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What to Cook Right Now

Category: Food & Drink,Lifestyle

Good morning. This weekend was a drag for some of our number, hours spent at the kitchen table with piles of receipts and chicken-scratched figures on scrap paper amid drifts of pink eraser snow, all in advance of filing their taxes this morning on the way to work. (For others it still is, knowing they have pages to finish before the midnight deadline at the post office.) So I’m going easy on everyone for dinner tonight, and recommending a barnburner-good meal: local tuna poke (above).

But maybe you’d prefer arroz con pollo? Salmon fried rice? A superfast pasta with spinach sauce?

Or say you filed your taxes early, you’re a super-achiever, you want to spend a little time ginning up something special tonight even though it’s the middle of April and everyone around you is stressed, that’s cool, you’re copacetic, the picture of chill? I prescribe fancy Vietnamese sandwiches — crab cake banh mi — and a night spent eating them while listening to Del McCoury sing “Vincent Black Lightning” and drinking cold beer. Life really is a little more enjoyable when you hit your marks — or at any rate when you file for an extension with the government, hope you’ll hit your marks over the summer so you can pay everything down in October.

Sloppy Joes would be a nice thing to eat tonight. Similarly, though with a different set of flavors, mapo ragù. (So, too, mapo tofu.) I would love to eat Gabrielle Hamilton’s scratchy husband pasta this evening. I would not sneeze at a plate of her swordfish piccata, either.

And all I’ve got to do to eat any one of them, all you need to do either, is cook. That’s what we’re here to do, after all, together. Just cook. On a Monday night same as on a Saturday afternoon putting together a mango pie, we’re here to affirm how helpful it is to ourselves, to our families, to our friends, simply to bear down and make something delicious out of what’s in the pantry, the refrigerator, the display cases of the fancymart that you’ll visit on the way home, instead of reflexively ordering commissary Mexican food from the internet and serving it out of bags when it comes.

Of course I make no judgments if you fail to cook tonight or on any night. Sometimes it’s orange chicken, pork fried rice and a grape soda that cures what ails. (Extra crisp and spicy on the chicken, please.) But in general, and particularly at the top of the week? Give cooking a shot, and see how you do. Here’s a final recipe, for salmon with sesame and herbs, to make it easier.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to think about cooking tonight and this week on NYT Cooking. (Please take out a subscription so you can access them all.) Make plans for Passover with us. Get set for Easter, instead.

We’ve posted further inspiration on our Instagram page, and we’re starting conversations on our accounts on Twitter and Facebook. But if you need help with your account, or with a particular recipe, you can write us directly: cookingcare@nytimes.com. We like those letters fine.

Now, check out our Eric Asimov on three wines from Mercurey, on the edges of Burgundy, an invaluable lesson that’s sent me to the store.

And staying with liquids, do read Jazmine Hughes in The Times, on her collegiate love of cheap beer and Mr. Spuds MacKenzie, the Ayatollah of Partyollah.

Finally, shall we stay with refreshments to close out the day? Lester Black’s in The Stranger this week with a weed story that takes readers beyond THC and CBD to introduce a third compound, CBG. It’s built off Black’s experience with a pot strain sold in Seattle called “Where’s My Bike?” And it’s a fascinating read. See you on Wednesday.

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