This Sesame Chicken With Cashews and Dates Is ‘Crazy Delicious’

Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

We’re in a strange sort of shoulder season, cookingwise. We’re ready for spring’s freshness, but are not quite done with winter’s cozy comforts. So today’s newsletter features recipes that compromise deliciously — dishes that are light yet filling, hearty yet bright. Melissa Clark’s sesame chicken with cashews and dates fits this bill, with its nutty, savory, sticky-sweet flavors balanced by ginger, chile and fistfuls of fresh basil or cilantro. It’s a fast stir-fry that’s a hit with readers: “This is crazy delicious,” Nathalie writes, “one of my favorite recipes of all time from this site.”

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Sesame Chicken With Cashews and Dates

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Similarly bolstering and bright are these garlicky shrimp with white beans, a quick sheet-pan dinner from Sarah DiGregorio. The beans, which become crispy-creamy as they roast alongside bacon matchsticks and lemon slices, are the cozy element here; the sweet shrimp and garlic-smeared bread speak to warmer weather (and crisp glasses of rosé).

As Ali Slagle notes in her recipe for citrus, beet and avocado salad, this is winter’s caprese: colorful, shingled slices of tart citrus, earthy beets and plush avocado dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve it as a side or on its own, loaded with whatever vegetables, cooked grains or proteins you’d like.

But maybe you’d like to get as many soups and stews and beautiful brown foods out of the season as you can. Kenji López-Alt has you covered with his smart one-pot roasted squash soup, in which the squash, onions, carrots and apples are roasted in your heavy Dutch oven before being blitzed with your immersion blender. And his pork schnitzel is pleasingly light, a thinly pounded loin chop enclosed in an extra-puffy breadcrumb crust. Lemon wedges and lingonberry (or cranberry) jam are traditional accompaniments; this lemony cranberry relish would be stellar alongside.

To end where we started — an easy Melissa Clark recipe that combines fruit and nuts and perfectly captures those late February feelings — here’s her no-bake pistachio cheesecake. (You can watch Melissa make it and its sister pistachio cheesecake in the latest episode of New York Times Cooking’s series “Shortcut vs. Showstopper.”) It’s simultaneously rich and light thanks to cream cheese, whipped cream and — this is the fun part — melted pistachio ice cream. Topped with a tumble of raspberries, it’s equally perfect after a winter warmer (eintopf, anyone?) or a meal that winks in spring’s direction (sprightly ginger-dill salmon). MIA LEIMKUHLER

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