People with different flavor obsessions tend to appreciate each other’s passions — lemon lovers understand chocoholics, and chile fiends click with squint-seeking sour-candy obsessives. But when it comes to texture, there can be a mutual incomprehension. I happen to love anything squishy, springy, chewy, wobbly or displaying the soft elasticity called Q or QQ in Taiwan, and I think everyone else should, too. My husband, however, just doesn’t understand my predilection.
But I’m hoping to win him over with a pot of Mely Martínez’s soothing menudo (above), as adapted by Bryan Washington in his column for The New York Times Magazine. The combination of tripe, cow’s feet and marrow bones is a sublime meld of texturally diverse ingredients, bolstered by a silky, chile- and cumin-scented broth. Hominy can add heartiness to the bowl, or leave it out for a lighter dish.
Mochi, with its gentle bounce, is a widely adored example of the Q texture. Hetty McKinnon’s tender mochi brownies are easy and gluten-free and have a lightness as well as a tender chew — and you can mix the batter in one bowl. They might be just the thing to whip up for your sweetie if you’re looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat. Or, if your Valentine prefers the jiggle of custard, there’s Samantha Seneviratne’s chocolate rice pudding, complex and fudgy from cocoa powder and maple syrup.
For anyone more tempted by crunch, Ali Slagle’s cauliflower popcorn has a crisp, spiced panko coating that goes perfectly with an iceberg wedge salad. Or try Sue Li’s Taiwanese popcorn chicken and fried basil, imbued with the pleasingly numbing shock of Sichuan peppercorns.
One texture that I think we can all get behind is flakiness, like the buttery pastry crust on a chicken potpie. Sarah Copeland’s quicker version uses store-bought dough, and plenty of cream bathes the chunks of chicken and vegetables in the filling. And then there’s the puffy flake of a good biscuit, either on its own or as a topping for a skillet full of hearty turkey chili. Make Lidey Heuck’s chicken potpie with a golden crown of cornmeal biscuits if you’re looking for the best of all possible flaky, meaty worlds.
You’ll need a subscription to get these and the other thousands of recipes we have at New York Times Cooking. We are also on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, where Ham El-Waylly explains the importance of drying proteins like chicken thighs before searing. Dryer chicken skin equals burnished crispness, which is exactly what you want. For technical help, the savvy people at [email protected] will be there for you. And I’m at [email protected] if you want to send me a note; I read every one.
If there’s a rom-com season, this is surely it. Movie lovers will be watching characters annoy, trip over, deceive and dance with their future life partners. One of my favorites is the Bollywood classic “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” — translated as “The Big-Hearted Will Take the Bride” and affectionately known as “D.D.L.J.” — which Mujib Mashal and Suhasini Raj recently wrote about for The Times.
Their superb article explores the fandom that has grown around the film since it came out in 1995. A cinema in Mumbai has been playing it nearly every day for an astounding 27 years. The affection its fans have for the movie can be complex, but the joys it inspires with its colors, its humor and, above all, its jaw-dropping dance numbers are essential ones. It’s the sort of movie where the love affair is between you the movie itself — a perfect Valentine’s Day watch for tomorrow.
I’ll see you on Wednesday.