Dinner Plans #30
The big 3-0! Dirty 30!
Dinner Plans is thirty (in newsletter years), flirty (always have been, always will be) and (dare we say) thriving! We have some celebratory and spring-appropriate recipes for you this week, because we love all of you and we love this warm and sunny, don't have to wear a parka to dinner, Sunday picnic in the park weather. And heads up—you're going to want to keep an eye on your inbox ~tomorrow~ for the snacky "So You" that we felt was only appropriate to send out on the 20th day of the 4th month of the year.
ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
Ramp Milk Bread: I’ve waxed poetic about Julia Moskin’s recipe for Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread) many, many times, and that’s because I love it. Soft, sweet, squishy, and simple enough to mix, rest, and bake all in an afternoon, guaranteeing I can act quickly when a craving calls. It’s the kind of no-fail dough recipe that you can make again and again to great success until you feel comfortable experimenting with it. Lately that’s meant dividing the dough and folding various mix-ins in between rises, creating a swirl of flavor throughout the mini loaves of bread. I’ve done cinnamon swirl loaves a few times now, so this week I decided to incorporate the undisputed star of Hot Girl Spring: ramps. I added a few finely minced ramps into one loaf, and tried swirling full leaves into another. I’d recommend the former technique for a uniformly garlicky loaf. I’d also recommend using egg wash on top rather than the usual milk for a shinier crust and to help adhere any edible decorations like these ramp leaves. Want more ideas for what to do with your precious ramp haul? Friday’s newsletter for paid subscribers was chock-full-o-ramps, so if you’re not yet subscribed, now’s a good time to do so:
Cauliflower Ragu: I’m on a cauliflower kick. After years and years of roasting it plainly, crudely crammed onto sheet trays with random other vegetables, I finally feel as though I’m showing it some justice. A few weeks ago it was this whole roasted cauliflower, and this week it was Molly Baz’s cauliflower ragu, a totally unexpected, zingy little number. It’s got tomato paste, calabrian chili, and anchovies, but also copious amounts of mint and lemon zest? You may have noticed it’s also behind a Patreon paywall, so in order to access it you can support her (paying recipe developers for their labor! fun!) orrrr you can be besties/newsletter cofounders with Gab (sorry that spot’s taken!) Or here’s another recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, Six Seasons, that’s a lot more straightforward in flavor and technique. “Tumble” cauliflower, white wine, parm, and lots of pasta water for a creamy, cheesy masterpiece. -CK
Monster Skillet Cookie: A skillet cookie isn’t necessarily springy, but a hot pan of sizzling, barely-baked cookie dough (topped off with a big, mandatory scoop of ice cream) is the most special dessert to share, whether snow is falling or flowers are blooming. My most recent rendition was a combination of three doughs, BJ’s style. I beat together a half batch of this double chocolate dough and half of these ‘oatmeal cookie hugs’ with unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted coconut flakes and some roughly chopped Samoas. The third and final cookie was a combo of the brown butter dough from my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, swirled in-spoonfuls of speculoos cookie butter and chunks of a special holiday edition Ritter bar made with milk chocolate and speculoos cookies. A warm bite of all three with cold, melting vanilla ice cream is to me, the perfect spring, summer, fall and winter food. -GS
BBOTW (BEST BITES OF THE WEEK):
Court: I never thought one of my favorite bites of the week would be a TikTok recipe but here we are. ICYMI, in the name of scientific research, I baked the vivid, vegan-ish blueberry cookies that have been making the rounds on TikTok. To watch the whole process go down, you can watch in our Instagram highlights here, but spoiler alert: I loved them. I wanted to hate them, I swear! I mean, they have white chocolate chips! But, they turned out like fluffy middle, crunchy-edged, blueberry muffin tops-meet-Little Bites. Here’s the recipe, if you want to try and make them yourself.
Gab: “You’ve reached your limit on Instagram” my phone tells me at an incredibly embarrassing hour of the morning that I will not be sharing here. I’m never proud to tap “Ignore Limit For Today”, but I like to believe if I hadn’t spent those countless extra hours on the app, I would’ve never discovered the satiny, custard-like pints from Bad Habit. Churned in Brooklyn, Bad Habit is a super small operation—you email the couple-slash-co-founders how many pints of which flavors you’d like, and you can choose to pick them up or work out a day and time for delivery. I started with just one pint of delicate roasted banana ice cream with thick, chewy ponds of dark coffee-infused caramel. It reminds me of a fresher, creamier, graduated-and-moved-to-Brooklyn Chunky Monkey.
We’re reading up on Tyra Banks’ newest venture, Smize Cream, in this wildly funny investigation by Caroline Goldfarb. It’s hard to pick a favorite line of the article, but it’s a toss up between, “‘Mister Diggie,’ [is] a bright yellow backhoe with absolutely zero anthropomorphized features, a metaphor meant to symbolize the ‘digging’ you do to get to the ‘Smize surprize’", and “The proprietary “Smize surprize,” a white chocolate covered cookie dough nugget at the bottom of the ice cream, made me feel like a truffle pig digging for a wet, fossilized rock.” Brilliant.
Thank you to FOTN Jake (of Digestivo of course) for alerting me that Carvel released a Crunchies cereal. It was very limited edition (like only-available-to-the-first-150 people-on-line-one-day-limited edition) but you can now find them being resold for ridiculous amounts of money on ebay, or more likely, you can make your own at home (like I will be doing later this week).
Cousin Greg cooks? In what feels like a scene straight out of dreams, Nicholas Braun has been exploring the world of Instagram cooking tutorials, recently showing off cinnamon rolls and sourdough bread in his stories. Needless to say, we’re waiting with bated breath to see what he’ll make next. Perhaps a (gr)egg (t)omelette? Only time will tell.