Coconut Sugar Lemon Curd on Gluten-Free Basil Shortbread

Coconut Sugar Lemon Curd On Gluten-Free Basil Shortbread

Tim and I woke up screaming in the middle of the night last week. I didn’t check the clock when it happened, but it must have been 2 or 3 AM, the only noise the hum of our air filter, the only light our neighbor’s driveway flood lamp. Even with our blinds closed, the flood light still filters in, our unavoidable night-light while we sleep; we’ve said many times that we should buy drapes to make the room darker, but, two years in, we haven’t. The first thought I had was, I’m screaming! The second was, Tim’s screaming! He’d been having a nightmare, his explanation came out in a slow mumble. In the midst of it, he was about to fall off the bed, bringing our blue quilt with him, but just before he could, his legs kicked and his eyes opened and he screamed, louder than I knew he could scream, and right in that deep-sleeping moment, my body joined in.

The next day, after we’d replayed the entire experience for each other, right down to the way I nervous-laughed for about seven minutes after waking up, imagining our poor upstairs neighbor wondering what was going on, I finished my work hours and Tim said, Go do something that refreshes you—Go bake! And I made lemon curd.

lemon curd on basil shortbread

I got the idea because someone I follow on Instagram made a lemon curd tart recently, saying how it’s the simplest set of ingredients, just egg yolks, sugar, lemon, and butter, and the day after the Screaming Episode, simple seemed like just the thing.

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Writer Chats, Part XII: My Books Tell My Stories

Speaking of blogging, our friend Lindsey, formerly of the blog Pas de Deux, recently launched her site, The Next Course, all about the ways cooking affects our lives and food blogging affects our culture. She’s the kind of person who asks questions like, “Do you think food blogging is a form of activism?” and “What’s it like to cook together? Last week, she highlighted our braised Roma beans and featured an interview we did with her a few weeks back—so we’re honored to get to return the favor in a small way today, sharing her writing thoughts. Have you thought about how your home library tells your story? Books as biographies! I like this concept.

writerchat-lindsey

These days I find myself carrying two or three notebooks at a time, each with its own purpose – one for note-taking, another for list-making, another for journaling, etc. Despite my attempts to keep these functions separated, in moments of desperation when words start forming in my mind and the proper journal is out of reach, I write on whatever I can find – the wrong journal, the backs of receipts, and even in the margins of books.

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Tomato Cobbler

Telling you that today is the first Friday in 16 months that a 7 a.m. post didn’t publish here feels very meta, as one of my grad school professors used to say. Back in those days, when we were reading heavy essays by literary critics like Foucault, workshopping stories on a weekly basis, being ever surrounded by writers who were writing to other writers about writing, and then talking about it together, as writers, anyone who popped his or her head out of our little world for even a moment would see that meta discourse gets weird. A little too in your head. Analytical. Buried in layers. I had basically decided to avoid it here, no more blogging about blogging, you’re welcome, until here we were this Friday morning without a scheduled post, and so this afternoon I got thinking about the reasons we blog again (see “The Value of Blogging” or “Confessions on the Day before Four Years“), right as I scooped out the last bowl of tomato cobbler and ate.

Tomato Cobbler

I made the cobbler Wednesday afternoon.

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Red Fruit Einkorn Hand Pies

handpies

Tim and I made these red fruit hand pies a few weeks ago, but I’ve been going back and forth about whether to tell you about them.

I can be kind of a perfectionist.

Note I did not write, I can be kind of perfect. Perfect people wouldn’t be perfectionists. They wouldn’t have to waste their time frustrating themselves and those around them with the pursuit of the unattainable. They’d be the unattainable. Of course, they also would be imaginary because perfect people don’t exist. Chasing perfection is a losing battle. Chasing perfection is a battle I want to stop. So I’m starting right now. With rustic red fruit hand pies. Here I am, Shanna Mallon, 30 years old, maker of mismatched hand pies, nice to meet you, hello, how are you, let’s talk.

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Writer Chats, Part XI: To Toil

Today, we celebrate two birthdays: this blog’s and Amy’s. While long-time readers know I tend to turn nostalgic on this anniversary every year, today I’m saving those emotions for our newsletter (it goes out this afternoon! you can still subscribe!), and Amy’s bringing you her thoughts on writing here instead. Amy (PureWellnessAmy.com) is a stay-at-home mom, former publishing company project manager and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She wrote this entry about the ways that writing is like (hard, sweat-inducing) work, and we hope you find it as encouraging as we did. Happy birthday, Amy! Happy birthday, blog!

writerchat-amy

For me, to write is to toil. Every so often there is a day when the words flow effortlessly, like honey from a hive. Recently I was blessed with the flow after my family and I experienced seven days in a less than ideal country house. Without getting into too much detail let me just say that there were bats. Inside of the house. I became possessed by the Disgruntled Vacationer Writing Fairy and I feverishly wrote a masterpiece of a comment on the travel site through which we booked the house. I hardly thought at all; the words (ok, steaming hot vitriol) streamed out of my fingertips and seared themselves onto the screen. That ease of writing is a rarity for me and it felt so good.

Often when I’m writing a story, I picture myself as a cavewoman (a cute one, like Betty Rubble) sitting on the ground outside of my cave with my legs in the butterfly pose with a large rock between the soles of my feet.

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