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February 21, 2020
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The Best Way to Use Leftover Pita

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Good morning. How it goes, when I’m preparing to make chicken shawarma for dinner: I head to this bakery I’ve been going to since I was a kid, Damascus on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and I buy a lot of pita bread. Like, too much pita bread, even for the pounds of shawarma I make when I make shawarma. In the morning, there’s leftover pita. There always is.

Yotam Ottolenghi came through with a great new recipe that takes advantage of just such a condition: a chickpea and herb fatteh (above) that utilizes chickpeas and a bounty of herbs, tahini sauce and chile oil to bring day-old pita back to life. And if you make it with canned chickpeas instead of soaking your own overnight? I won’t say a word.

Melissa Clark has a new recipe for us as well, and it’s as outrageous as Yotam’s is thrifty. Imagine a tres leches cake, doubled: a seis leches cake, in other words, that combines sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, coconut milk, condensed coconut milk and dulce de leche in a dessert of intense, amazing complexity. Serve with very strong black coffee, please.

You could make three-cup vegetables tonight. That’s a fine midweek meal. Or our recipe for the easiest chicken soup. I like Yotam’s recipe for one-pan pasta with harissa Bolognese. Also, Colu Henry’s recipe for an easy chicken kapama.

But on Wednesdays I don’t always use recipes to cook. Neither should you. Instead, embrace the spirit of improvisation and see what you can do with this prompt: roasted miso chicken with butternut squash and red onions.

Imagine it as a sheet-pan dinner made with chicken thighs rubbed in compound butter and roasted over cubed butternut squash and chunks of red onion. For the butter: sweet or red miso, unsalted butter, a little rice vinegar, some soy sauce and a healthy squeeze of Sriracha or, failing that, your favorite American hot sauce. (Mine, currently, is Texas Pete.) Massage that stuff all over a bunch of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Put them on top of the vegetables all spread out on a foil-lined sheet pan and slide the assemblage into a hot oven. Cook until the skin’s crisp and golden, dark in spots, and the chicken and vegetables are cooked through and soft. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve, maybe with white rice.

There are many thousands of actual recipes waiting for you on NYT Cooking. You could make roasted salmon and brussels sprouts with citrus soy sauce. You could make Rishia Zimmern’s recipe for chicken with shallots. You could get yourself ready for Chinese New Year celebrations on the weekend. All you need to access them is a subscription. Thank you for yours.

Further inspiration for what to cook can be found on our Facebook page. We’re all over Instagram, too, and Twitter. And, yes, we’re on YouTube, where Melissa Clark recently went to talk about eating less meat in 2020. Come see!

Please be in touch if anything goes wrong along the way, whether with our technology or your cooking. Just write cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you.



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