Food Life Mi Ripot

A Brilliant Burger and Other Inspired Recipes

(Five Weeknight Dishes)

By Emily Weinstein

When I was picking out this week’s recipes for you, I was dreaming of Memorial Day weekend gatherings and the days that follow, that first big summer-vibe weekend of the year. But then I noticed that the recipes below have something else in common: inspiration drawn from wide-ranging sources, some slightly tweaked and others reimagined to become something equally delicious.

1. Korean Cheeseburgers With Sesame-Cucumber Pickles

A Korean cheeseburger with sesame-cucumber pickles in New York, April 6, 2021. These double-stacked cheeseburgers bring all the savory-sweet flavors of grilled Korean barbecue. Food styling by Barrett Washburne. (Bryan Gardner/The New York Times)

These double-stacked cheeseburgers bring all the savory-sweet flavors of grilled Korean barbecue. A garlicky scallion marinade helps build flavor three different ways: stirred into burger mix, brushed on the patties to form a glaze, and combined with mayonnaise to create a special sauce. The burgers are formed into thin patties, set on a baking sheet and broiled for maximum caramelization and weeknight ease. Roasted sesame oil rounds out tangy pickles and bolsters the burger with extra umami.

By: Kay Chun

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar

2 large Persian cucumbers, sliced 1/8-inch-thick

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped scallions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 1/2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (preferably chuck or sirloin)

4 slices American cheese

4 hamburger buns

Butter lettuce, sliced onions and sliced tomatoes, for serving


1. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add cucumbers and toss to coat, then let stand at room temperature.

2. Heat broiler to high and set oven rack set 6 inches from heat. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, scallions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the marinade to a small bowl and stir in mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine beef and 3 tablespoons of the scallion marinade. Gently mix to incorporate. Form into 8 thin patties (each about 4 1/2 inches wide) and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush tops with half of the remaining marinade. Flip and brush with the remaining marinade. Broil until golden and caramelized on top, about 4 minutes.

4. Arrange cheese on 4 patties, top with the remaining patties and let stand until cheese melts, about 1 minute.

5. Pour off all the liquid from the cucumbers and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil.

6. Smear the cut side of the buns with some of the seasoned mayonnaise. Arrange bottom buns on plates. Layer with lettuce, onion, tomato, double-stack burgers, pickles and top bun. Serve with extra pickles on the side.

2. Ginger-Lime Chicken

Ginger lime chicken in New York, July 21 2020. Mayonnaise is the secret ingredient in this recipe. Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich. (Jonny Miller/ The New York Times)

Though this may look like regular old chicken, don’t be fooled: It’s buzzing with the bright flavors of ginger and lime. Mayonnaise is the secret ingredient in this recipe, which is a trick J. Kenji López-Alt has written about. When slathered on boneless chicken and cooked, the beloved condiment carries flavor, sticks to the meat well, encourages browning and prevents the pieces of lime zest and ginger — or whatever seasonings you choose — from burning. Try this technique first with ginger and lime zest, then experiment with grated garlic, jalapeño, lemon, Parmesan and whatever else you can imagine. Serve with a pile of white rice and a fresh green salad topped with thinly sliced avocado.

By: Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 15 minutes


1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes), plus lime wedges, for serving

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (from a 3-inch piece of peeled ginger)


1. Pat the chicken dry and season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime zest and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat. (The chicken can sit in the marinade for up to 8 hours in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before cooking.)

2. To grill: Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken over direct heat until cooked through and juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side for thighs and about 4 minutes per side for breasts, turning as necessary to avoid burning.

3. To cook in a skillet: Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the chicken until juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side for thighs and about 4 minutes per side for breasts.

4. Serve chicken with lime wedges, for squeezing on top.

3. Salmon and Couscous Salad With Cucumber-Feta Dressing

A salmon and couscous salad with cucumber-feta dressing in New York, Feb. 17, 2021. The dressing in this 30-minute recipe is inspired by green goddess dressing and mast-o khiar, a Persian side dish of cucumbers and yogurt. Food styled by Monica Pierini. (Linda Xiao/The New York Times)

The dressing in this 30-minute recipe is inspired by green goddess dressing and mast-o khiar, a Persian side dish of cucumbers and yogurt. Here, thick yogurt is combined with fresh herbs, tangy feta and crunchy Persian cucumbers. If you have trouble finding Persian cucumbers, they can be swapped for similarly sweet-skinned English cucumbers or peeled regular cucumbers. Flaking the salmon into the salad evenly distributes it and is a nice alternative to serving a fillet for dinner. Leftover salad can be enjoyed cold for lunch the next day, freshened up with a squeeze of lime juice and more fresh herbs.

By: Yasmin Fahr

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


3 (6-ounce) skin-on (or skinless) salmon fillets

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 limes, 1 halved and 1 zested and juiced

1 1/2 cups pearl couscous

1 1/2 cups baby arugula

1 cup thick, full-fat yogurt, such as Greek, Skyr or labneh

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/4 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro or dill leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

1/4 packed cup fresh mint leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

1 Persian cucumber, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)

2 scallions, light green and white parts sliced


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In the center of a sheet pan, place salmon skin-side down. Pat the salmon dry, then coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Coat 1 of the lime halves in some of the olive oil in the pan, then place cut-side up in the corner.

2. Roast the salmon on the center rack until opaque on the outside and light pink in the center, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

3. While the salmon roasts, make the couscous: In a lidded pot over medium-high heat, toast the couscous, uncovered, stirring until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 cups water, season with salt, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain an active simmer, then cook until the couscous is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous in a colander, then drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Stir in the arugula, letting it wilt. Leave in the sink to cool slightly while you make the dressing.

4. Prepare the dressing: In a serving bowl, combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup room temperature water and the zest and juice of 1 lime, then whisk until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, plus 1/4 cup feta, most of the herbs (reserving some for garnish) and the cucumber. Stir to combine, then season to taste with salt. Set aside.

5. Add the cooked couscous and arugula to the yogurt mixture, tossing to combine. Remove the salmon from the skin, then flake with a fork. Add half the salmon to the couscous, mixing it together. Place the remaining salmon on top, squeeze the roasted lime half over the dish, then garnish with the scallions, remaining feta, parsley and mint. Quarter the remaining lime half and serve it on the side.

4. Salad Pizza With White Beans and Parmesan

A salad pizza with white beans and parmesan, in New York, April 6, 2021. Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s Tricolore salad pizza, this pizza features a mountain of brightly dressed greens and beans atop a crisp Parmesan crust. Food styling by Barrett Washburne. (Bryan Gardner/The New York Times)

Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s tricolore salad pizza, this pizza features a mountain of brightly dressed greens and beans atop a crisp Parmesan crust. Rolling the dough very thin takes some patience, but the reward is a snappy crust similar to that of pizza tonda, a thin-crust pie that’s popular in Rome. The salad is made of arugula, white beans and pickled pepperoncini, dressed simply with olive oil and the brine from the peppers, but any salad topping would do. (The original had radicchio, greens, tomatoes and a vinaigrette.) With an abundance of leaves atop, fold the pieces in half to eat, or embrace the mess — it’s all part of the fun.

By: Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes


1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed

1/4 cup sliced pickled pepperoncini (about 6 to 8 peppers), plus 2 tablespoons brine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound store-bought or homemade pizza dough, at room temperature, divided into two 8-ounce portions

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

3 to 5 ounces baby arugula


1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a sheet pan in the oven to heat.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the white beans, pepperoncini, pickle brine and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

3. Place a kitchen towel on a work surface, then place an upside-down sheet pan or cutting board on the towel. (This will serve as your pizza peel; the towel stabilizes the setup as you roll the dough). Lightly grease a piece of parchment with olive oil and place on top of the upside-down sheet pan. With a lightly greased rolling pin, roll one half of the dough on the parchment as thin as you can, about 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick. (If the dough retracts, let it rest a few minutes before continuing.)

4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan over the dough. Remove the preheated sheet pan from the oven, and carefully slide the parchment with the dough onto the hot baking sheet. Cook until golden brown on the top and bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining dough on a second piece of greased parchment and cover with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer the first pizza to a cooling rack to crisp, then repeat with the second piece of dough.

5. Add the arugula to the bean mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently to combine. Top each pizza with the salad, plus more grated or shaved Parmesan.

5. Yo Po Mian

Yo Po Mian, which means oil sprinkled noodles, in New York, May 7, 2021. It’s traditionally made with biang biang, or hand-torn flat noodles, but wide wheat noodles are used here for a quick weeknight meal. (Julia Gartland/The New York Times)

A staple dish from Shaanxi province in China’s central northwest, yo po mian literally means “oil sprinkled noodles.” It’s traditionally made with biang biang, or hand-torn flat noodles, but wide wheat noodles are used here for a quick weeknight meal. (In a pinch, any dried noodles will work.) This dish packs a lot of flavor, but its preparation is deceptively simple: Noodles and greens are topped with raw garlic and chiles, then hot oil is poured over the top, which coaxes the flavor out of the aromatics. Yo po mian is typically very garlicky, but that’s been dialed back here with just four cloves. (Use more or less, depending upon your personal preference.) You could add ground Sichuan peppercorns for tangy spice, and if you have dark soy sauce, you can substitute it for half of the soy sauce in this recipe, as it will add deep sweetness and rich caramel flavor.

By: Hetty McKinnon

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


Kosher salt

12 ounces dried wide wheat noodles

4 heads baby bok choy (about 12 ounces), trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 4 pieces

4 small garlic cloves, peeled and grated

8 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons black vinegar

1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 handful cilantro leaves

8 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions until just al dente. When they are about 45 to 60 seconds from being done, add the bok choy and press the greens down to submerge them. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds, until they are bright green and just tender. Drain, and divide the noodles and greens between 4 deep noodle bowls.

2. Divide the garlic between the four bowls of noodles, then top each bowl of noodles with 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon black vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, some scallions and a small bundle of cilantro leaves.

3. In a small saucepan (if you have one with a spout, it is very helpful for pouring the oil), heat the oil over high until it is smoking. (To test, touch the oil with a wooden chopstick or skewer; the oil should bubble vigorously.) Very carefully pour the oil over the garlic and toppings, dividing it evenly among the bowls. Toss to coat the noodles and serve immediately.

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