Good morning. I had a mess of clams and a baker’s dozen of corn, some fairy tale eggplants and a tube of goat cheese, a little burger meat but not much, some Cheddar and potato rolls, heirloom tomatoes: a fine late-summer dinner, no recipes required. Steam the clams and the corn and serve with butter two ways, melted and stick; grill the eggplants and top with goat cheese and olive oil, a spray of red pepper, another of salt; griddle small burgers and put them on toasted buns with thick slices of tomato and all the condiments you like.
It’s nice to cook that way, and this may be the easiest time of the year to do so. And if you can manage a similar spread this week, you ought to, because that ease won’t last. Autumn comes with its gourds and cauliflowers, its chill evenings and diminishments of daylight: recipe time, for sure.
None of which is to say that recipes aren’t also great this time of year. They are! Try this chilled corn soup with basil (above) and you’ll see that plain. Try, too, the crispy fried tofu sandwich from Superiority Burger, and this ace tomato risotto.
Here’s a good use of an hour that’ll yield a bunch of great meals over the course of the next few months: Japanese curry bricks. (I use them for this one-pot chicken and rice curry from Kay Chun, in place of the mixture of spices she calls for.)
You could make a white bean caprese salad this week, or meatballs Stroganoff. You could cook this bonkers delicious recipe for chicken with vinegar, or knock down a platter of pork schnitzel with quick pickles.
And definitely, definitely you should make beans and garlic toast in broth. “One of my all-time favorites,” a reader wrote in a note below the recipe. I concur.
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Now, before I close, let’s return to this notion of cooking without recipes. It’s a tradition we’ve been following in this Wednesday space for a number of years now. Today I’m delighted to report that we’ve made an actual cookbook of it: “No-Recipe Recipes,” coming from Ten Speed Press and available for pre-order. Take a gander and see what you think. We’re very excited to bring this book into the world.
There’s a new Paul Muldoon poem in The New York Review of Books for you to read, “Bramleys, Not Grenadiers.”
It’s nothing to do with apples or chicken, but are you watching “Borgen,” on Netflix? Please do.
Finally, I think you should take Dwight Garner’s advice in The Times and read Ayad Akhtar’s novel, “Homeland Elegies.” “It’s a lover’s quarrel with this country,” Dwight wrote in his review, “and at its best it has candor and seriousness to burn.” I’ll be back on Friday.