On feeding the birds, and a meal of chicken and pomegranate stew for the winter solstice.
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Good morning. My family wasn’t enough, I guess, so I recently started feeding the birds as well: all kinds of seeds for all kinds of birds, in different devices, on complicated hooks designed to foil the squirrels and trash pandas. And it’s been a joy to meet my noisy new customers, visible to me from the kitchen while I cook: sly and elegant blue jays and marauding blackbirds, red-capped woodpeckers, fat little titmice, the occasional cardinal with her calls of cheer, cheer, cheer. I like the idea of word getting out on bird social media, the original Twitter: Good grub at Sifton’s. See you there?
Which means Sunday dinner is a little more complicated these days. There’s the filling of the feeders to start, and then prep for a family meal, which if I’m lucky we can eat early with the soundtrack of birdsong. This week’s offerings include sunflower seeds for the avian crowd, and a lot of pomegranate ones for the humans, in the form of Naz Deravian’s recipes for the Persian winter solstice holiday of Shab-e Yalda: a pomegranate and chicken stew called khoresh morgh nardooni (above) and kaale seerabeh salad, an uncooked pomegranate-walnut sauce turned into a dressing for vegetables and fruit. The actual solstice isn’t until the 21st, of course. But as they say down South, I’ll tell you what: I’m in need of light and longer days now.
A farro and broccoli bowl with lemony tahini for Monday night? Maybe, though I love the taste of these Indian butter chickpeas.
On Tuesday night, I like this midnight pasta with roasted garlic, olive oil and chile, fast and elegant and delicious, at least once you’ve roasted the garlic. (Roast a few heads instead of the one the recipe calls for. What’s left over will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks in the fridge and is terrific in salad dressings, on pizzas, in all sorts of pastas.)
Cook’s choice on Wednesday night: You could make either this hearty sheet-pan mushroom parmigiana situation or my freestyle roasted chicken Parm, which is hardly a recipe at all.
For Thursday, how about wine-braised chicken with artichoke hearts? Canned artichoke hearts are a weeknight cooking secret weapon!
And then on Friday, you can run out the week with a luscious Dijon and Cognac beef stew or, if you’re pressed for time, with spicy slow-roasted salmon with cucumbers and feta.
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Now, it has precious little to do with scrambling eggs or deep-frying borek, but take a few moments to review Smithsonian Magazine’s 10 winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards for 2021.
Here’s a fascinating look at an indigenous potato that may be a key to our future, by James Dinneen for The Counter.
Do take time to read this watch news, even if you rely on your phone for the time. Watch news is fascinating: fashion writ small.
Finally, The New Pornographers played Webster Hall in New York last week as part of their 21st anniversary celebration of their debut album, “Mass Romantic.” No good video from that (yet!), but here’s the band’s “Letter From an Occupant,” live from Matador Record’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas back in 2010. I’ll return on Monday.
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