Tastes of Fall

David Tanis’s recipes for butternut squash pie, romaine salad and red wine pears will usher you into the season.

By Sam Sifton

Tastes of Fall

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. I’m jazzed for David Tanis’s new recipes for an autumnal dinner (above), which bring us a simple, exquisite romaine salad with anchovy and lemon, a savory butternut squash pie and a dessert of red wine pears. I don’t know if it’s going to be on the docket tonight, but you could get a jump on the meal for Friday by making the pears so that they have plenty of time to absorb the syrup they’re cooked in, and maybe puff pastry, too, if you want to skip the store-bought stuff.

For this evening, especially if you’re getting started on Tanis’s menu, keep it uncomplicated. I like this mushroom pasta stir-fry for that, or our easiest lentil soup. Or you could join me in my weekly exercise in improvisatory cooking, following a prompt to cook what we call a no-recipe recipe, this week for pressure-cooker chicken congee.

It’s dead simple to make: rinsed rice in the cooker with water added at a ratio of around 1 part rice to 9 parts water, along with a handful of roughly chopped ginger, and some chicken legs or thighs or both. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then let the steam release naturally. Open the top carefully and fish out the chicken. If everything seems too loose for you, keep cooking the rice with the top off the pot until it thickens while you shred the meat, then return it to the pot. Season with salt, and serve adorned with chopped scallions and some combination of roasted peanuts, fried shallots, fried garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile crisp or XO sauce, as you like.

Alternatively, take a gander at this quick ragù with ricotta and lemon, or this vegan tantanmen with pan-fried tofu. Is tonight the one for skillet chicken with couscous, lemon and halloumi? You could always order in whatever delivery meal makes you happiest, and if you still feel the desire to cook, bake this one-bowl carrot cake after you eat.

Come visit New York Times Cooking to discover thousands and thousands more ideas about what to cook right now. (I don’t think it should come as a surprise at this point that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions are what make our efforts to serve you possible. Thank you for yours.) Or check out our social-media feeds on Instagram and YouTube for more.

We’re standing by like the ski patrol on top of Culinary Mountain, should you find yourself off-piste with your cooking or our technology. Just drop us a line if you’re feeling puzzled about anything: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. (You can always raise a flag with me: [email protected] I can’t respond to every letter sent. But I read each one.)

Now, it’s a long day’s travel from anything to do with pommes Anna or coconut brigadeiros, but I loved this look at negative book reviews The Times has published over the years, including pans for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night” (“not the work of a wise and mature novelist”), Henry James’s “The Golden Bowl” (“a flutter of aimless conjecture”) and Robert McCloskey’s “Blueberries for Sal” (“slight”!).

Thanks to the indispensable Longreads, I discovered this amazing tale of art forgery by Peter Ward and Sean Williams, in Truly*Adventurous.

Gary Shteyngart on his botched circumcision, in The New Yorker? [Clicks link.]

Finally, here’s some music to cook dinner by: Black Uhuru, “Sponji Reggae.” Listen to that nice and loud, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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