on the technique (and report back when you do).
Salads for When You’re Tired
Salad spinners are here to help, but sometimes the thought of taking mine out of the cabinet is too much. It’s too much!!!!! For these nights, there is another sort of salad. One that doesn’t ask you to chop and rinse and spin greens. I’m talking no-chop chickpea salad, which our team lovingly refers to as “dump-it salad,” because you just dump a bunch of stuff (chickpeas, olives, feta, arugula, herbs—yes, yes, yes) into a bowl. Also equal parts low-key and delicious: broccoli salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and dates, where the cheese gets crumbled with the broccoli and turned into a creamy dressing.
I would never kick an Italian sub out of bed, but I find that, so often, vegetarian sandwiches are the most flavorful and creative and cheerful. Let’s say you ditched the meat for cauliflower. You could bread it like a cutlet, then team it up with garlicky greens, tangy peppers, and melty provolone cheese. Or you could dress it up like popcorn shrimp and turn it into a po’ boy with olive remoulade. Or you could do as Priya Krishna does and breathe new life into leftover aloo gobhi with cheddar and ketchup. Somewhere along the way, you won’t be able to stop.
I live near a wine store that’s so large, it has an elevator, but their natural wine selection is slim to none. One of the staffers told me if there’s a bottle I love, they can order a case. So tell me: Which natural wines do you love?
My mom recently stopped dyeing her hair and I can’t get over how cool and confident and, well, young she looks. Go figure, right? 20-something women (it me) idolize gray hair.