Dinner Plans #19
The "let's get loud!" heard 'round the world.
Compared to last week, there was a certain lightness to this one. It felt as though our nation’s collective jaw was unclenched as we watched Lady Gaga deliver the best rendition of the national anthem since Fergie. Our thoughts on the Bernie photo?:
Whatever your take on the government is, they likely owe you $600, and if you’re still waiting for that money to hit your bank account or mailbox, we have a treat for you: cheap, delicious dinners to make this week. Possibly even more of a treat is Dinner Plans from Bill Clark, owner of the late, great Meme’s Diner (and the person responsible for their infamous layer cakes). Bill writes a weekly newsletter called, wait for it… A Piece of Cake. It’s not just about cake, but you should expect cake recipes of all kinds: rolled, snacking, etc, plus more premium dessert content, like these pull-apart doughnuts. There’s something for everyone in his recipe picks for Sifted this week. Truly, no one (guest) has (had) this range.
ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
BILL CLARK’S DINNER PLANS
Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough: Deb published this recipe, adapted from the French Laundry Cookbook, in 2008 and it has been my go to pasta base for 13 years. Simple, no fuss, like most of my favorite recipes. I’ve used this to make hand-cut noodles, ravioli, tortellini, spaghetti—all the shapes. I once heard, and I wish I could remember where, that you can stop kneading pasta dough when it feels like an earlobe. Kind of gross, but true. Serve it with Marcella Hazan’s Sauce, which has been published literally everywhere, and you have one of my favorite simple meals ever. Deb’s got a great meatball recipe too if that’s your thing.
Cheese Buldak (Fire Chicken): Maangchi’s cheese buldak, or fire chicken, is something my partner and I make all the time. I love Maangchi’s videos and this recipe is so simple and comforting. It takes less than 30 minutes, so it's perfect for those nights when you forget to plan dinner. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples. There’s always a big tub of gochujang in our fridge and we bought a big container of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) specifically for this recipe but have started using it for a lot of things. It’s not crazy hot and has a ton of pepper flavor. One of my favorite tricks when I’m in a rush—pick up a large side of white rice from the Chinese take out place on the corner. Always perfectly cooked, it’s $3, and ready immediately.
Detroit-Style Pizza: My partner Andrew started making this Detroit-style pizza lately and now I’m asking for it weekly. You get those crispy edges and caramelized cheese that makes Detroit pizza so good, the dough is not intimidating at all, and you can top it with anything. Personally, I love it with caramelized onions, sausage, and banana peppers. Serve with a big Italian-American style salad and it’s my perfect pizza night at home. For just the two of us it makes enough to have a slice in the morning for breakfast if you’re feeling wild.
Coca-Cola Snack Cake: I had to include at least one cake recipe here. The Coca-Cola snack cake with sour cream whip from my newsletter, A Piece of Cake. It’s a variation on the Texas sheet cake my mother used to make when I was a kid. A cocoa and buttermilk cake, jazzed up with the addition of Coca-Cola. Glazed hot out of the oven and served with a tangy whip, it’s a perfect weeknight cake. Super simple and keeps really well, so you can nibble on it for a couple of days. And just a heads up, I publish a new snack cake recipe the first week of every month!
SO YOU’RE STILL WAITING FOR YOUR STIMULUS CHECK TO ARRIVE
Spaghetti Squash: I am not here to tell you to make spaghetti squash to use in place of pasta. We do not condone such things here at Sifted. But spaghetti squash is sweet, a little creamy, a little crunchy and pretty delicious once you split it in half vertically (or slice it horizontally into rings for longer strands,) roast it at 400 degrees with a little olive oil and salt for ~40 minutes to an hour, and use a fork to fluff up and pull apart the strands. I like it hot with another drizzle of olive oil, salt and parmesan or any other hard, salty, grate-able cheese you have in the fridge. Serve it next to a lemony salad with thinly sliced fennel, or with a roasted chicken, or with leftover salmon. You can actually have it all three ways, because a whole squash is enough for at least three meals, making it ideal for a week when your $600 has somehow still not made found its way to your mailbox.
Sesame Noodles: File under: recipes you can make from ingredients at the bodega. And I mean a real bodega, not an Andrew Yang bodega. I loosely follow the classic takeout-style sesame noodles from Hwa Yuan, which involve a few more pantry pulls, but if you really only have bodega-level selections of ingredients, go with this pared down version. Grab some peanut butter and/or tahini, those soy sauce packets in your fridge door that have accumulated from takeout, and vinegar. The garlic and ginger add a lot of flavor for very little coin, as do some scallions and chili crisp or sambal. Slather your gorgeous sauce all over noodles of any kind: rice noodles, spaghetti, or the noodles from a ramen packet.
Cup Noodles Fried Rice: Speaking of ramen packets, this informal submission comes from Boyfriend of the Newsletter, Alex, who refuses to fill out the recipe submission form (don’t be like Alex, submit yours today!) but redeemed himself by providing us with this gem. This insane(ly delicious?) recipe from Serious Eats’ Daniel Gritzer basically entails mixing a super simple fried rice (leftover rice + oil + egg) and a crushed (noodles into little bits) and cooked ramen packet or cup. Then you fry all of that together of course, and can top with an omurice-style omelet if you’re really going for it. What you’re left with is a kind of Japanese Rice-A-Roni Frankenstein of carbs. Gritzer nails the description: “This isn't just drunk food; it's survival food,” and while we anxiously await Uncle Joe’s $1400 belated Christmas gift, isn’t that exactly what we need?
BBOTW (BEST BITES OF THE WEEK):
Gab: I trekked to my hometown, Manhattan, to pick up pints of what is truly, simply, frankly the greatest ice cream in this city. Caffè Panna’s dense, silky, mix-in-packed flavors rival my favorite pint of all time and the gelato from Ismageriet I ate as an innocent, naive teenager in Copenhagen. The flavors at CP change constantly, though the chocolate sorbet (think: dark, creamy, addicting, lighter than chocolate ice cream, richer than classic sorbet) is a menu staple and, if I lived closer, would be a freezer staple, too. I left with a pint of tiramisu—sweet, tangy mascarpone and smooth, bitter espresso ice cream swirled with streams of buttery caramel and layers of some kind of crunchy-cakey vanilla cookie reminiscent of ladyfingers. It’s incredibly delicious and difficult to stop eating, but my favorite part of the pint was pulling off the lid to find a showering of cocoa powder, just like actual tiramisu.
Court: My best bite of this week was an easy pick: the savory galette I made on Friday night with absolutely gorgina produce from Illuminate Food (an amazing local produce delivery service). I waxed poetic on my galette in this weekend’s edition of On the Back Burner, but I’m still not over how good it turned out and how simple it was to make. Stella Parks’ pie crust simply cannot be beat, but I dare you to find a flakier, easier recipe. Despite some butter leakage that would have sent me into a panic spiral were I in the GBBO tent, the crust turned out so crunchy, even as reheated day-old leftovers. Fill your galette with anything from the sad winter farmer’s market: potatoes, sweet potatoes, other kinds of root vegetables that aren’t potatoes but are pretty close to potatoes. Add some hard herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage, and a cheese like parm, feta, or really anything salty and pungent. Flaky crust, creamy, warm filling, and the best part: a hot honey-like reduction of vinegar, honey, garlic and red pepper flakes. I know what Mr. President will be making on his 76th day in office.