Why Baking in Miniature is Better
New York City lawyer Cynthia C. of Two Red Bowls loves Korean food and anything that can be made in miniature.
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The Blog: New York City lawyer Cynthia C. of Two Red Bowls loves Korean food and anything that can be made in miniature.
What do you love about food in miniature? Any favorite recipes or pieces of cookware that help you make mini dishes?
I'm such a sucker for anything miniature! I'm the kind of person you can probably find cooing over travel-sized shampoo bottles in convenience stores. But aside from being terribly cute, mini foods are so much more manageable. For me, small batch baking means all the enjoyment that goes into creating and consuming something delicious, without the concern that it'll end up wasteful, or leave us struggling through stale cake and dry brownies a week later. It's a little bit tricky to scale things down (eggs are the ultimate obstacle!) but also freeing, I think—to experiment and develop recipes without fear of wasting too many ingredients.
Right now my favorite mini recipe would have to be either this mini carrot cake with goat cheese frosting, or these little chamomile chess pies. As for pieces of cookware, these porcelain ramekins have been by far the most useful. Mine are 4-ounce, which tend to be a little small sometimes, so I've been thinking about acquiring a few 6-ounce or even 8-ounce ones. But they can be used for everything from individual baked eggs to mini "cake layers" to mini chocolate mousse, and they double as pinch bowls for cooking. In a word, awesome.
Where did your love of Korean food come from? Did you grow up eating it? What are some of your favorite dishes?
I came to Korean food pretty late, actually. Being from a fairly modest town in the South, the main things I had growing up were my mother's Chinese cooking and down-home Southern cuisine. I can distinctly remember the first time I had Korean food, because it was the first Korean restaurant to open in our city. But it was love at first bite—I'm obsessed with anything sweet and savory, which I think Korean cuisine often typifies (japchae and beef bulgogi are great examples of that). On top of that, I adore spicy food. Roll that all together, especially with that unique sweet and smoky heat in Korean food, and you have a serious contender for the cuisine I could eat every day for the rest of my life. I'm incredibly lucky to have my fiance's Korean mother teaching me the ropes!
In addition to blogging, you also work as a lawyer. What's your blogging process? How do you fit it in with potentially long hours?
It can be tricky sometimes! But with a bit of planning (and luck), it hasn't been as hard as I expected, at least so far. I tend to cook and shoot all my food on weekends, since I'm usually not home early enough on weekdays to catch the light. And then it gives me a nice break from work during the week to do the smaller things, like read other blogs, answer comments or emails, and otherwise engage with this wonderful blog community. The biggest snag is just the unpredictability of my job—but I've been able to work around that so far by shooting multiple posts in one weekend if I have time, and saving the extra posts for those (figurative and literal) rainy days. Here's to hoping it keeps working out!
Where did you buy/get the famous red bowls?
It's funny how mundane this answer is going to be! My man (who has adopted his blog moniker, "Bowl #2," with exceeding grace) actually just picked them up out of necessity at a local hardware store when we first started living together as law students. Neither of us had a lot of plateware at the time, living in dorms and the like, so it was one of our first plateware "sets" as a couple.
What food blogs are you super excited about right now?
Oh my gosh, so many! Lady and Pups never ceases to make me drool. I love My Name is Yeh for her whimsy and ingenuity, and Dolly and Oatmeal for a refreshing take on eating well (and beautifully). Linda at The Tart Tart has a true gift for all things delicious and for capturing beauty in simplicity, and Phi at Princess Tofu astonishes me with her creations. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Beth and Carey, whose blogs have been practically religions throughout this incredible journey, and Haruka Sakaguchi, who, although not strictly a food blogger, is a constant aesthetic inspiration. But those are only a few—please check out my favorite links page if you'd like to see more reads I love. All these lovely folks (and a tremendous number more) make this endeavor so beautifully rewarding—I wish I could name them all.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.