crab fried sticky rice with jalapeno aioli

crab fried sticky rice | two red bowls

My commute here in LA is almost the same as it was in New York, 40 minutes give or take. The only difference is that I sit my butt in a little Corolla instead of the blue-benched 4/5, and so I can no longer do either of the two things I used to do on my commutes in New York — sleep, or read, but mostly sleep — because I would die. For exactly 3 days I filled this void in my travels to-and-fro with music from my own playlists, before I got tired of my apparently very limited musical taste, and then for a few more weeks it was music on the radio, before I got tired of their slightly less limited ones. So now I’m at a happy medium of NPR (I have officially become my dad) and the wonderful world of podcasts.

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sprouted flour pancakes with vanilla pear compote

sprouted flour pancakes with vanilla pear compote | two red bowls

Even with the advent of a waffle-maker to capture my interest (and my kitchen real estate), I can never go too long without coming back to pancakes. They’re happy food — from my dad and boxed pancake mix on the weekends, flicking the skillet to flip them in mid-air, to a beach retreat in college where a classmate showed me that, forget blueberries, you could sprinkle Reese’s Pieces across the pancakes before flipping them and be a breakfast hero, to rainy weekends in the working world where pancakes meant a lazy morning with time to spare for messy counters and sticky plates. Now that B3’s around, I can’t stop telling B2 like a broken record how excited I am to make piles of pancakes on Saturday mornings for an army of bubs clamoring for them. (I recognize that this may not match up with reality, when all I really will want to do then is sleep.)

sprouted flour pancakes with vanilla pear compote | two red bowls

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pear, parmesan, & balsamic salad

pear, parmesan, & balsamic salad

Our Christmas tree is up!  It’s the first real, live, non-plastic tree to make an appearance in our household.  We chose it in about five seconds flat last Saturday with babe in tow, in the signature haste of panicky new parents who are still not very good at this “taking the baby out into the world” thing.  (Luke, meanwhile, was just passed out the whole time and didn’t wake up until thirty minutes after we got home.  But he could have.)  So it’s a fat little four-foot munchkin of a tree that is cheerfully lopsided and very strategically placed in the corner of our living room to display the side with the least lop.  But I think that’s what you call “character.”  

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thanksgiving leftover stuffing waffles!

thanksgiving leftover stuffing waffles! | two red bowls

A few years ago I came across an Alton Brown diatribe against one-use kitchen gadgets (or “unitaskers,” I think he calls them) and thought it would be a good rule not to buy them for our New York kitchen.  This more or less worked (mostly thanks to B2 putting his foot down on random Amazon purchases and the fact that we just had no room, lest we start storing kitchen appliances in our bathroom) but I also pretty much immediately found ways to bend the rule, i.e. the SPAM slicer is okay because it can also slice tofu, and the potato ricer can also make excellent pumpkin puree — clearly bi-taskers!  

And then, in a fit of indulgence a few months ago, I bought our very first waffle iron.  This is arguably the largest unitasker to grace our kitchen.  But I calculate that a waffle iron is actually at least a penta-tasker (quintup … tasker?):  (1) waffle pizza! (2) waffle grilled cheese! (3) waffle-ninis! (4) all kinds of actual waffles!  And, now, (5) stuffing waffles!  

The thing is, if I used the waffle iron to make only stuffing waffles, I’m pretty sure it would still be worth it.  After seeing them crop up in all sorts of places online, I’ve been waiting to make these for all the years that our kitchen was too cramped to fit a waffle iron, and they lived up to every expectation:  All the intensely savory, buttery, carb-tastic goodness of my very favorite Thanksgiving side dish is stuffed into a sizzling iron and made delightfully crispy on the outside, but fluffy and almost creamy inside, ready to tuck all the other Thanksgiving leftovers, from mashed potatoes to turkey to cranberry sauce, into its perfectly square divots.  (And I added maple syrup, because why not.)  I can think of no better way to reheat stuffing the next day — and in fact, it’s good enough that I’d be happy to make stuffing just to waffle.

After a tumultuous couple of weeks, wishing you all a safe, happy Thanksgiving.  Thank you so much for being here, and for reading!

thanksgiving leftover stuffing waffles! | two red bowls

thanksgiving leftover stuffing waffles! | two red bowls

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custardy crème fraîche apple pie

custardy creme fraiche apple pie | two red bowls

What a strange, hard week this has been.  It feels like it has been hard in every sense of the word — difficult, unyielding.  I hope everyone is okay.  This is the first of a number of recipes I’ve had saved up for these first few baby-filled months, and, thankfully, it is so very easy.  I think “easy” was going to be my mantra in the kitchen for the foreseeable future no matter what, now that we have a little person to cuddle and feed and care for, but right now it feels particularly apt to share something that comes together without much effort, without any stress, to be a treat that soothes and indulges.

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king arthur flour holiday table: harvest pumpkin scones

kaf harvest pumpkin scones | two red bowls

Too often I feel like scones get the short end of the stick in the coffee shop scene. Maybe it’s because they sit out behind the glass for a little bit too long by the time that they make it into a wax paper bag, ending up just a little too dry and flavorless, unsatisfyingly crumbly, and thus under-appreciated. I’ll admit that before I tried making them at home, I succumbed to that belief, too, thinking that the way I wanted scones to taste was something that existed only in my mind: little puffy triangles that were craggy on the outside, but tender and moist within, with just the slightest springiness to them to distinguish them from cakes or cookies. But in actuality, I think a homemade scone, fresh and warm from the oven, is just that. Slight crunch on the outside, soft inside, with a subtle resilience to the crumb. And they’re, surprisingly, so very easy to make!  We should all have homemade scones in our kitchens. (At least on the weekends.)

kaf harvest pumpkin scones | two red bowls

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kabocha & maple caramel baked french toast

kabocha & maple caramel baked french toast | two red bowls

I’ve been mostly working from home in these last couple of weeks before the home stretch, but went in to the office last week to wrap up loose ends, take home all the heels that I totally forgot about for the last six months, and to do fun things like meet with my pro bono clients, who got all the adoptive funding we requested! It did mean that that hearing didn’t end up happening, but when it’s because we got everything we asked for, that’s okay with me.  To be clear, I think our happy outcome had everything to do with (1) my clients being wonderful parents with the sweetest daughter who really deserved it, (2) the other side really wanting to postpone the hearing, and (3) me really not wanting to postpone the hearing because hey guys, I have a biological baby deadline, and nothing to do with any lawyering I did.  But in a job where most of the time I represent (or, help people senior to me help partners senior to them represent) clients in long, drawn-out matters with things at stake that sometimes feel more abstract than real, helping parents get funding for their sunny, sweet nine-year-old, and getting this thank-you card, was about the best cap on starting maternity leave that I could ask for.  

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