Good morning. Dorie Greenspan introduced me to the mystery novelist Louise Penny this weekend, in a delightful column in The New York Times Magazine that begins in Penny’s fictional Three Pines, a village in Quebec “with a good boulangerie; a bookstore that smells like tea and flowers; a bistro with an excellent chef; and a community of fascinating eccentrics.” Penny’s hero, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec, appears to be one of those brilliant, gentle investigators in the vein of Martin Walker’s Benoît Courrèges, locally known as Bruno, Chief of Police. And, as with Bruno, food plays a big role in his life. I ordered “Still Life,” the first of the Gamache series as soon as I finished Dorie’s piece.
Dorie has fallen so hard for these books, she wrote, that she wanted to make her imaginary friend Gamache a dessert. He enjoys lemon meringue pie, so she came up with an adjacent cookie: a shortbread vanilla sablé, topped first with lemon curd and then with shards of crunchy meringue. The recipe (above) that accompanies the column is a joy. As Dorie writes, it “tips French but shrugs at tradition.” I like that very much.
I also like, on these chilly days when I’m working from home, to use the slow cooker more often than I used to, before the pandemic. So maybe this slow cooker salsa verde chicken for dinner some night this week? Or these slow cooker pork tacos with hoisin and ginger, or this slow cooker butter chicken? And I really, truly love Christina Tosi’s slow cooker cake.
If you prefer high heat and fast hands, try Julia Moskin’s cast-iron steak. (I like that with creamed spinach sauce and hash browns: full steakhouse vibes.) Or J. Kenji López-Alt’s moo shu mushrooms. Sesame-coated sautéed chicken breasts? You could definitely give this crispy fried tofu sandwich a try.
Thousands and thousands more recipes are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go browse among them as if you were searching for gifts on Etsy. Save the recipes you want to cook. Rate the ones you’ve made. And you can leave notes on them, as well, if you’d like to remember something about how you cooked the dish or want to tell your fellow subscribers about it.
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And if you get jammed up along the way, either in your kitchen or on our site and apps, please write for help. We are at [email protected], and someone will get back to you. (You can escalate matters by writing me at [email protected] I read every letter sent.)
Now, here’s a development that may bring some cheer this holiday season: We’ve unveiled a NYT Cooking collection at The New York Times Store. (I like Katie Kimmel’s Generously Buttered Noodles sweatshirt, myself.)
It’s nothing to do with allspice or salmon, but you should read Carroll Bogert and Lynnell Hancock on the media myth of the superpredator, in The Marshall Project.
Here’s Son House, “Grinnin’ in Your Face.”
Finally, Mickey Haller’s back, in Michael Connelly’s latest Lincoln Lawyer mystery, “The Law of Innocence.” It’s a good, distracting read, but don’t take my word for it — Marilyn Stasio liked it, too. Enjoy that and I’ll see you on Wednesday.
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