Cooking Toward Christmas

Get in the holiday spirit with a hot toddy, an onion galette or sour cream dip topped with salmon roe.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. It’s getting quiet here in New York City, and I write that knowing it’s been quiet in a lot of precincts for going on two years.

The proprietary business communication platform on which I spend my working days is not pinging quite so frantically as it has in past weeks. Video meetings are sparse, or sparsely attended. Emails are starting to bounce back with out-of-office messages while my text messages are trending toward childhood friends returning to town, hoping for a drink at some point. Near empty buses are trundling across city. It’s beginning to feel a lot like a pandemic Christmas.

Seems as good a time as any to recommend chicken French for dinner, with some pasta dressed in olive oil and Parmesan. And maybe a hot toddy for dessert? It’s a carol in a glass, for some.

I’d like to make this caviar sour cream dip with potato chips (above) as well this week, and a big portion of it at that, so it can be rightfully thought of as dinner. Join me? It’s good with prosecco, Champagne or iced vodka. That’s a festive meal. (And, with salmon roe, not nearly as expensive as you might think.)

Also worth considering, as we run down the week toward the holiday: a caramelized onion galette, these scallops with brown butter, capers and lemon, bistek, a quick lamb ragù, and salted chocolate pudding with whipped sour cream for dessert.

Then chicken potpie for Christmas Eve, modernized by Julia Moskin, free of white sauce and overdone vegetables, with buttery steamed peas topped with mint on the side, and ham for the day that follows. Unless you don’t eat ham, in which case: spinach lasagna in the colors of the day.

More than 20,000 more recipes are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you’ve taken out a subscription. I hope you have. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. (If you haven’t, I hope will you consider subscribing today. And, hey, it’s not too late to buy gift subscriptions to put under the virtual tree!)

Please ask for help if anything goes wrong while you’re cooking or using the site and apps. We’re at [email protected] and someone will get back to you. (You can write to me, too, if you like. I’m at [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s a far cry from stollen or lumpia Shanghai, but check out Julian Lucas’s report in The New Yorker on writers seeking “distraction-free” devices on which to write. Like a typewriter? Kind of, but smarter. Sounds fantastic, but I love my tabs.

Speaking of, here’s Alexander Darwin in Rolling Stone, on the chef Anthony Bourdain’s anonymous posting to a martial-arts forum on Reddit.

I missed it when it dropped in October, but Jerry Audet’s ode to a secret fishing spot, in Angler’s Journal, is exactly right about the magic of finding one, and working it well.

Finally, here’s a poem for the winter solstice on Tuesday: “The World,” by Jennifer Chang. Enjoy that, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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