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Von Diaz’s Puerto Rican Recipes

Good morning. The journalist, historian and cookbook author Von Diaz brought together her essential Puerto Rican recipes for us this week, dishes that she calls foundational to her understanding of flavor, “a culinary mejunje, or mix, of Indigenous, African, Spanish and American ingredients and techniques.”

Her essay on the subject is itself essential reading, and I think you’ll want to get into the recipes in your kitchen this week, building on her sazón and sofrito to make all manner of deliciousness.

You might start with pollo en fricasé, braised chicken thighs in a rich, oniony, tomato-based sauce with garlic, white wine and vinegar, set off by briny olives and capers. Or sancocho, the rustic stew you can make with root vegetables and just about any meat. Or, if you’re feeling celebratory, you might try your hand at pernil (above), the crackly-tender roast pork that is probably the best-known dish of the Puerto Rican diaspora.

Von has a beautiful recipe for pescado frito, whole red snapper marinated in adobo, then fried and served with tostones, avocado salad and white rice. And another one for yuca con mojo, boiled yuca doused in a garlic-and-citrus mojo dressing, her grandmother’s recipe.

There’s the stewed beef known as carne guisada as well as arroz mamposteao, mixed rice with beans, and a marvelous vegetarian situation with gandules con bolitos de plátano, pigeon peas with plantain dumplings. Alcapurrias de jueyes, crab-stuffed fritters? Them, too — with pastelillos de guayaba, guava cheese pastries, for dessert.

If you’re planning for Passover, we’ve got you covered with dozens of recipes, including ones for vegetarian main dishes, for matzo-centric cooking, for desserts and sweets.

And for Easter, Steven Raichlen weighs in with recipes for honey-cured, hickory-smoked shoulder ham, and ham-cured, smoked pork loin with Cognac-orange glaze, while Yewande Komolafe details and explores the joys of moqueca, the Brazilian seafood stew.

Other new recipes to try this week: lemon pudding cakes with sugared raspberries from Melissa Clark; and crispy gnocchi with burst tomatoes and mozzarella from Ali Slagle.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go see what you can find. As always: Save the recipes you want to cook and rate the ones you’ve made. You can leave notes on recipes, too, if you want to keep track of hacks or substitutions you’ve made or want to tell your fellow subscribers about them.

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Now, it has nothing to do with saucepans or the scent of thyme, but I liked Ben Libman’s essay in The Times arguing that 1925 may have been modernist literature’s most important year. (That year’s in the spotlight because books published then have just emerged from under copyright.)

Tacking in another direction, here are 15 cooking tips our Food team swears by, on YouTube.

Robert Travers has a poem, “Geese,” in The Yale Review.

Finally, here’s Spoon covering Tom Petty, “Breakdown,” and you ought to listen to that very loud. I’ll be back on Friday.