Pimento Cheese and Glazed Meatballs, Roasted Green Vegetables and No-Bake Cheesecake

Pimento Cheese and Glazed Meatballs, Roasted Green Vegetables and No-Bake Cheesecake

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Spring is for snacking superbly. It’s the season of radishes dragged through butter, potato-pea samosas eaten on a park bench, a wedge of almond cake with a 3 p.m. iced (!) coffee. The days are longer, the sun is sunnier and the trees are flowerier, setting the scene for meandering, grazing and cheerful little meals to match the mood.

I would like a Costco-size box of Ritz crackers and a bowl of traffic-cone-orange pimento cheese, that classic mix of Cheddar, red bell pepper and mayonnaise. As ever, you’ll want to trot through the comments on this recipe: “There are as many different variations on pimento cheese as there are Junior League cookbooks in the South,” aptly notes Esther, a reader. Someone else adds toasted pecans (“Maybe that’s a Texas thing!”), another reader swaps in paprika for the chile flakes, and yet another adds onion and garlic powders. Then there’s this hot tip to bookmark for barbecue season: “When I was a boy growing up in South Carolina, we had hamburgers with pimento cheese and chopped onions. It is out of this world.”


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Spring is also a good season for the slow cooker. Unexpectedly chilly evenings call for something warm and hearty, but I don’t want to spend those newly daylight hours after work with my stove. Time, then, for Sarah DiGregorio’s slow-cooker chicken ragù with herbed ricotta, a comforting dish perked up with a splash of vinegar and plenty of basil.

What’s a cheerful little meal without a meatball? Specifically these glazed lamb meatballs with golden raisins and pine nuts, a new recipe from Kay Chun. Serve them with orzo or long-grain rice for a satisfying dinner, or stud them with those frilly cellophane toothpicks for your fancy party.

As this is a spring-focused newsletter about cooking, we must talk about green vegetables. Reem Kassis’s narjissiya with asparagus, halloumi and sumac is a gorgeous mix of gently cooked eggs, salty halloumi, crisp pita, sour yogurt and tangy sumac bloomed in olive oil. To borrow Reem’s notes: “Narjissiya refers to any of several dishes found in medieval Arab cookery books made with sunny-side-up eggs. The word itself means ‘like narcissus,’ a name likely chosen for the dish’s vibrant white and yellow colors, just like the narcissus (daffodil) flower.” Springtime in a pan.

You could also bring home handfuls of scallions, asparagus and green beans, slick them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at high heat, as Ali Slagle does for her roasted spring vegetables. That’s springtime in the oven.

Lastly, now is the time for all those beautiful desserts that would otherwise melt in summer’s heat. Nik Sharma’s no-bake mango lime cheesecake is a perfect pick for early May birthdays, graduation gatherings and generally any time you want a slice of something cool, creamy and cut through with tart lime and floral mango.

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