Good morning. We’ll get to dinner soon enough, but I think today might be largely spent making desserts and teatime delights for a holiday cookie box, in keeping with the teachings of Melissa Clark. Make some combination of vanilla bean spritz cookies, cornmeal lime shortbread fans, toasted almond snowballs, black and white brownies and fudgy bourbon balls. You don’t have to eat them all. As Melissa will show you, here’s how to pack them for the mail.
After all that, you’ll want something hearty for dinner. Samin Nosrat grew up loving tahdig — the crunchy brown crust that forms at the bottom of a pot of Persian rice. She recently found a similar delight, she wrote for The New York Times Magazine this week, in the Puerto Rican rice and beans dish arroz con gandules made by the chef and writer Reina Gascón-López.
“Arroz con gandules is all about the pegao,” Gascón-López told her. Pegao is Puerto Rican tahdig, Samin explained: the golden shards of crisp-cooked rice at the bottom of the pot. It’s a dish prepared serially and then left over a low flame to build the pegao, and it’s on the docket for my dinner tonight and maybe now yours as well. I hope so.
For Monday’s meal, I’m looking forward to ramen with charred scallions, green beans and chile oil, bright and fiery. (Truth: I won’t make the chile oil because I have chile crisp in the fridge, making the dish even easier to pull off on the fly.)
Tuesday night, more heat: these pork chops in cherry pepper sauce, which go nicely with a bowl of spaghetti tossed in olive oil and lots of grated Parmesan, and a crisp green salad with a red wine vinaigrette.
A simple dinner of baked fish will suffice for Wednesday, maybe alongside a few baked potatoes? Cook the potatoes first, and then the fish, and serve together with a fixins bar: scallions and sour cream, some sliced jalapeños, a little cheese.
What I’d love to have on Thursday night: lobster with pasta and mint, a dish that never fails to remind me of one Mark Ladner used to cook at Del Posto, with a little bit of minced jalapeño tossed into the mix at the end. What I’ll actually make on Thursday night: pasta with mint and Parmesan.
And then on Friday night, to round out the week: Korean fried chicken, with corn cheese and gochujang-glazed eggplant, all paired with cold beer.
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Now, it’s about as far as you can get from spelt flour and cup ramen, but you should take a little time to luxuriate in T Magazine’s divas issue, starring Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle and Dolly Parton.
Listen to Waxahatchee, “Can’t Do Much.”
What happened to sports cars? Income inequality is killing them off, argues Lewin Day in Road & Track.
Finally, here are The Times’s staff book critics on their best books of 2020, and it’s an exciting list as we go into the holiday gifting season. (Speaking of, do check out the Cooking collection at The Times’s online store.) I’ll be back on Monday.
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