Halfway through my workweek, I’m steadily chugging along like the Little Engine That Could. My last night shift’ll be done before I know it, right?

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

My mid-week, mid-shift meal at the hospital consisted of cold leftovers: sous vide sirloin roast, heirloom tomato salad, and roasted broccoli. 

Raise your hand if you don’t think this meal looks sufficiently filling.

Yeah – you and me both.

My stomach was grumbling something fierce when I got home in the morning, so I strong-armed my boys into motoring over to Bumble with me for breakfast.

Bumble’s a cozy farm-to-table restaurant in neighboring Los Altos, and it happens to be incredibly kid-friendly – parents can chow on organic fare with their kids or dump ‘em off in the supervised playroom for a set fee. We opted to eat with our kids because, well, no one was staffing the playroom at 8 am. 

Plus, we were armed with iPads in case the boys got antsy.

I’ll admit it: I lean heavily on these techno-babysitters when dining out with my kids. Hats off to breeders who don’t own mobile devices; unlike us, they must be great parents.

The four of us split three orders of the Farmer’s Breakfast platter. Each dish came with two eggs, two strips of bacon, and a breakfast sausage patty. In lieu of the toast and potatoes, we got big bowls of strawberries.

It was a satisfying meal, but to be honest, after enjoying a week of bona fide farmer’s breakfasts at Diana’s farm last month, nothing else stacks up.

At 9, the place started filling up with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed families, so we hit the road. Unlike everyone else, my day was winding down, and I was desperate for some shuteye. 

Seven hours later, I was rested and ready to tackle an ambitious kitchen goal: to prepare two nights’ dinners in less than an hour. I figured a little extra effort tonight would reap rewards tomorrow. I know how much I hate cooking by the end of my work week, so I wanted to get it over with.

Besides, tomorrow night’s protein – Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs – can be prepped in a flash. 

I started by seasoning and broiling a big pile of short ribs that I grabbed from my defrost bowl in the fridge.


While the meaty bones were browning in the oven, I roughly chopped up the ingredients to make the braising liquid.

I didn’t have enough scallions on hand, so I substituted a couple of small red onions. 

Improvisation is key in the kitchen. Don’t let one missing ingredient be the excuse for landing face-first in a box of greasy Chinese take out.

The next ingredient? Sweet pears. The ones I received in the mail last week were finally ripe, so I peeled one…

…and scooped out the seeds with a melon baller.

Quick tip: A pear’s ripe when the flesh at the stem is tender. Per my pal Brittany, a.k.a. The Pear Lady, don’t wait until the rest of the pear is soft to the touch. If you do, the fruit’ll be overripe and mushy. (I always hated the mealy, squishy texture of pears, but it turns out I was just waiting too long for them to ripen. I guess I’m not a pear-hater after all!)

I added the rest of the ingredients to my blender…

…and liquefied everything.

I tucked the short ribs in a single layer in the slow cooker…

…and poured on the chunky sauce…

…and homemade bone broth.

I set the slow cooker on low for 11 hours, and tomorrow’s dinner prep was done.

But what about tonight’s supper? It was getting late, so I needed something that would take no more than 15 minutes to make.

After rummaging through my fridge, I pulled out some black cod fillets from Siren SeaSA and seasoned them with salt and pepper…

…before sautéing them in brown butter.

As the fish sputtered in the skillet, I assembled a tangy anchovy and caper sauce. The recipe was adapted from one I found in the newest cookbook in my collection, Leon: Naturally Fast Food.

I changed up some of the ingredients, but stuck with the main components: anchovies…


…Italian parsley…

…lemon juice…

..and olive oil.

The authors call this a “Miracle Sauce” and I have to concur.

The fish and sauce were finished at the same time.

I chopped up a few plump, juicy tomatoes…

….and drizzled the sauce on everything.

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can…

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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