My relationship with bananas can best be described by paraphrasing Katy Perry’s 2008 song: We’re hot then we’re cold, we’re yes then we’re no, we’re in then we’re out, we’re up then we’re down. I’ll bring home a Donkey Kong-size haul of them on a Sunday, craving their starchy sweetness. On Monday and Tuesday I’ll proudly peel some for my breakfasts and lunches. But by Friday, I’ll have a pile of forgotten soft crescents streaked with black.

I never worry, though, because a brown, mushy banana yields all sorts of treats. Banana blondies! Banana smoothies! And of course, always, forever, banana bread. Julia Moskin’s recipe, adapted from Allrecipes, is the platonic banana bread ideal: buttery, with a touch of molasses flavor from the brown sugar and a bit of crunch from the walnut topping. It’s the perfect, simple baked good I want with my Sunday morning coffee, before I head to the store to repeat my banana cycle.


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With lemons on hand, I’m just a package of chicken and a bag of potatoes away from Melissa Clark’s supremely easy lemony chicken with potatoes and oregano. Thin slices of lemon roast alongside, becoming deeply caramelized and pleasantly bitter — “for true lemon lovers only,” she writes.

I’d say that this eggplant Parmesan pasta by Kay Chun is for eggplant lovers, but I think even the aubergine-avoidant would enjoy it. Cubes of eggplant are fried in olive oil, becoming golden but not greasy, then simmered with tomatoes and basil and served with milky slices of mozzarella and drifts of grated Parmesan. Several readers added anchovies to the olive oil in Step 2; this is not a bad idea.

Sue Li’s fried fish sandwich is crispy and tangy, made in a flash (20 minutes or so) on the stovetop. Sarah DiGregorio’s honey-soy braised pork with lime and ginger, on the other hand, is fall-apart tender and luscious and simmers away all day in your electric slow cooker. Both deserve spots in your weeknight dinner rotation.

And for something that’s cold — but hot, in a spicy way — I love Alexa Weibel’s chopped salad with jalapeño ranch dressing. There’s naturally a good bit of chopping involved, but I’ll usually prepare extra quantities of the ingredients so that I have the next day’s lunch ready to go. Be sure to skim the reader comments here; brilliant additions include pinto beans, grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs and jicama.



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