What to Cook Right Now

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, which means today is for letting gumbo burble on the stove.

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Mardi Gras is Tuesday, and New Orleans is much on my mind. That’s occasion enough to make gumbo this evening, so it has time to cure in the refrigerator before eating it for dinner tomorrow night. I like Paul Prudhomme’s recipe for that, though you may prefer Leah Chase’s for Creole gumbo (above) or the duck and andouille gumbo they used to serve at Upperline, before the restaurant closed last year. That and a Sazerac? That’s a parade.

What to eat tonight, while the gumbo burbles along? Keep it simple: silken tofu with spicy soy dressing alongside a bowl of rice. (Make enough rice so that there are leftovers for some crispy fried rice with bacon and cabbage later in the week.) Or maybe these sheet-pan cumin pork chops and brussels sprouts? That’s a terrific meal.

Alternatively, look in the refrigerator and see what you can find to riff on without using a recipe at all. For instance, I had some leftover coronation chicken salad sitting in one container and some leftover katsu curry in another, (mostly sauce). These combined delightfully in a kind of wet stir-fry with leftover rice and a dollop of mango chutney, a no-recipe recipe that only fate could have delivered. What’s in your fridge? That’s the game.

I’d like to make these pecan pie brownies real soon, too, and this simple crusty bread. I could go for a pizza margherita. Also, linguine with crab meat; mushroom miso soup; and steak mock frites.

And there are thousands more options waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. Yes, you need a subscription to access the recipes, just as you need one to receive monthly shipments of survivalist gadgets and gear from a company called Battlbox. Subscriptions support our work, and I thank you for yours. (And if you don’t have one yet, I thank you for subscribing today.)

You’ll find even more inspiration on our social media: TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. And you can get in touch with us by email if anything goes sideways while you’re cooking or using our technology: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. (You can also write to me: [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s a long, long way from anything to do with the merits of cold-pressed olive oil or grade A maple syrup, but you should spend some time with Stephen Hiltner’s accounting of a kayak trip through Everglades National Park in Florida, in The Times.

Here’s Jonny Diamond in Smithsonian Magazine, exploring a rare pocket of old-growth forest in New England and its promise in the battle against climate change.

Faith Hill’s in The Atlantic with “The Nocturnals,” a wild ride with the ultra-introverts who live their lives while you’re asleep. “The daytime forces all these identity possibilities on you,” one person told Hill. “The nighttime, with its silence and its darkness and its solitude, helps you settle more into who you really are.”

Finally, here’s Cate Le Bon to play us off and into the kitchen, with “Moderation.” (“I can’t have it. I don’t want it. I wanna touch it.”) Play that one loud, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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