Summer Days + Homemade Soft Serve

It's a bloody hot day in Nashville, a Wednesday, the kind of day where walking the 50 or so feet from your kitchen door to the mailbox means beads of sweat forming fast on your forehead and upper lip. Tim and I are inside, working, I at my laptop on the dining room table, he from his computer on the sofa. When I look up from the article I'm writing, I see him straight ahead; when I turn to the right, it's all blue skies and beating sunshine above our front yard. I want to be sitting in the grass, I want to be having a picnic, I want to be sipping lemonade while rocking on a giant front porch. Then I remember the heat, and I change my mind: I want to go swimming. "What time is it?" I say to Tim. He tells me it's half past noon. "Too bad," I answer back. "Wish we had time to go to the lake." And then we look at each other from across our freelance perches, and he says what we're both thinking: oh yeah, we do. So we finish our work and throw some towels in a bag … [Read more...]

Arrington Vineyards + ‘Writing Down the Bones’

kale pesto

Last month, when my brother was in town, we spent a night with friends at Arrington Vineyards, located about 25 minutes south of Nashville. During the summer, Arrington is probably my favorite place to have a picnic---free music on weekends, a setting of rolling hills, vineyard views and space farther out in the country. It's the kind of thing that makes you think about picnicking and why it's so enjoyable---which is exactly why I loved reading a recent post from Tea & Cookies. In it, she says this: The thing about picnics I think is this: they are less of a meal and more of a celebration. There may be food involved, but the point is not simply to eat---you could do that at your desk, standing over the kitchen sink, in your car. This is not about feeding. The point about a picnic is to enjoy. Picnics slow things down, they make you step back and notice. The way the light filters through the trees. The sound of the water as is splashes over the locks. The feeling of grass on bare … [Read more...]

Cheeseless Crustless Quiche (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


There are recipes you make because you like the way they taste (chicken pot pie, carrot risotto, thin and chewy pizza crust); there are recipes you make because you're trying to show love (hot chocolate cookies, homemade cheesecake, soft and chewy salted caramel); and then, also, there are recipes you make for another reason, one not unlike the reason to get a new job or start a garden or build all your furniture yourself: Because you didn't think you could. Maybe this is how climbers feel about new mountains, or runners, about setting a new pace. When my brother says he wants adventure, and we end up at the top of the Arcadia National Forest in Maine, maybe this is why. Because the thing about a challenge or, more specifically, about meeting one, is that it makes you feel powerful, like you can do things. And when we defeat something we didn't think we could, we learn to be less afraid. In a 2008 CNN article titled "The Spirit of ... Adventure," Brigid Delaney … [Read more...]

Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart [+ slave-free tomatoes]

food bloggers for slave-free tomatoes

I'm an elementary kid, spending a few summer days at my grandma's house, and when she says she wants to make sauce for dinner, I know it means stepping from the dining room onto the back porch, down steps to the yard and its back-corner garden, where we'll pull ripe tomatoes straight from the vine. The first time I ever see tomatoes growing in the ground and not stacked up neat and shiny at the store is in this yard, the same yard where my brother and I fight with water guns and talk to the the neighbor's dogs through a chain-link fence and step on massive ant hills in the holes of Grandma's concrete driveway. __________________ Over 20 years later, I'm an adult, and I've grown other plants and I've stepped in other yards, but still, when I think of tomatoes, I think of Grandma's garden, the one bordering her lilac bush and the neighbor's fence, and of the weeks of harvest it would give each year. And lately in Nashville, as our Tuesday pickups are piled high with … [Read more...]

{outtakes + favorites}

While we're in Chicago, we spend a night driving around my hometown, past the Riverwalk and up side streets, through neighborhoods and by a big barn, looking for a white wall that we can take self-timer pictures against. I keep saying to Tim, thank you for doing this! for putting up with my crazy! for letting me pursue this idea of a blog header with our picture in it! and he looks at me, and he's like, What? I want to do this, too! And a few hours later, here is what we have: My friend Kendra tells me how my writing is so much more me since I've met Tim and how that's indicative of the kind of marriage in which I'm loved well and so, free to be more of who I am. I tell her that's a lovely thought and one I hope is true and that Tim's a good gift, I see it more every day, in the way he gives me his time and his ear and, one night in Naperville, Illinois, hours of self-timed photos. … [Read more...]

Golden Tomato Sauce

So speaking of CSAs, ours recently gave us a bunch of yellow tomatoes (along with red tomatoes and grape tomatoes), and while my first thought was yellow tomato cake! and then, maybe fried yellow tomatoes! it was Tim who suggested turning these tomatoes into one of those things tomatoes do best: sauce. Golden tomato sauce. I don't know how sauce works in your household, but in ours, it goes something like this: 1. Prep the tomatoes (i.e., boil water, remove the stems of tomatoes and score an x at the bottom, plop them in the pot for eight seconds, remove and cool, peel off skins like they're a loose jacket; chop) 2. Saute garlic and olive oil in a skillet, sometimes with onion, sometimes without 3. Add chopped tomatoes, maybe with basil or maybe with wine 4. Add salt 5. Cook for a while and watch and season to taste, adding sugar or honey or herbs or spices or whatever you need until it tastes the way you like. It's not complicated, not even as hard as … [Read more...]

Chicken Pot Pie + ‘Dinner: A Love Story’

It's a hot and sunny Saturday and we're on our way to Lynnville, a sleepy little town that you could live in Tennessee all your life without hearing of, but which today has drawn our attention because of an ad I saw somewhere for a blackberry festival. The whole trip, I'm reading to Tim from my latest library find, and right away, we're both so into the stories about food and parenting and the world of magazine editing that before we know it, we've driven the entire hour, past hilly pasture land and giant barns and no places to use a bathroom, anywhere, and then there's Lynnville, right before us, rewarding our travel with what turns out to be the very anti-climactic main street that today boasts one carnival booth, four craft tents and, off in the corner, a 85-year-old man selling tomatoes. No. Blackberries. None. So we talk with the tomato man, who tells us he's lived in Lynnville all his life, and we ask him about blackberries, and he says, no, there aren't any, but you … [Read more...]