tomato-braised eggs and creamy baked polenta

creamy baked polenta with eggs and tomato sauce | two red bowls

tomato-braised eggs and creamy baked polenta | two red bowls

Earlier this summer, I spent a few glorious hours in Venice at The Tasting Kitchen in what felt like an endless parade of dream brunch fare. Before this I’d never had any kind of chef’s menu or omakase-type meal, but a group of us opted for their tasting menu (because that seemed like what you should choose at a restaurant similarly named) and it was a culinary romp that makes me wish I could splurge on that kind of treat all the time:  a smorgasbord of baked goods to start, with tender, butter-yellow biscuits, dense and moist breakfast cakes studded with fruit or dark with spices, and sticky pecan buns drenched in syrup; little lox and cucumber sandwiches in crunchy, unabashedly buttered toast; omelettes tucked neatly around tomatoes and creamy avocado; perfect parfaits (redundant?) with sweet sliced plums and berries on top.  

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watermelon, grilled corn, & feta salad

watermelon, grilled corn, & feta salad | two red bowls

I have a confession — I was not a fan of watermelon & feta salad for the longest time. I wasn’t even really a fan of watermelon with anything other than itself. Why, I thought, would you ever eat watermelon in any kind of way other than straight out of that striped rind with a spoon, ice cold and crisp and sugary sweet? (B2 says, “Really, with a spoon?” OK, or in slices, if you’re not weird like me.)

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jasmine-honeydew sorbet // a cuisinart giveaway!

jasmine-honeydew sorbet

Dear diary.  Dear everyone.  On Sunday, I had my very first cup of coffee in four months.  !!!  To be fair, I think it was about two tablespoons of coffee in a cup of milk and a boatload of sugar, so it tasted more like melted coffee ice cream than coffee, but I’m going to say it counts. It was the most exciting moment of my Sunday. Or July.  I never ever imagined I’d stop drinking coffee while pregnant — instead, I was terrified of going without it, and I’m pretty sure I looked up that “one-cup-a-day” rule way before B3 was a figment of our imagination (and maybe even before B2 was a figment of mine).  I was holding onto that rule with both hands and feet and entire being all the way up until one day around week 6, when I woke up and coffee suddenly and inexplicably smelled like the worst thing in the world.  Such woe.  But somehow this weekend, after four months of matcha (which was, granted, far from the worst), I opened up the coffee tin and thought mm instead of oh no get this noxious tub of poison away from me, and B2 had to listen to me chant “look at me, I’m drinking coffee!” as I sipped a tiny melted-ice-cream for the rest of the morning. It was an excellent Sunday.

jasmine-honeydew sorbet

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whole wheat milk bread & little sliders.

whole wheat milk bread (& little sliders) | two red bowls

whole wheat milk bread (& little sliders) | two red bowls

Here are the two things I made for the first time this month: (1) a copycat delivery pizza (I am nothing if not classy, also, in case you were wondering, making chain delivery pizza instead of ordering it was as gratuitous as you would expect but also as delicious) and (2) 100% whole wheat bread.  I’m going to go ahead and say one balances out the other, and I come out even on the health scoreboard (and way ahead in terms of doughy carbs).

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lime bars with saffron

lime bars with saffron from #sweeteroffthevine

The first time I had an Apt. 2B Baking Co. creation was at a picnic in Prospect Park (yep, the same as this one — it was a very gastronomically exciting day) on the kind of Brooklyn day that would be so welcome right about now — one of those rare, early summer New York days that is neither stiflingly humid nor oven hot, but breezy, just warm enough, and brilliantly sunny. Yossy’s sour cherry pie bars were kind of like if all that weather got baked into dessert — a touch of sunny warmth from a buttery crust and a craggy landscape of crumble topping, but filled with a cool, bright tartness from the sour cherries. They were thoughtful, in that they were portable and perfect for sharing at a picnic, impeccably seasonal, in that they capitalized on that elusively brief sour cherry season, and totally delicious, in that they were totally delicious. So it should be no surprise that Yossy’s beautiful new cookbook, out as of last Tuesday, is full to the brim of recipes just like that one — thoughtful, seasonal, and totally delicious.

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chicken & apple salad with honey mustard vinaigrette (and LA!)

chicken & apple salad with honey mustard vinaigrette | two red bowls

We’re back! How was the rest of your February? I won’t bore you with most of the details of mine, which was mostly a mish-mash of work and other not-super-fun things, but B2 and I did top off our month with a couple of bright and beautiful days (or, more accurately, just a smidge over 24 hours) in sunny LA this past weekend, which I think is much more worth talking about! I had my first In-N-Out ever (followed by an intense text exchange with my West Coast college brother where I realized all the other things I could have ordered), I ate my weight in Korean BBQ with a couple of our good friends and remembered what really good boba is like, we drove down shiny Abbot Kinney and peeped into Gjusta, and for B2, we meandered into Torrance to find Sunnydale High.

a day in LA

a day in LA
a day in LA

a day in LA

a day in LA
a day in LA

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