Good morning. I finally had my Christmas dinner last week, deep in the Maine woods, together with family for the first time in months. It was a supermarket feast: Eric Kim’s recipe for root beer ham, alongside sautéed green beans and some scalloped potatoes made on the fly — thin-sliced baking potatoes layered with dots of butter and sprinkles of salt and black pepper, then topped with a mixture of Cheddar and Swiss, and a healthy cup of half-and-half, baked until bubbly and spotted with brown.
It was lovely eating and a reminder that we don’t have to limit these kinds of celebratory meals to holidays alone. You could absolutely have roast turkey tonight for dinner, with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and hashed brussels sprouts. You could scale down a prime rib and eat it with baked potatoes and a big salad. At the very least and maybe most flavorful, you could assemble this baked mushroom Wellington (above), just because it’s deep winter and you want to bring joy to those with whom you eat. Chocolate chip cookies for dessert, please!
The rest of the week need not be so involved.
For instance, take a look at this creamy cauliflower soup with rosemary olive oil. It’s a breeze to make, particularly if you happen to have an immersion blender. The leftover rosemary olive oil is an excellent condiment to have on hand for a party-board lunch of cheese and bread later in the week.
I like a one-pot meal for weeknight dinners, and this chicken and vegetable donabe does not disappoint, especially with the addition of a splash of yuzu kosho-spiked ponzu at the end. The Lakers play the Nets in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and if you’ve subscribed to NBA.com, you can watch with a bowl of dinner in your lap.
How about pork chops with mustard and jam for a midweek meal? There are only two ingredients in the sauce — mustard and fruit preserves — and they provide an excellent cover for the chops. For which, a new technique: Sear the meat hard on one side but not really on the other, to keep the center juicy. I like that.
I love the warming Korean stew known as kimchi soondubu jjigae, and especially this vegetarian version that has button mushrooms standing in for pork. Their meaty texture alongside the silken tofu is aces high. The handicapper in me predicts this dish a go-to for the rest of the season at least.
And then you can run out the week with this Peruvian arroz con pollo verde, which calls for an amazing cilantro purée to cook with the rice and chicken. To go with it, you’ll make this salsa criolla, a condiment that you may find yourself using liberally in the days to come. In Peru, it’s made with fresh aji amarillo chiles, which can be hard to find in the United States. But a combination of orange bell pepper and serrano chile offers a similar flavor and heat. Enjoy!
Also in The Times, do read Katherine Rosman on Kathy Griffin.
Finally, here’s new music from Elvis Costello & the Imposters: “The Death of Magic Thinking.” Listen to that while you prepare your feast. I’ll be back on Monday.