What to Cook This Weekend

Pressure cooker pho, spiced lamb and rice, or a plum and raspberry cornmeal crisp are great options.

By Kim Severson

My friend Andrea Nguyen cooks, teaches and writes in Santa Cruz, Calif. She sent forth a tweet this week about the situation in Afghanistan. Generous people helped her family when they fled Vietnam as refugees, and she is making plans to pay that forward to the Afghans who are now coming to our shores. Cooks are the best people. The last time we spent time in the kitchen together was during the 2015 California drought. I was reporting on ways that Californians had shifted how they cooked, cleaned and shopped to conserve water. Andrea had developed a clever way to make pho in a pressure cooker (above). It means four of you could be eating pho in an hour.

She also has a pretty nifty recipe for pressure cooker Vietnamese caramel pork and eggs. Steam some rice and count your blessings.

You might find time for project rice dishes this weekend. Samin Nosrat delivers a reliable method for herbed rice with tahdig, that crispy crust. You could do a creamy biriyani cheat in the rice cooker, as Fairuza Akhtar does. She’s a restaurant owner in Jackson Heights, Queens, who said that her mother would faint if she knew about her daughter’s culinary shortcut. Or make a pot of rice and lamb from David Tanis that is inspired by the traditional kabuli pulao, a pilaf central to the Afghan table.

Apparently, I have efficiency on my mind. Which brings me to school lunches. Opening schedules are such a Covid mess, and tensions are running high as the virus makes a new round. The least we can do is send our kids out into the world with a great lunch.

I can get a little competitive about it. I make hand pies. I pack sesame noodles. But it doesn’t have to be all that. We have lots of ideas, including a ham omelet sandwich from Genevieve Ko that tastes just as good at room temperature as it does warm.

For those of you still holding on to your endless summer, consider the latest from the chef Gabrielle Hamilton. She delivers a recipe for zucchini agrodolce that is a perfect culinary flex for weekend house guests.

And if you are just too exhausted by everything, Jaques Pepin offers a chicken. It’s probably the simplest recipe we have.

Maybe that is all you make this weekend. I’m not judging you. (But if I were, you could redeem yourself by adding this salty-sweet plum and raspberry cornmeal crisp to the table.)

Questions? We have answers. Write to [email protected] We also have Instagram and YouTube and Twitter. Me, I’m @kimseverson on Twitter and kimseverson on Instagram.

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See you on Sunday.

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