Sharing the Kitchen

Melissa Clark, who will split newsletter duties with Sam Sifton, recommends making silken tofu with scallion oil and more recipes.

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By Melissa Clark

Hi there, it’s Melissa.

When I worked part-time in a professional kitchen in high school, the first thing I learned was how thrilling it is to share a kitchen with pros: the graceful shimmy between flaming sauté pans, the calming effect of a team that has your back amid the chaos — I took to it all immediately.

As much as I adore being alone in the kitchen with my sheet pan and a farmers’ market haul, it’s way more fun to share tasks, tips, techniques, tastes, gossip and minor burns with someone else who gets it. Someone like Sam Sifton.

Sam and I have shared kitchens over the years as colleagues and friends, and it’s always been a blast. So I’m excited to join him, and you, in this newsletter twice a week.

All this to say, Sam and I, and everyone else at New York Times Cooking, are your team. We have your back. We’ll help you figure out what to cook, whether you’re throwing together a solo lunch (Eric Kim’s tortizza, for example), feeding your family on a hectic weeknight (fast spaghetti Bolognese) or serving a crowd on a sultry Saturday night (perhaps grilled chicken with a yogurt marinade).

But today is Monday. Since you’re probably looking for weeknight ideas, I have to ask: Are you the kind of cook who plans out your dinners for the entire week? I wish I was that organized, but I’m more of a wing-it kind of person.

That’s why I’m attracted to Kay Chun’s latest, a dish of silken tofu with sizzling scallion oil (above) that you can easily whip up from pantry staples. Kay’s also got a new recipe for sesame-flavored broccoli with miso and soy sauce; I can see pairing that with a simple fish preparation — maybe marinated grilled swordfish,or Sam’s sautéed scallops.

And we have plenty of other recipes that take full advantage of summer produce. I like the sweet-bitter flavor of the fruit and arugula in this watermelon, radish and avocado salad. And then there’s this speedy vermicelli sweet corn usli, also known as upma, a savory South Indian breakfast that Tejal Rao says is also great for lunch or dinner.

As you know from Sam, you do need a subscription to New York Times Cooking to access the recipes. If you’re not already a subscriber, I’m asking you to join us. Your subscription supports our work, and we absolutely couldn’t do this without you. We’re also on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, which you can check out for free. Have a look at our Tanya Sichynsky making Genevieve Ko’s fabulous avocado salsa, which I plan to try as soon as I finish this newsletter. All this recipe talk is making me hungry.

This is usually the moment where Sam steps out of the kitchen and into the world beyond with his far-ranging recommendations. (When does that man sleep?) Instead, today I am going to tempt you with one of my favorite summer snacks, which I eat almost daily when tomatoes are ripe.

Layer a hot piece of toast with butter, then a slick of marmite or vegemite or miso, and finally a slice of tomato sprinkled with salt. That will quiet a growling tummy. See you on Wednesday.

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