Butter, Garlic, Spice, Sweetness, Umami and Starch

Credit…James Ransom for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Good morning. Make any recipe more than three or four times and you’re going to change it, either for reasons of taste or expediency, occasionally both. Make that recipe six or seven times and it’s altered forever. It’s no longer the recipe you originally found. It’s yours.

That’s where I am with Eric Kim’s recipe for gochujang buttered noodles (above). Transformation is afoot. I made it last week with ssamjang in place of the gochujang in the sauce, less intense in spiciness, and with freezer dumplings in place of the noodles. That was fantastic. A few nights later I made it again, this time adding sliced rounds of lap cheong, the savory-sweet Chinese sausage, and substituting Korean rice cakes for the noodles.

That was also fantastic. So this weekend, I put the challenge to you. Make Eric’s dish as he intended, or take it in whatever direction your pantry allows and your taste desires. Cook in confidence. It’s just butter, garlic, spice, sweetness, umami and starch. Perfection every time.

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Gochujang Buttered Noodles

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Another challenge: Rick A. Martinez’s gorditas de maiz. I’d follow that recipe closely for a time, as bread recipes are less forgiving of improvisation. Stuff them with frijoles de olla.

Or maybe cook this Caribbean stew I picked up from the writer Jim Harrison, who contributed the recipe to the magazine Smoke Signals in 1981. It calls for spare ribs, chicken thighs and Italian sausage. I’ve made it with venison, duck and andouille. You do you.

You could make a Cobb salad this weekend, fish Milanese, tofu larb. I hope you do. Are there good peaches at the market? (Not in Georgia, Kim Severson reports.) Make a perfect peach pie. If not, how about a summer berry buckle?

A chaat party for dinner on Saturday night? Here’s hoping, though lamb tagine would be terrific, too. Or maybe enchiladas? And definitely waffles at some point. Waffles are the weekend’s bestest friend.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You do, yes, need a subscription to read them. Subscriptions make this whole operation possible. I hope, if you haven’t done so already, that you will subscribe today. Thank you.

We are standing by if you run into issues with our technology: [email protected]. Someone will get back to you. Or you can write directly to me if you feel the need to vent or to share: [email protected]. I cannot respond to every letter. But I read every one I get.

Now, it’s some distance from anything to do with vanilla extract or 00 flour, but please take some time for Sophie Hughes’s remarkable piece about the art of translating literature, in The New York Times.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the water in front of Taylor Swift’s home on Watch Hill in Rhode Island, chasing fish. Unlike some, though, I’ve never been arrested on the grounds.

In HellGate, Arielle Gordon has a piece on New York’s Communal Luxury Yacht Club. Good luck to them!

Finally, it’s Bastille Day, la Fête Nationale. Here’s Indochine, “Trois Nuits par Semaine,” from 1985. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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