Good morning. That sourdough starter in the back of the fridge you haven’t used since the heady days at the start of the pandemic, when all you could do was bake more sourdough bread? It is well! There might be some coarse, dark liquid on it, yes. They call it ‘hooch’. Just pour it off and put some fresh flour and water in the container. In a day or so, you’ll be back to work and ready to make morning waffles or English muffins (above), an evening pizza, or knead-less sourdough bread.
The starter is a metaphor. Things are generally more salvageable than they seem! It’s the middle of the week and you may be exhausted, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat takeaway food that isn’t as tasty as you’d like. This easy broccoli spaghetti in the skillet from Ali Slagle will prove it, as will her gnocchi with hot and sweet peppers, her spring soba with canned fish, her caramelized zucchini pasta, and her pasta with chopped pesto and peas.
You could make milanese fish to Kay Chun’s recipe, the fish breaded and fried, then served with peppery arugula, creamy avocado, and a lemony brown butter and caper sauce. You could make Dawn Perry’s retro delight, a four-cheese French pizza, or Genevieve Ko’s maple-baked salmon.
Melissa Clark’s Wine Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Leek is another midweek winner, as is Alexa Weibel’s lemon-pea-spinach soup.
Or, if you’re still reeling because life is hard and you’ve been cooking all weekend and the idea of cooking more fills you with dread? Consider a meal of popcorn and Sancerre. Tomorrow it will be easier. Restarting a starter takes time.
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Now, it’s far from melted duck fat or the smell of a toasted cranberry muffin, but I liked this tow truck history, by Andrew Sheldon in AAA Magazine.
Shall we then go to Lapland, at the very top of Finland? “Arctic Circle”, on Amazon Prime, is cold and dark, with incredible scenery.
Also in the spirit of inquiry, I make my way through Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch novels, about a Maine state gamekeeper who encounters a lot of crime.
Housekeeping: In Monday’s newsletter, I managed to manipulate the spelling of Maud Newton’s last name and portray it as a Connecticut town instead. Apologies. Read her new book, “Ancestor Trouble.”
Finally there’s a new Phoebe Bridgers track to listen to, ‘Sidelines’. It led me down a rabbit hole where I discovered this amazing live recording of Bridgers playing Gillian Welch’s “Everything Is Free” in Amsterdam in 2018. Listen to both, and I’ll be back Friday with more.