Heirloom Tomato Pizza

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Am I the only one who feels like this summer – actually, this entire year – has flown by in the blink of an eye?  One moment I was wearing sweaters (okay, lightweight long-sleeved tees…who are we kidding, this is L.A.), and awkwardly trying to turn a mistaken “3″ into a “4″ when writing out the year; the next moment, it’s late August and Petsmart already has Halloween costumes for sale.

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(Emma is feeling quite nautical and not ready for summer to be over.)

I woke up in a panic last week when I realized that Labor Day is staring us in the face, which, to me, typically signals the end of summer.  As much as I love fall and the return of boots and sweaters and all things pumpkin-y, there’s also that unsettling feeling that yet another year is nearing its end and I haven’t done a lot of things that I’d wanted to do.  Not to go into too much detail, but it’s been an interesting (*cough* euphemism for “challenging” *cough*) year, to say the least.  Furthermore, lately I’ve been experiencing intense nostalgia for my Boston days, particularly as autumn inches closer and I think back to those glorious New England falls that I loved so much.  Honestly, I think the nostalgia is a function of looking at the past through rose-colored glasses due to the weirdness that has been my 2014.  But still. There’s a soft, fuzzy sadness sometimes when I think back to 2008-2011, when I had just started working in Boston, lived in a sunny apartment that I loved, and spent my weekends traipsing around the Back Bay.

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Lemon Raspberry Muffins

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For those of you who think that the practice of law is anything like Law & Order, Ally McBeal, Legally Blonde, let me strip you of your delusions now, you poor misguided souls.  It is not.  I don’t work on any super-interesting criminal cases with an inevitable shocking twist near the end (how are the Law & Order detectives always surprised by that?), I don’t have sexy colleagues, and I have never won a case based on my awesome knowledge of hair maintenance.  An argument could be made that my life is somewhat similar to The Firm (graduated from HLS, was made an offer I can’t refuse, then wondered if my firm was trying to kill me – though by copious amounts of doc review, not the mob).  However, I wouldn’t want to be played by Tom Cruise, even though we are both short.

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Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Shallots, and Arugula

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I moved from Boston to Los Angeles on January 13, 2012.  The first few weeks I was here, I pranced about in utter delight that I could step foot outdoors in the winter without having to wear my giant sleeping-bag-of-a-monstrosity puffer coat.  Sometimes I chanced it and even went outside without a coat at all.  Yeah, I was living life on the edge and totally blissed out.  Remember that dance sequence from (500) Days of Summer?  That would be me, celebrating the joys of not freezing my butt off (instead of the joys of bedding someone you have a major crush on, which is also worth celebrating, but is not an appropriate topic for this blog).

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I think we all know where this going.  Flash forward a year and almost 10 months, and I find myself actually wishing for a bit of that New England chill.  Fall has always been my favorite season, but in Boston it was particularly glorious.  I miss it.  I miss the crispness of the air, the brilliance of the foliage, walking through Boston Common and the Public Garden and feeling so overwhelmed by all that beauty.  I see pictures of people picking apples and visiting pumpkin patches (REAL pumpkin patches, not like the one in Santa Monica where they basically revamp a parking lot by hauling in pumpkins and hay, and if you squint you can see the Pacific Ocean in the distance, which just brings home how NOT pumpkin patch-y it is) and get really jealous.  And I want to wear sweaters and boots and cute sassy coats, gosh darn it.  On Saturday, temperatures were in the low 80s and I wore a sleeveless dress.  In November.  I love you, Los Angeles, but this is unacceptable.

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I’m Back? (With Buttermilk Chive Biscuits)

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So, it’s been a while.

Shortly after the last post on this blog, I fell into a year-long bout of extreme cooking laziness that I am still slowly emerging from.  In truth, I think I had spent so much of the two years before that thinking about what new recipe I wanted to try, making endless trips to the grocery store, and washing so many dishes that I just became burned out.  So for a long time, I either ordered takeout or made spaghetti.  Sometimes, if I was feeling particularly adventurous, I’d make fried rice.  I know.  It’s shameful.

There were other factors too contributing to my cooking ennui.  The kitchen of the apartment I was living in was awful in the sense that the counter tops were made of tile.  I understand that this was a trend a couple of decades ago, but seriously, that has got to be one of the worst ideas for a kitchen ever.  You can’t roll out cookie dough, food constantly falls into the cracks, it photographs terribly….don’t get me started.  Plus, the kitchen didn’t get much light, which made taking pictures pretty difficult unless I used flash and was okay with grotesque off-color images.

And then there was this little bean, who has been a distraction since the day she came to live with me.  The best distraction ever.

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Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella

Hey there, remember me?

It’s been a while, I know.  This blog has been gathering dust this summer, along with its writer’s kitchen.  Part of the reason is because of this little bugger, who for a while was doing an excellent job of keeping me on my toes.  Now, at sixteen weeks old, she’s not having nearly as many accidents and therefore can occasionally be left to her own devices.  Which sometimes means assuming the role of my shadow in the kitchen.  It’s fun to turn around and find a little puppy staring up at you, wondering what it is you’re chopping so vigorously on the cutting board and, more importantly, why you’re not sharing.

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Return to Boston

Last week I returned to Boston for the first time since I moved away almost six months ago.  I stayed with my buddy Angela, went to work at my firm (but sat in a visitor’s office instead of my old office…sniff), hung out with friends and colleagues, ate a lot, and shopped surprisingly little.

As if I didn’t already know, Angela proved once again how awesome she is — she put pictures of my new puppy (one more week till I get her!) in my room.  What a sweetheart.

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Blueberry Crumb Bars

Sometimes you have a couple of weeks where you’re running around and barely have time to breathe, much time cook. I’ve had a couple of weeks like that as of late. It’s been fun. There was a wedding. There was a visitor in town who was here for a whole week, bookended by two weekends. There was hiking (a bug pooped on me) and night-time farmer’s markets and a stroll on the beach and many dinners out. There was also a lot of sitting in traffic. In the past few months, I’ve started talking about traffic incessantly. I think this is a true sign that I have adapted to L.A.

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Doggy Fro-Yo

When I was about a year old, my parents had a hard time getting me to fall asleep at night.  To remedy this, they got me a stuffed animal set consisting of a mama dog and a baby dog, thinking that the toys might comfort me and lull me to sleep.  Their hopes were dashed.  For while the mama dog was too big for me to hold, the baby dog was just the right size to clutch in my baby hand, and instead of falling asleep, I ended up jabbering to it in my crib.  That dog became my favorite childhood toy, and even when it lost some of its fur and had to be patched up by my mom, I still loved it and slept with it every night.

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Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

This pasta has been a long time coming.  When I first saw it in mid-April, I wanted to make it immediately but was too busy to do so.  Then I made a trip to the grocery store and absentmindedly bought a bunch of broccolini, realizing my mistake only when I got home.  Broccolini and broccoli rabe (a.k.a. rapini) are very different creatures, with the latter being bitter and the former much more mild.  I sighed and put the broccolini in the fridge, intending to find something else to do with it.  A week and a half later, I threw it out, all wilted and sad-looking.

Then came a couple of weeks where I frequently scoured the Ralph’s and the Whole Foods near me, hoping to find broccoli rabe but leaving with empty hands.  (Well, not quite empty.  Boxes of ice cream sandwiches kept somehow making their way into my cart).  As the weeks went by, my frustration mounted to the point where, a few nights ago, I had a dream in which I was arguing with a friend, came across a guy selling broccoli rabe, and became super excited.  Upon hearing of this dream, one of my favorite people in the world said, “That is SO YOU.  Conflict — food — conflict resolved.”  Agreed.

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Pasta e Fagioli

If a homebody is someone who enjoys staying at home, then lately I think I’ve carved out my own niche and become a bedbody. I cannot emphasize how much time, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent buried under mounds of soft pillows and comforters. Each morning when the alarm goes off and I have to get ready for the day, parting with my bed is the saddest goodbye ever. And when I’m at work, my thoughts frequently turn to how nice it would be if I were slumped in my bed with my iPad instead of shuffling through mountains of paper.

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Filed under Savory, Soups and Stews