Stop and Make This Rice Pudding

Good morning. Priya Krishna recently came across a remarkable dessert, a rice pudding (above) that owes its flavor to the culinary traditions of Iran and Mexico. It’s the creation of Sara Mardanbigi and Edgar Rico, who own Nixta Taqueria in Austin, Texas, and draws both on sholeh zard, the loose, heavily spiced Persian rice pudding Ms. Mardanbigi grew up eating, and the flavors and texture of the Mexican arroz con leche of Mr. Rico’s childhood.

Their take, Priya reports, employs arborio rice instead of basmati and is “utterly unique in taste — warm and smoky with spices, slightly sour with strawberry powder and suffused with grains of rice that reveal the slightest chew.” Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I hope you will make it very soon.

I hope, too, that you’ll make some morning glory muffins one evening, so you can break your fast with them the next day. Paired with a cup of black tea — a 90-second steep and loads of milk, please — that’s a meal of real excellence.

Other things to cook real soon: smoky eggplant soup; spicy pan-fried noodles; tarragon chicken. Maybe an orange marmalade cake for dessert?

I’d like to make middle-school tacos this week, nostalgia in a hard-shell tortilla. (For those, you can make your own: Heat your oven to 350 degrees, brush corn tortillas lightly with oil and drape them over the rungs of your oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes until crisp and browned.) Also, pan-seared salmon with celery, olives and capers. Celery’s so underrated.

Shaking beef might be good as well, a taste of San Francisco long ago, when going to Charles Phan’s Slanted Door to eat that dish was like a pilgrimage.

I’ve been drawn back into the clutches of “Deadliest Catch” of late, a Bering Sea adventure show that for me most closely recalls a Yule log or an actual fire. I can stare into it for hours, mindlessly eating a dinner of spinach artichoke dip or mapo tofu nachos (which you can veganize if you like, with this vegan mapo tofu for the topping).

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Now, it’s nothing to do with sturgeon or marshmallows, but Amanda Chicago Lewis has a wild one in Wired on Kevin Blatt and Hollywood’s economy of secrets. It’s a squirrelly, difficult, eye-opening read about, as Lewis writes, “a one-man clearinghouse for everything seedy in Hollywood — the fixer you call when you want to see whether the thing you have that could humiliate a famous person is worth anything.”

Speaking of fixers, I’m just getting this on your radar: “Ray Donovan” is coming back, in a feature film.

Late to it, but I enjoyed this virtual tour of the Alaska Biennial, at the Anchorage Museum.

Finally, if you want to get a sense of the Manhattan in which I’ve worked for so long, and from which I’ve been away for a year because the pandemic, please read Rivka Galchen’s elegiac personal history in The New Yorker, “Living in New York’s Unloved Neighborhood.” I miss Esposito’s butcher shop there, miss slices from Upside and the dollar ones, too, miss slaloming through garmentos and tourists, miss looking up at wide windows to see Broadway dancers twirl in rehearsal rooms. I miss, above all, going to work. I’ll be back in your inbox on Wednesday.

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