1. PEPPERS A LA PLACARD: First, find a pepper. Then, put it in the crisper drawer. Forget about it. Offer your guests your palpable sense of regret and resignation.
2. MARK BITTMAN’S INSTANT LASAGNA: Place three carrot sticks in a pan, each an inch apart. Using a citrus reamer, juice one ripe tomato over the sticks (freeze the tomato rind for stock). Let infuse for twenty-five seconds, then serve immediately with hummus and cranberries.
3. THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY: Here’s a doozy. Take a scant handful of sesame seeds, and press them into softened black-eyed peas. Voila! Crab cakes nobody has to walk out on.