Good morning. “Every dish exists in its own continuum,” Bryan Washington wrote this week in DailyExpertNews Magazine, “but they are interconnected by our personal experience. You eat a meal that amazes you. That dish is working its way into your life. One year you go heavier on the garlic. The next, a little lighter on the char. Or maybe you’ll prefer more chili, more lime, more heat, until a meal’s history becomes intertwined with yours.”
Bryan used that observation as a way to spark a discussion about a dish he first had at a teeny-tiny Tokyo bar and has since brought into his home and life: kakuni (above), seared pork belly braised in sake, soy sauce and sugar until it gets a kind of velvet ointment, simple and delicious. “The dish is immensely comforting,” Bryan wrote. “You’re just as likely to find it on a bar’s menu board as it is on the weekday evening rotation of someone’s home.”
Comforting wild is about what we need right now. So for tonight kakuni is on my menu.
As for the rest of the week…
I love the saltiness of the cheese against the bitterness of the greens and the lemony dressing in this escarole salad with smoky halloumi croutons, and I love the dish even more when I sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.
It will be hot and humid where I stay soon enough, and I want to get one last mushroom Bourguignon before that happens. Use as many different types of mushrooms as possible—and absolutely maitakes for their meaty texture—and let them caramelize deeply for extra flavor, please.
Hot mustard and honey glazed chicken for mid-week? It uses Asian hot mustard powder to infuse a tangy-sweet lacquer of honey, soy sauce, and garlic that drips into the bed of potatoes and carrots beneath the meat — a classic casserole dinner.
These smoky white beans and beef sloppy joes are a revelation: a childhood favorite, made with far less meat and no less flavor. “Loved this recipe,” one subscriber wrote below the recipe. “It’s nice and sloppy and super tasty.”
And then on Friday you can go for a run on this great maiale al latte, milk braised pork made in an Instant Pot, maybe with a carrot cake for dessert? What a great way to end the week that would be!
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Now you would have to drive a long way over rough terrain to have anything to do with French toast or Peruvian chicken, but I enjoyed Tony Scherman’s profile of guitarist and vocalist Molly Tuttle in The Times. Here she covers Neil Young’s “Helpless” live.
I love David Reamer’s Alaska history column in the Anchorage Daily News. Here he is about Martha Greer, ‘Mother White’, an early and important figure in the development of the city.
Peter Scalpello has a new poem in Granta, “Blue Room, Fake Blue Veins.”
Finally, check out Gary Garay in the Los Angeles Times’ Image magazine, on the legacy of Jonny Chingas, the Los Angeles musician Gustavo Arellano once called “the Blowfly of Chicano rap.” And I’ll be back on Monday.