December 9, 2023

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Eat Your Food

The 17 Best Recipes Our Food Staff Cooked Last Month

The beauty of May is that it brings with it unadulterated spring weather. Cool days may appear from time to time, but there’s nary a whisper of the bitter cold. Produce, like hope, springs eternal, and nowhere was that clearer than on our plates. Last month, The New York Times Food and Cooking staff went wild in the face of bright flavors, favoring herbs, greens and ripe, succulent fruit over the slightly more staid flavors of cold weather cooking. Here are some of the meals we made in May.

There’s a lot more reason to celebrate these days, and, since those first summer strawberries are starting to pop up, I’ve been making pies, pairing the berries with rhubarb or balsamic vinegar. I share a slice or two, then keep the rest in the fridge and pick away at it, slice by tiny slice — for breakfast, for midafternoon snack, for an appetizer while I reheat leftovers. My go-to recipes come from the Brooklyn bakery Four and Twenty Blackbirds, but this recipe from Florence Fabricant and this classic Times recipe can get you there, too. KRYSTEN CHAMBROT

Recipe: Lattice-Top Strawberry Pie

Like this classic Juicy Lucy from 5-8 Club and Matt’s Bar, a good burger doesn’t need much beyond salt and pepper, an unobtrusive bun and a plain old slice of American cheese. But Kay Chun’s Korean cheeseburgers compelled me, with their promise of Korean barbecue flavors, hefty doses of soy sauce, scallions and sugar plus sweet-and-sour, sesame-oil-slicked quick pickles. They require a little more effort, but deliver a bright punch of flavor I’ll be yearning for — and cooking — again and again. ALEXA WEIBEL

Recipe: Korean Cheeseburgers With Sesame-Cucumber Pickles

Salade Niçoise is truly one of my favorite meals, especially in the warmer months. The combination of flavors and textures is a joy to eat, so I put together Jacques Pépin’s version one afternoon, substituting arugula and romaine for the red lettuce. And though this version uses seared fresh tuna in place of the more conventional canned, I used jarred tuna in oil. Finally, to finish up the month, I made Gena Hamshaw’s very good, very fluffy, very easy vegan pancakes. Reader, they slapped. KASIA PILAT

I had an excess of leftover fresh herbs in my fridge, so I used them to make Melissa Clark’s outrageously delicious Greek goddess dip for our Memorial Day cookout. It’s so good, I could eat it by the spoonful. Earlier in the month, I made Sarah DiGregorio’s slow cooker lemony chicken soup, which is a lighter, warmer-weather version of the classic. It’s the ideal meal for a rainy spring day. MARGAUX LASKEY

Recipe: Greek Goddess Dip

I’m still not convinced that last month actually happened, but, according to my camera roll, it did, and I apparently made Darun Kwak’s gilgeori toast a few times. It’s the perfect work-from-home lunch — flavorful, textural, highly adaptable, comes together in minutes. Any time ketchup and mayonnaise enter the sandwich party, you know you’re about to have a great time. VAUGHN VREELAND

Recipe: Gilgeori Toast (Korean Street Toast With Cabbage and Egg)

I would be lying if I said I cooked anything last month. It’s an exaggeration to even say I made this michelada, because I just squeezed the juice of an entire lime into a glass with ice, added a light beer, sprinkled in a bunch of kosher salt — and pat myself on the back for all that effort. Then I ordered pizza for dinner. EMILY FLEISCHAKER

Recipe: Michelada

One day at the market, the scallops were so fat and glistening and beautiful that I bought a pound to make a huge portion of these sea scallops with brown butter, capers and lemon. I cooked them over high heat, fast, so they seared hard on one side, and then I got them out of that environment so they could rest. You don’t want to overcook scallops. You don’t want to come close. Then I made the sauce over lower heat and spooned it over the meats, and that made for such a good dinner that I did it again the next night with straight butter and only a little squeeze of lemon. I was looking for pure scallop flavor. I found it. SAM SIFTON

Recipe: Sea Scallops With Brown Butter, Capers and Lemon

I had almost everything I needed on hand to make Eric Kim’s kimchi jjigae — everything except the watercress and the maesil cheong (green plum syrup). The watercress was easy to find, but the syrup, not so much. Luckily, Eric wrote right back when I asked about substitutions, and assured me that a sprinkling of sugar would be A-OK. It was a delightful dish and not at all hard to make. MELISSA CLARK

Recipe: Kimchi Jjigae With Ribs

The perfect salad does exist, and it is the five-star Via Carota’s insalata verde recipe adapted by Samin Nosrat. With some textured greens and a bunch of pantry staples — sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and whole-grain mustard, garlic and so on — you get a light, bright and crisp salad that is so easy to put together and can accompany practically anything. I especially love the assembly strategy of the salad — you put a layer of greens in a shallow bowl, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, spoon dressing over, and repeat to make a bunch of layers, creating this verdant tower where no leaf goes unseasoned. PRIYA KRISHNA

I was having a bout of nostalgia for my suburban Detroit upbringing over Memorial Day weekend, so I reached for Sam Sifton’s barbecued chicken. I jack up the sauce with a little cayenne, add thighs and breasts to the mix, and cook it over my gas grill instead of coals. But I channel my inner suburban dad and follow his grilling technique exactly. KIM SEVERSON

Recipe: Barbecued Chicken

We visited friends we hadn’t seen since the pandemic began, and one is Canadian, so I brought one of my favorite desserts — butter tarts. But people are fanatical about their butter tart preferences, so I asked ahead to find out his. Currants, raisins or plain? Plain. Runny or firm? No answer, so I played it safe with a runny tart baked slightly to the firm side. (My recipe on New York Times Cooking has directions for all preferences.) The tarts are so easy to make that I was able to pull them out of the oven about an hour before we left the house. Sweet perfection, in just a few bites. SARA BONISTEEL

Recipe: Butter Tarts

As someone with a strong sweet tooth, I love to have a sweet treat readily available to me at all times. In an effort to use the cranberries in my freezer that I’d not yet figured out what to do with, I whipped together Florence Fabricant’s quick and easy cranberry nut bread to satisfy my craving. I swapped out the pecans for hazelnuts for a lovely, nutty combination. It’s perfect with morning coffee or, if you’re me, as a midday snack. GABRIELLA LEWIS

Recipe: Cranberry Nut Bread

Crème brûlée is my mother’s favorite dessert, so I made this crème brûlée pie from Jerrelle Guy for her when we were able to reunite for Mother’s Day. The rich, cream custard and caramelized sugar topping are extremely satisfying. We ate it warm just out of the oven but found it to be even better the next day after it chilled overnight in the fridge. KIM GOUGENHEIM

Recipe: Crème Brûlée Pie

This month’s freakish heat wave in New York had me avoiding my stove and oven at all costs. When it’s that hot out, my perfect “Alone Dinner” follows this formula: a simple no-cook dip plus crusty bread (or crackers, or pita) and crudités. Yossy Arefi’s herby feta and yogurt dip with sumac is a favorite of mine, always and forever. BECKY HUGHES

Recipe: Herby Feta and Yogurt Dip With Sumac

Working in Chelsea Market for a good part of my 20s, I’ve eaten many a chocolate chip cookie from a since-closed Jacques Torres Chocolate shop (R.I.P.). The sweetest part of the experience was an insider’s trick: Ask for the cookies “in the back.” The vendor would raise their eyebrows, and, skipping the cookies on display, walk to the back of the stand where there was a tray of fresh cookies, hidden from view under a towel. I’ll always remember those cookies: gooey chocolate, crisp edges, chewy interior. Luckily, we have a recipe for them. ERIC KIM

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies