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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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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orange-almond sweet rolls with basil glaze

orange-almond sweet rolls with basil glaze | two red bowls

orange-almond sweet rolls with basil glaze | two red bowls

Happy first week of spring! With how mild our winter has been this year, it doesn’t feel real that it should be spring already, but here we are.  (And it’s supposed to be sunshine-y and 70 degrees today!)  Still, for the lingering blustery days we’ve been having here and there, I thought one more batch of soft, squishy sweet rolls, maybe for an Easter brunch or two, was in order before all the fresh, springy produce and summer baking to come.  Because, you know, it’s not difficult for me to feel that squishy sweet rolls are in order.  (Just see these and these!)

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