Your Grilled Cheese Needs Toum

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Your Grilled Cheese Needs Toum


Good morning. I’m embracing nostalgia today, luxuriating in memories of a Brooklyn I never experienced, even though I’m borough-raised. Imagine egg creams at the soda fountain, a long trip on the rattan seats of an old-timey subway car, then the mechanical horse races at Coney Island and a visit to Ebinger’s afterward, for blackout cake. See me in my peaky newsboy hat!

And for dinner beforehand, maybe Chinese roast pork on garlic bread? Steamed hot dogs with mustard and relish? I don’t know. Maybe just a wedge salad will suffice. I’ll get my protein from the big glass of milk I’ll drink with the cake.

For Ham El-Waylly, nostalgia is a grilled cheese sandwich slathered with toum (above), a sauce made by combining garlic, lemon juice, salt and oil. The mixture is one that recalls the akkawi cheese manakeesh sandwiches he used to consume as a teenager in Doha, Qatar. The toum packs a wallop, as if you’d stuffed garlic bread with Muenster. So good.


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That’s Sunday sorted. As for the rest of the week. …

Jorim is a Korean dish of beef braised with ginger- and garlic-spiked soy sauce. Kay Chun’s recipe replaces the beef with tofu and mushrooms, which absorb the flavorful sauce beautifully. Make extra, so you can have the leftovers cold for lunch.

Melissa Clark’s cheesy baked pasta with sausage and ricotta is like a cross between baked ziti and a sausage lasagna, but streamlined for weeknight preparation and maximum flavor. I follow the lead of those readers who cook it with orecchiette pasta, but shells or farfalle would work nicely as well.

A miso vinaigrette punches up Hetty Lui McKinnon’s recipe for miso leeks with white beans, a vegetarian main dish you’d pay a pretty penny for at a wine bar, topped with jammy steamed eggs. She uses whole leeks, greens included, and a steady, even heat to tenderize them. You should, too.

Beef barley soup is delicious, but it’s not the most weeknight-friendly meal. Ali Slagle’s kielbasa-barley soup uses a smoked link to give the recipe real complexity and depth of flavor — fast. Dill and vinegar add zing and bite.

And then you can head into the weekend with my recipe for slow-cooker pork tacos with hoisin and ginger. If you set it up before your day gets going, it can burble along for hours and hours in advance of an early dinner you won’t soon forget.

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Now, it’s a considerable distance from anything to do with plum sauce or oven-roasted bacon, but here’s Ronan Farrow, in The New Yorker, with a profile of RuPaul.

Check out this excellent “Read Like the Wind” newsletter from Molly Young, on books about lovable, unlikable people. (She also recommends Norman Rush’s novel, “Mating,” which I do, too.)

Allison Stewart, in The Washington Post, has a fine review of Margaret Wappler’s hybrid memoir and biography of the actor Luke Perry, “A Good Bad Boy: Luke Perry and How a Generation Grew Up.”

Finally, here’s a new St. Vincent track, “Broken Man.” Listen to that while you’re cooking, and I’ll be back next week.



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