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literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

The TBR List: Birthday Dessert

Birthday brownies a la mode for two | www.paperplatesblog.com

Over BYO lunch on the plaza next to our Michigan Avenue office yesterday, Kate and I discussed how impossible it is to reconcile the passage of time these days. It seems you blink and the next milestone is achieved, the next month is past and the next life landmark is looming. And it's all you can do to keep up.

Shiraaz's birthday yesterday only brought that into sharper focus. It marked the beginning of a new academic year from him, the approach of autumn for us all and the fact that we are, resist as we might, slowly turning into grownups.

But we are of the belief that aging is a successful operation, so we celebrated in style. Dinner at David Burke's Primehouse, where we enjoyed their signature Himalayan salt-aged steaks, kicked it off. Then we returned home for a homemade birthday dessert scaled for two. I'll share the simple menu with you here:

On Wednesday night, I whipped up a batch of Martha Stewart's/Nigella Lawson's no-churn vanilla ice cream. (I hadn't planned ahead long enough to but the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer. Fail.) The whipped cream and condensed milk concoction went into a loaf pan, layered with Ghirardelli caramel sauce. Yum. I served surprisingly light and creamy ice cream atop a batch of brownies perfect for two — it's so hard to make desserts in small batches, isn't it? — which I baked in my convection oven. Minimal effort for maximal fun...with a candle on top.


What's your favorite easy birthday dessert? Tell me in the comments — but first, let me share some of the best links from the week.


- I was on the radio for the first time last week! Listen to me talk about some of my recent work and a dream picnic menu from PAPER/PLATES recipes.

- Julia Child's 100th birthday would have been next week. In celebration, a panel of food giants has assembled a list of her 100 favorite recipes.

- The most fashionable characters in literature. Made me chuckle.

- Is this the week of small batches? Joy The Baker shares a recipe for a single pancake.

- Millennials love Chipotle. Hashtag duh.

- I can think of a lot of people who need this hybrid alarm clock and gourmet coffee maker.

- Obesity and poverty are linked — but maybe it has less to do with access to healthy food than we think.

- Dangit! I could've made Shiraaz this birthday cake for two if I'd seen it in time. (Recipe by the lovely Molly Yeh.)

- This five ingredient green pasta salad from Pinch of Yum could make an excellent work lunch for next week.

- I'm craving decor change these days and this roundup of inspiring kitchens is not helping.

- An outdoor coffee table with a built-in herb garden, holy crap. [Heart eyes emoji]

- I just ordered Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist in paperback. Have you read it yet?

What are the best things you read on the Internet this week?

Mira Jacob's "The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing" & Indian-Style Mac and Cheese

At The Table With...Jean Kwok, author of "Mambo In Chinatown"

At The Table With...Jean Kwok, author of "Mambo In Chinatown"