Hey everyone. I fill in for Emily, who often asks me what I actually make for dinner when I’m not making new recipes. (If that’s me, it’s sometimes pie for dinner.)
The one constant lately: Meals have to come together quickly. The longer spring days are wonderful, but the later setting sun makes me lose track of time. Even though I had hoped roast a whole chicken or bake it creamy spinach artichoke lasagnaI find myself looking at the clock and gasping for breath. I thought I still had plenty of time to cook! How did it come so late?
Since I’ve lost the minutes to preheat the oven, I opt for recipes that come together in the time it takes to make rice or cook pasta, and feel like a whole meal on the side Stir fried vegetables or a simple salad† Quick recipes don’t come at the expense of taste. They may not develop the deep caramelization of slow roasting, but quick cooking on the stovetop or grill often delivers the kind of freshness we crave this time of year.
And because these dishes are so quick, they leave plenty of time to enjoy the meal as the sun sets and dream of even longer nights ahead.
Mushrooms become as crunchy and rich as meaty chicharrón curls when slathered in oil. Jocelyn Ramirez sears oyster mushrooms in batches to ensure they brown deeply, but I’ve found that my oversized skillet can bake a full batch at a time (and those sliced creminis taste great too), making this meal even faster. Double the avocado pico de gallo – you’ll want to scoop extra with chips.
It’s quite a challenge to make boneless chicken breasts intensely flavorful and juicy, but that’s exactly what Zainab Shah is doing here. Thin slices cook quickly with ginger, garlic and pickled onions, then get a load of cilantro and mint. Those spices are the hallmark of this South Asian dish, and this version ends with additions of creamy yogurt and almond butter, a clever shortcut to ground almonds.
Cherry tomatoes are always on production shelves, but they are especially sweet from now on and into summer. Here, Naz Deravian gently cooks them in garlicky spicy oil with fennel seed, a nice surprise, before swirling them around with shrimp and spaghetti. This dish is delicious as described, but if I’m really short on time, I turn up the heat on the tomatoes so they break faster.
Kay Chun emphasizes the silky smoothness of tofu by steaming squares on a “rack” of bok choy, so it’s easy to slide the wobbly slices onto plates or a bowl of steamed rice (my preference). Any creamy, tangy, spicy sauce that doesn’t soak into the tofu will slide into the greens, leaving every bite refreshing and rich.