I have to start this post by saying thank you for your comments on the last one. You were all so kind! While we knew it would be fun to share the news about the cookbook, we didn’t know it would be that fun. You doubled our joy! You offered to recipe test! I have long believed that blog readers are the unsung heroes of the Internet, the ones who give without expectation, who often listen without being heard, and I want you all to know that we think it’s really something. You’re really something. Thank you. We hope we can create a book that will truly delight and inspire you and celebrate the beauty of what we have found to be a treasured grain. We hope when you hold copies in your hands next year, you’ll know we made this book for you.


Since we’ve last talked over here, as you might expect, Tim and I have been spending all our spare moments in the kitchen. This weekend, we’ve tested 12 recipes in two days, which is another way of saying you’re all invited over for dinner, provided you don’t mind the complete disaster that is our living room and our dining room and everything else. We did make our bed this morning because we like to look at it, all neat and folded and inviting, to feel like we’re still civilized humans, but of course that only works if our eyes are able to avoid the pile of laundry next to it on the floor. Friday night there were cookies—four test batches before we hit the win—and this afternoon, Tim sliced a loaf of marbled einkorn rye so pretty, it took my breath away. As I type this post, he’s over there now, in front of the stove, watching another experiment bake, and I’m giving thanks again that I get to undertake this project with him.


Writing a cookbook is daunting, I don’t know how else to say it. You come up with ideas, you buy ingredients, you test ideas and they don’t work, you test ideas and they do, you buy more ingredients, you do more tests, you throw your hands up in the air when you think about things like budgets and regular work hours, and you feel like there’s no way you’ll be able to get it all done. People ask you about your new project The Cookbook and you hear yourself saying things like you’re a little overwhelmed and you feel like you’re mind’s still at the stove, and when you come home later, you realize you forgot to say you’re also glad. Just like when you were planning a wedding or looking for a place to rent or house-hunting or taking a trip, you know that this stressful task before you is a blessing. You know it’s working for your good.


I read a poem a few months ago that stopped me in my tracks when I found it, particularly this line:

“Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second,
Then decide what to do with your time.
-Naomi Shihab Nye (from “The Art of Disappearing”)

I like it because it reminds me that in life we are always busying ourselves with something, be it holiday shopping or extra work hours or writing a cookbook. In the midst of our projects, our work feels all-important, so exhausting, like a task that will never end. We’re tired and we’re focused, and when people ask us about our days, our tasks are what pour out. But we could tumble any second, no matter how fast we’re moving, and every moment we’re being given is a gift.


This salad, inspired by one we saw (but never tasted!) on a daily menu from Nashville’s Margot, which is one of our favorite restaurants in the city, filled up a few of our moments this month. We ate it with my brother-in-law on a Sunday afternoon at our table, dishes in the sink and lists on the fridge. It’s made up of seasonal greens (any winter lettuces would work); slippery, oily roasted red peppers; crumbles of tangy feta; and a rosemary garlic vinaigrette. I want to remember it as a way we lived this month, in and amongst a busy schedule, before Christmas came.

Winter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Peppers and Feta

The only tricky thing about this recipe is roasting the bell pepper ahead of time, but even that's pretty mindless if you simple halve and seed the pepper the day before, oil it and place it on a baking sheet, and then put it in a 375F oven until the skin is black on the outside and the pepper is super soft. Once cooled, the skins will peel right off, leaving pure gold roasted peppers underneath. Oh! and also, about the winter greens: Use whatever you like. We hodge-podged everything left from our farmer for the week, but any winter greens would do.


  • 8 cups (about 200g) chopped winter greens, any tough stems removed
  • 3/4 cup sliced roasted peppers (from about 1 large or 2 small peppers)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • for the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, roasted, mashed, and chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • plus:
  • salt to taste (about 3 pinches)


In a large bowl, combine chopped lettuce, sliced peppers, and crumbled feta. In a bowl or mason jar, combine dressing ingredients and stir/blend or shake the covered jar to combine. Pour dressing over salad. Toss everything together. Add salt to taste---for me, that was about three five-finger pinches.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Jess

    Love that you’re still making the bed. I do the same thing. Even if everything else in the house is a disaster, having the bed made at least keeps me feeling somewhat sane. Sounds like so much work, but again – so thrilled you guys are doing it!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      haha! thanks, Jess. it’s an old habit that has stuck with us, and, these days, I’m glad. : )

  2. jessiev

    That’s the beauty of a duvet – shake it over, done. 😉 LOVE this salad – thanks!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha! Indeed!

  3. Katrina @ WVS

    Digging this salad HARD! Yum!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thank you, Katrina!

  4. Sarah Kate Branine

    These photos should win awards. So beautiful!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, thank you! That’s very kind.

  5. Kathryn

    Oh, the flavours in this salad are just lovely. Wintery but not heavy or overwhelming. Perfect for the moments in between all the madness.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thanks, friend. Hope you’re having some quiet, delicious moments this season, too. : )

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