What to Cook This Weekend

It’s time for holiday prep with pie, cookies and plans for the big meal.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. We’re a week out from Christmas Eve, if Christmas Eve is part of your tradition, and that makes this weekend an important one for holiday prep: pie dough and pie; cookies; plans in the notebook for Christmas breakfast, a Christmas roast, a vegetarian Christmas dinner. I might, myself, set up for corned beef on Christmas Day, using the coming week to allow the meat to cure.

Perhaps you’ll partake in the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve? (I dig this lovely Feast of the Seven Fishes pie from Melissa Clark.) If so, it might be a good idea to put in an order with your fishmonger today, for pickup next week — running around trying to find clam juice, trout roe and medallions of monkfish on the day before Christmas is no one’s idea of a very good time.

And peppermint brownie cookies (above)? The time to make those is now.

But that’s not all you should cook this weekend — or even think about if Christmas is not your bag. I’d like, for instance, to make buttermilk fried chicken tomorrow, to eat with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. I’ll spoon out some of the frying oil and an equal amount of the seasoned flour I used for the chicken to make a gravy to go with it, a 1:1 ratio of oil to flour stirred in a small pot over medium heat to make a golden roux to which I’ll add milk and chicken stock. Stir until it’s velvety, season to taste and serve on the chicken, on the potatoes, on the green beans. (Maybe I’ll just eat the gravy like soup.)

Other things to cook this weekend: mushrooms and dumplings as a bulwark against cold weather; cold candied oranges to celebrate Florida’s sun. I like this vegetarian tortilla soup, too, and these caramelized plantains with beans, scallions and lemon. Edna Lewis’s biscuits for Sunday morning, with salted butter and strawberry preserves? Yes, please. And for dinner that night: salmon burgers for the win.

We have many thousands more recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, at least once you’ve taken out a subscription — and I hope you have. Subscriptions are the fuel in our stoves. They allow us to continue doing this work that we love. (Would you consider a gift subscription for someone on your list?)

And please do write if something goes awry along the way, either in your kitchen or with our technology. We’re at [email protected] and someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me. I’m at [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, before we get to music and verse, will you take a look at “The Best Cookbooks of 2021,” from my colleagues here at The Times? It’s a vital and exciting list.

I also enjoyed Connie Wang’s tribute to the joys of cut fruit, in Refinery29.

And I found this cool story in the Oxford American, by Maureen Mahon, about the Club Manhattan in East St. Louis, and the scene that gave birth to Ike and Tina Turner.

Finally, will you revel with me in another list, “The Best Poetry of 2021,” by Elisa Gabbert in The Times? Do that and cook a lot, too. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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