crispy goat cheese rounds with shallot vinaigrette

crispy goat cheese rounds | two red bowls

With work picking up again after a slow start coming back from maternity leave, this project, and our ever-growing obsession, I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to make or share recipes from the wealth of stellar cookbooks that have come out this spring. There are so many! But I’ll get there. For now, I’m starting with an impossibly clever recipe I made awhile back from Alexandra Stafford’s Bread Toast Crumbs. At the heart of the book is a recipe for peasant bread you might know of already (it has over 3,000 comments on her original post!) but its genius is even greater because from there she has about a million (more precisely 135) more creative things to do with the bread or ways to tweak the recipe.

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potatoes with sugar snaps, pickled shallots, & dill

potatoes with sugar snaps, pickled shallots, & dill | two red bowls

Judging from the calendar, we are in the thick of picnic season, or for me, toss-everything-with-mayonnaise-and-maybe-eat-it-at-a-picnic-but-probably-just-straight-from-the-fridge season.  My last post notwithstanding, I almost didn’t realize it; after years in New York, where I spent the first third-to-half of each year in an intense and unceasing scrutiny of the weather for any sign of warmth, California has lulled me into a kind of constant seasonal befuddlement, where I never know what season it is but I just know that it is giddily, euphorically not cold.  

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creamy broccoli salad with almonds & raisins

creamy broccoli salad with almonds & raisins

Last weekend we took our first big trip with B3 in tow, up to Berkeley for my brother’s graduation.  It wasn’t until we were on our way back, winding our way through the mountains on the last stretch of the I-5, that I realized how much Los Angeles has started to feel like home.  This little ham can probably take most of the credit for that (isn’t that how the saying goes?  “Home is where the diaper pail is”?) but whatever the reason, sometime over the past year this sprawling city has stopped feeling foreign and unusual, with its bleached asphalt and vast robin’s-egg skies, and started feeling familiar.  That said, after 5 ½ 7 hours of driving on the two lanes of the I-5 amidst weaving cars and semi-trucks that I swear are bigger here than elsewhere (and, by turn, feeding a 6-month-old in Jack-in-the-Box parking lots along the way), I suspect conquering that real-life edition of Toad’s Turnpike will make any destination feel a little more like home.  

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buttered eggs on toast with radish & parsley

buttered eggs & radish on toast | two red bowls

Ever since I found their story a few years ago, I’ve been awed by Sonja and Alex’s journey to parenthood. Sonja’s poignant, thoughtful words and their constant light throughout their experience have been humbling and inspiring; it gives a whole new perspective to this stage of life that B2 and I have been figuring out our way around lately, and reminds me that every parent has a different, incalculable strength. The best news is that, as of a few months ago, they now have the most beautiful baby boy! The joy and happiness that surrounds Larson is palpable in every photo they’ve shared (not to mention he has the sweetest blue eyes I’ve ever seen), and I’m so glad that a few wonderful bloggers have put together a celebration to honor their perfect new addition. The theme of the fête, inspired by Sonja and Alex’s fresh and vibrant blog A Couple Cooks, was “healthy snacks.” Given that the title of this post starts with “butter,” I think I’ve shown my ability to follow directions is dubious. But I do find this dish perfect in every regard for the adventure that is new parenthood — easy, pantry-friendly, distraction-friendly. And most importantly, delicious.

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turkey & avocado sandwich (the b2 noob special)

turkey & avocado sandwich (a b2 post!) | two red bowls

Hello, all! This is Bowl Number 2/B2/Andy subbing in for Cynthia this week. I’m stepping out from my usual role on the blog, i.e. part-time hand model and taste tester, to pitch in a quick guest post. Between Cynthia’s work as a lawyer, blogger, cookbooker, wife, and mommy, she doesn’t get a lot of time off, so I figured I’d give her time to sneak in a nap this week. So here we go!

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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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tea-soaked dates with mascarpone

tea-soaked dates with mascarpone | two red bowls

Granted, my threshold for feeling accomplished has always been, shall we say, modest (“I added the perfect amount of sugar to my matcha latte today I can do anything!“) but ever since I was introduced to these supremely distracting pudgy cheeks, I’m finding smaller and smaller accomplishments count as victories in this household. Dinner made during naptime, victory.  Clean laundry, not folded, but at least in the basket, victory!  (Actually, laundry where I actually remember to put in the detergent?  And didn’t forget, twice, until everything had gone through the washer and the dryer?  Victory.)  Clean kitchen counters before bed?  Clean kitchen floors, too?  Huge victory.

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