Good morning. Gabrielle Hamilton is in The Times this weekend with a lovely paean to the Russian salad that Vladimir Ocokoljic makes at Kafana, his Serbian restaurant in Manhattan. It’s a potato salad that appears in many forms across Europe and Asia, sometimes with chicken or bologna or ham, with partridge and tongue, but always with potatoes, peas, carrots and hard-boiled egg, in a slick, pickle-y, mayonnaise-based dressing. The Russians call it Olivier salad, after the chef who made it at the Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. The Turks know it as French salad, the Danes, as Italian salad. In Spain, Gabrielle notes, it’s called a little Russian salad.
After marveling at, and inhaling, a takeout container of the stuff, Gabrielle went to Ocokoljic for a recipe. “Darling, it’s very simple,” he told her. “We put a quart of each. Chop everything to same size. Boiled ham. Boiled carrots. Boiled peas. Boiled eggs. Pickles. Do not use sweet pickles or dilled — use cornichons or better even: gherkins!”
She set to work on bringing those quantities down a little, for home use, adding some cornichon brine to the dressing and using a waxier potato than the russets used at the restaurant. The resulting recipe (above) is something you ought to make for dinner tonight: a juicy, light, refined salad that may transport you to an imaginary Valentine’s Day meal in Dubrovnik.
On Monday, Presidents’ Day, I’m thinking you could make lablabi, the Tunisian chickpea soup. Or maybe this vegan fettuccine Alfredo. Neither are particularly presidential. Both are delicious.
For Tuesday, wine-braised chicken with artichoke hearts. (Lots of debate over canned artichoke hearts in the notes below the recipe!)
Wednesday could be good for kalpudding, the Swedish meatloaf. Or, you know, for plain-Jane, ketchup-glazed American meatloaf. Or for this meatloaf with Moroccan spices that Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer developed for their invaluable meatloaf memoir, “A Meatloaf in Every Oven.”
Tack away from meat on Thursday, and avail yourself of some roasted tofu and green beans with chile crisp, along with a heap of rice.
And then slide into the weekend with this amazing spicy slow-roasted salmon with cucumbers and feta. Unless, of course, you’re cooking for kids who don’t like salmon, or don’t like cucumbers, or don’t like feta. In which case, cook with your kids: We’ve got more than 50 recipes to choose from and at least one will make for a delicious end-of-week meal.
Thousands and thousands and thousands more recipes to cook this week are waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Click on over there and see what you discover. You can save the recipes you like, and you can rate the ones you’ve made. (Please do!) You can also leave notes on them, if you want to remember something about how you made the dish or to share an insight with your fellow subscribers. It’s a nice community we’ve got going over there.
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We are, of course, available to lend a hand, should something go sideways in your cooking or while you’re using the site and apps. Just write: [email protected] Someone will get back to you, I promise.
Now, it’s nothing to do with celery root or aged balsamic, but you’ve got to listen to this Cassandra Jenkins song, “Hard Drive.”
Need a new podcast? Try “You’re Wrong About,” with Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall.
Here are the Bee Gees in 1968, with “I Started a Joke.” My colleague Becky Hughes sent it to me because she cried to it while taking her laundry out the other day. She thought we all could relate. I certainly can.
Finally, do read the poet Tiana Clark in the Oxford American, on her relationship with Nina Simone, “Nina Is Everywhere I Go.” And I’ll be back on Monday.
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